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does it matter where the hell my thumb is?


FourSlapper

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My teacher is telling me to always keep my thumb right inline on the back of the neck with my middle finger! it hurts my wrist. i got sharp pains in it today. i keep it near my first finger normaly and i can span four frets on the big end? i want to do it right but i dont want CP in my damn wrist. let me know if im a jackass!!!

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I'm not sure exactly how your thumb is positioned. If I'm not mistaken, the main effect of thumb position is how much leverage you have on your pinky. Keeping your thumb perpendicular to the "skunk stripe" will lend more strength to your pinky. I keep my thumb parallel to the stripe, and I'd just do what's comfortable if I were you.

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You get.....lessons?

 

I should look into that one day.

 

My ex had a friend who got RSI and cant play anymore, just from playing too much in an uncomfortable position. Let him know its causing pains. Muscle pain isnt a problem because its just building strength, but sharp pains are not so good.

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Ignore the teacher then and play how it works best for you. And get a diff teacher too. A teacher who thinks fingers have to be placed just so or it isnt right is as bad as those absurd etiquette teachers who think pinky has to stick out just so when holding a teacup. Its idiotic. In regards to what position gives most strength to pinky, thats of no value if your not playing with your pinky now is it? Use whatever natural for you hand positioning works for you for dexterity, control, and precision. Nothing else has any importance really.

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Though I agree one should play with the fretting hand were it feels comfortable, I can't help thinking the teacher got a good point. Closing your hand, putting your thumb relaxedly to the fretting fingers, it will in most cases be close to your middle finger. Not tucking your elbow in, but keeping a more or less straight line from the elbow through the wrist all the way up and down the neck, will give you a natural and relaxed handposition, in my humble opinion.

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That's proper Classical GUITAR technique, but due to the higher tensions and larger neck, etc of a bass, I'm not sure he needs to be such a stickler. However, if it is hurting you to play that way, and not just "oh, I've never done this before so I'm sore" but actually hurting you, A. Get it checked out by a Doc, and B. Get a different teacher who isn't a douche nozzle.

 

Also, look at the rest of your posture. Do you play seated or standing? I always teach standing, because you rarely sit on the job.

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It's also classical double bass technique and I happen to think it's very important for maintaining good muscle strength and not giving yourself an injury, there's a reason the technique has been adapted this way and it's not because or 'looks'. Equally important is how you position your elbow, right next to your body isn't a good place.

 

 

My teacher always told me to keep my thumb in line with my index finger. If I travel vertically on the neck, then my thumb follows. It's not an anchor point for me.

 

 

This is great advice, you are NOT meant to be putting so much pressure on your thumb, it's simply to 'balance' the rest of your hand, but if you don't do it 'properly' (so that you don't screw your wrist up) arthritis RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome could happen!

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correct for classical guitar but bass has it's own techniques and the thumb is used in different ways . Proper playing postions however should be learned and then perhaps tossed out the window with everything else . Poor postioning can lead to carpal tunnel and other problems so it's important to warm up and be relaxed .

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yeah lessons id like to kick ass and not just be good i dont want to be cliff williams ( dont get me wrong i love the guy LONG LIVE ACDC) and just throw down eight notes every song you know

 

 

Hey don't knock Cliff Just because he plays 8ths all the time in AC/DC, it doesn't mean he can't kick ass.

He just plays what is good for there songs.. a Les Claypool type bass player would totally ruin there simple rock songs

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He just plays what is good for there songs.. simple rock songs

 

 

+1

 

I do whatever is comfortable.

 

I had a teacher once... he had me wear the bass at my chest. That works for him, but I have r-e-a-l-l-y long arms, so it was uncomfortable and limited my playing. It got to a point where I was getting horrid cramps in my right wrist.

 

I might get a teacher one day, but it's not likely.

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Yeah, completely ignore your teacher and try to figure out your own way of doing things....:rolleyes:

 

One of three outcomes will happen:

 

1. You end up with poor technique which limits your ability to execute lines as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

2. After years of 'figuring it out' for yourself, you will come to the conclusion that your teacher was right and you could have saved yourself all that time and trouble by listening.

3. You will hurt yourself on your own.

 

Seriously, if you don't trust your teacher enough to listen to him, why are you even bothering to take lessons? Get a teacher you respect and trust, but I guarantee any teacher who knows anything about technique will tell you to keep your thumb behind the rest of your hand when you play.

 

Of course it might feel weird or different at first - you are teaching yourself to do something you've never done before. If it HURTS, then something else is wrong with your technique - maybe how you you are holding the bass or the strap adjustment.

 

Good luck and trust your teacher, not a bunch of internet bassists whose background and skill you don't know (sorry guys...)

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Good luck and trust your teacher, not a bunch of internet bassists whose background and skill you don't know (sorry guys...)

 

 

One "technique" does not fit all bodies. If it is causing wrist and hand pain (not just soreness) he needs to STOP and assess exactly what the problem is.

 

According to a textbook, my technique sucks. You can clearly see my thumb wrapping over the neck in my avatar pic (not posed, taken while I was playing).

 

Entwhistle's technique sucked too, and look how piss-poor his career was:facepalm:

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I agree 100% with HORSE. You are paying your teacher and he is doing his job. Teachers dont tell you to do a certain thing, they advise. It's up to you wheather you heed it or not, if it's the latter, then as HORSE says, whats the use of having a teacher at all.

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One "technique" does not fit all bodies. If it is causing wrist and hand pain (not just soreness) he needs to
STOP
and assess exactly what the problem is.


According to a textbook, my technique sucks. You can
clearly
see my thumb wrapping
over
the neck in my avatar pic (not posed, taken while I was playing).


Entwhistle's technique sucked too, and look how piss-poor his career was:facepalm:

 

 

 

While I agree that there is no "correct" technique, there is however, a tried, trusted, and generally accepted way of going about playing the bass. The teacher is imparting this to the OP. It's up to him after that.

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