I see it with almost all of my students – from beginners to pros – it’s just too easy to overwork the thumb! Even experienced players are guilty of this from time to time. What’s so tricky about this bad habit is that even though I am talking about your left-hand thumb, to cure the habit you may need to make adjustments in other areas of your body, since it’s all connected:
- the way you position your right arm on the bass
- the way you come to the bass neck with your body
- and even in the choice of your equipment!
Watch the video to learn the technique set up I recommend that will help you avoid this mistake!
Why Should I Care About This?
- Over-gripping slows you down. So, even if you have no issue right now, eventually you will run into a speed bump!
- Even if you are not faced with a lot of quick passages that require you to play fast – just being able to do so will lead to more accurate playing!
- Over-gripping can lead to chronic pain and even injury!
- Over-gripping causes tension- and tension causes choked tone and less control!
- Effortless (relaxed) playing allows the music to flow through you. Don’t stop the flow by overworking yourself.
- Typically when you overwork one part of your body or hand, you have to overcompensate elsewhere…resulting in even more tension!
Here’s how to change it
It is an unconscious habit, so just telling yourself to stop, won’t work. In the heat of the moment – on stage, in the jam – the habit will come back. To change it for good use my PORA Method!
Handy Quick Start Guide to Ari’s PORA Method (all you need! Just follow verbatim!)
How to take a load off…
Try the exercise in this 2-minute video – it will help you out!
Thumbs down on Over-gripping
Over-gripping is one of the most egregious technique problems that I encounter. Relax that thumb by using the basic technique set up I demonstrate in the above video! Call it holistic bass playing!
My Book Music Theory for the Bass Player contains a wide array of technique drills and best technique practices. Chapter 12 is entirely dedicated to technique. Why technique in a theory book? Because while we are learning all these useful shapes on the fretboard (with good fingering!) we may as well add good form to the mix. Technique and theory is one beautiful package in my book. Buy Ari’s book Music Theory for the Bass Player on your country’s Amazon or at bookdepository.com