Right Hand Thumbs Up (TT15)

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Right Hand Thumbs Up (TT15)

Where to put my right hand thumb when playing? That’s a question we got from a reader. Great one! Gives us an opportunity to talk about the thumbs playing angle, muting using the right hand, and more. And a tip that is right in line with right hand considerations. Here is a bit of elaboration on that and some pointers! Enjoy!

Here is the post on notreble.com


The basses I play in this video are by Marleaux Bass Guitars (Votan XS four string, Votan 5 string, Consat five string, Consat six string)

Strings by Dean Markley (SR 2000)

Fretwrap by Gruvgear

Amps by TC




  • Jack Williams
    August 18, 2016, 19:26  Reply

    Something I have been thinking about also. My thumb actually gets sore from resting on the pickup so I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks Ariana.

    • Ari
      August 19, 2016, 15:40

      I used to have a bass that had really rough pick up edges. Not saying that is the case for you, but you could check if that is the case with your pickups. That said, moving to E and A strings is great for muting, too.

  • ALG
    August 18, 2016, 22:02  Reply

    I keep trying this (thumb on the A-string when plucking D-string and G-string).
    But, when plucking on the G, I get a mini-pluck on the D as well … my finger plucks the G, comes to rest on the D, and when it goes back for the next G note, it semi plucks the D … any suggestions how to stop this?

    • Ari
      August 19, 2016, 15:39

      Hi Alan, I think I understand your question and have some ideas, but it would be best if I could see it. Shoot a short video and upload a link and I take a look. Always think plucking towards the bass body, not classical guitar style. There are some pictures in Chapter 12, I know you have the book, page 148

    • ALG
      August 20, 2016, 19:29

      Might be a bit hard to hear … my first video.
      But a slight ringing of the D after a rest stroke and return ….

  • Ari
    August 21, 2016, 14:51  Reply

    Alg, great, very helpful to see this! Here are suggestions for your question: You are having a bit of a circular motion going on with your plucking fingers. Think more up/down rather than a circle.
    You are resting the weight of your arm (or at least too much of it) on the thumb. Relax the shoulder and let the underarm rest on the bass, let hand hang down to form the natural angle. The relax the thumb and only lightly touch string. Currently the angle of the fingers towards the strings makes it extra hard to pluck (a common problem with the flat wrist approach). Instead of just needing the muscles that one needs to tap finger tips on a table, you also need the muscles that bend the fingers inward (towards the palm) – more work and harder to coordinate. Stretch your fingers, hold the hand above a table (for this exercise the wrist would be flat) and tab – alternating i-m. then pretend your fingers are doing a running motion (running in place, scraping the surface a bit) – feel the difference in motion and different muscles that are being used. the first motion (tapping) is the correct (or better, more effective) one. Makes sense? I will make a video for an upcoming episode. Easier to show than to ‘xplain with words.

    • ALG
      August 24, 2016, 20:47

      Thank you.
      This helps a lot.
      Resting my forearm on the bass lightly moves my palm away from the bass, plucking seems to be smoother. Also, thumb has less weight on it (changing strings is smoother).
      Now to work on plucking direction and get rid of the ringing.
      Looking forward to your video!

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