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Right Hand Position


pnkranger

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I'm sure this has been covered before, but I couldn't find it with the search tool...

 

First, some background: I played bass for about three years, then quit for about three years, and now I'm back.

 

I'm looking for optimal right hand position. I had a teacher who taught me to anchor my thumb on the string above the string I'm plucking, i.e. if I'm plucking the D, my thumb would anchor on the A. I think it's great for muting, and for a different type of tone, but I think it might limit my ability to really develop solid technique and speed. So, my questions:

 

* Do any of the more advanced players out there use this method?

* What is the optimal method (anchored on the pickup...or anchored on the pickup and the E string)?

 

Thanks for any assistance.

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Originally posted by pnkranger:

* Do any of the more advanced players out there use this method?

Yes.

 

Originally posted by pnkranger:

* What is the optimal method (anchored on the pickup...or anchored on the pickup and the E string)?

There isn't one optimal method, each one has its virtues and depending on what you're playing and the tone you're looking for the best approach may be: anchoring on the bridge pickup, the neck pickup, the end of the neck, the adjacent string, another string, letting your thumb float, plucking classical guitar-style, thumb-plucking, etc.

 

However, the most useful all-round approach IMO is to rest on the pickup when you're playing the E-string and on the E-string when you're playing the other strings. If you practice that and then combine that with your shifting thumb approach that'll give you an excellent pair of right-hand fingerstyle techniques.

 

Alex

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Thanks...I like the idea of having two different positions to work from. It seems like my style has a lot of applications in a live setting because of muting and because it can change the dynamics of my sound. The other style seems to have a lot applications where harder playing are necessary, i.e. funk or heavy songs.

 

Any other thoughts out there?

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Here is a link to one such discussion that many of our regulars posted to: Describe your RH technique

 

Here's another: Where\'s me thumb go?

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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ALL HAIL DBB, GREAT LIBRARIAN OF THE LOWDOWN!!!
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Yes, lots of good players use the technique you described. And I do, too. :D I used to anchor my thumb above the pickup, but my muting was terrible. I was afraid to switch to a new technique that felt strange to me; but it felt natural in no time at all, muting is now under control, and the other benefits are so great that I can't believe I ever played the other way! Of course, lots of good players use that technique, too, & it works for them; so a lot of it is finding what technique enables YOU to get the best results, & that'll differ from person to person.

 

BTW, one of the best ways to check your technique is to practice through headphones; every little thing comes through, & you can tell pretty quick where work is needed. I've started doing this & now I'm hooked, doing probably 95% of my practicing through headphones. It makes you a clean freak (and, hopefully, cleaner!). It also helps you check evenness of tone, attack, release, etc.

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