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> To Thumb Or Not To Thumb
Jim S.
post Sep 6 2013, 04:34 AM
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I've been working on my posture and thumb placement. I've always been slunched over with the guitar on my right leg and thumb slung over the top. Sometimes I see it necessary to have a super grip if bending but transitioning into a picking run is a little forgetful. Also sitting with my guitar on my Left leg in a more classical position seems to help my reach and give my arm more room but sitting straight up puts a lot if strain on my back.

Another thing that bothers me is hand pain. I work on cars and its brutal on hands. I tried stretches but after a round of rubbing and pulling/ shaking my hands are pumped like a rock climber.

Any thoughts would be great, thanks!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 6 2013, 09:26 AM
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Hey mate, I have a video for you that might help out smile.gif Regarding the posture - working with the guitar in the classical position, has proved to be the most proficient for me, when playing for an extended period of time. Anatomically, it is the best position for your body smile.gif

I don't want to call these rules, but they work for me:

- when bending I usually place my thumb over the edge of the neck, as I see it as a pivot for the wrist
- when playing legato I place it behind the neck, in order to help me have a better grip

Why don't you try this: bend a note and then play an alternate picking run - all at a slow tempo and observe your thumb smile.gif See what it does and correct it if you feel it's not ok. A bit difficult to film, I know - I was just thinking how I could show you this. I will soon receive a small tripod for the phone and I'll see what I can do to picture things biggrin.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 6 2013, 09:37 AM
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One thing I do to counteract the posture problem was start to practise standing only. At least that way, your shoulders are allowed to fall relaxed in a neutral position which prevents build up of tension in the neck and arms etc.. altho, I can understand that standing and practising may not be the most attractive prospect after a full day at work !

Re: the thumb, I do the same as Cosmin. I'm able to move between thumb over and thumb behind the neck at any time. I think it's because I just used to play a lot of legato shapes when practising so get used to that position quite quickly. Ideally, you want to be able to do the same.. move between thumb over and thumb behind any time you want.


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 10:05 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 6 2013, 08:37 AM) *
One thing I do to counteract the posture problem was start to practise standing only. At least that way, your shoulders are allowed to fall relaxed in a neutral position which prevents build up of tension in the neck and arms etc.. altho, I can understand that standing and practising may not be the most attractive prospect after a full day at work !

Re: the thumb, I do the same as Cosmin. I'm able to move between thumb over and thumb behind the neck at any time. I think it's because I just used to play a lot of legato shapes when practising so get used to that position quite quickly. Ideally, you want to be able to do the same.. move between thumb over and thumb behind any time you want.


! Standing only practice is awesome! Just make sure you get a good strap and if you're crazy like me and play 28lbs 8 string guitars get a double strap. Your left shoulder will thank you. Also there's a practice called Alexander Technique it's anatomical experts dealing with ergonomic concepts of all human movements. There's probably someone in your area who teaches it and usually you get the first lesson free. They're really used to dealing with instrumentalists as it's one of the least ergonomically aware areas of modern culture(with exceptions ofcourse).

I only stand and practice and since I use wider neck guitars I can't do the thumb over and always have to find other ways to deal with that sort of issue.


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 10:48 AM
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I can only add to what Cosmin and Ben has already said. For me what works/worked the best is/was a mix between the two. It's much more difficult to bend strings without using your thumb as a pivot. On the other hand, I just came to think about something...perhaps not doing so might be a good way of strengthening your muscles in your fingers? But I don't think I could recommend it for regular playing.

As for standing up/sitting down. Here's the solution I've always taken: just wear your guitar so high that it feels like sitting down when you stand up laugh.gif



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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 10:53 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 09:48 AM) *
It's much more difficult to bend strings without using your thumb as a pivot. On the other hand, I just came to think about something...perhaps not doing so might be a good way of strengthening your muscles in your fingers? But I don't think I could recommend it for regular playing.


The problem with not bending with your thumb is that you wont get the rotation from your wrist, and bending with fingers only is extremely bad for your tendons. It can give you severe tendonitis due to the tendons not having enough room to move and excert that much tension thus causing them to rub against the opening in wrist and thereby becoming inflammed. That's why most people advocate bending from the wrist with your thumb far up the neck, so that you use the natural rotation of the wrist and forearm and "fixed" finger position to get the needed strength.

This post has been edited by verciazghra: Sep 6 2013, 10:54 AM


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 10:55 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 6 2013, 11:53 AM) *
The problem with not bending with your thumb is that you wont get the rotation from your wrist, and bending with fingers only is extremely bad for your tendons. It can give you severe tendonitis due to the tendons not having enough room to move and excert that much tension thus causing them to rub against the opening in wrist and thereby becoming inflammed. That's why most people advocate bending from the wrist with your thumb far up the neck, so that you use the natural rotation of the wrist and forearm and "fixed" finger position to get the needed strength.


Absolutely, as said I wouldn't recommend it in regular playing, but I just for a minute thought it might help you strengthen the fingers. Maybe it won't! Forget what I said! laugh.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 6 2013, 10:57 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:48 AM) *
As for standing up/sitting down. Here's the solution I've always taken: just wear your guitar so high that it feels like sitting down when you stand up laugh.gif



Yep. It takes balls, but if you can do it - it's then ultimate solution ! cool.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:02 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 6 2013, 11:57 AM) *
Yep. It takes balls, but if you can do it - it's then ultimate solution ! cool.gif


With all respect, I have never understood people who wear their guitars down by the knees and have to bend over to play. That can't be comfortable surely! laugh.gif


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 11:10 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:02 AM) *
With all respect, I have never understood people who wear their guitars down by the knees and have to bend over to play. That can't be comfortable surely! laugh.gif

INDEED and all straps most guitar stores sell don't give a *** they're like 105cm long the shortest ones!! Way too bad!


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 6 2013, 12:10 PM) *
INDEED and all straps most guitar stores sell don't give a *** they're like 105cm long the shortest ones!! Way too bad!


Maybe I've gotten lucky! Only the strap I have for my bass is 500 meters long. The others seem quite alright laugh.gif

(Pssst...They're all usually adjustable though! laugh.gif)


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 11:21 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:12 AM) *
Maybe I've gotten lucky! Only the strap I have for my bass is 500 meters long. The others seem quite alright laugh.gif

(Pssst...They're all usually adjustable though! laugh.gif)

Yea to 110 or 105 only. That's usually way too long for me. I need 85 or at least 90. (So does Tom Morello smile.gif )

This post has been edited by verciazghra: Sep 6 2013, 11:21 AM


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 6 2013, 12:21 PM) *
Yea to 110 or 105 only. That's usually way too long for me. I need 85 or at least 90. (So does Tom Morello smile.gif )


The straps I have adjust to many different lengths. Anything between smurf size and giant. Well, maybe not giant, but I could wear it completely against my chin if I wanted to... which I don't. I'd simply look too stunning and people wouldn't notice my playing tongue.gif


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 11:34 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:23 AM) *
The straps I have adjust to many different lengths. Anything between smurf size and giant. Well, maybe not giant, but I could wear it completely against my chin if I wanted to... which I don't. I'd simply look too stunning and people wouldn't notice my playing tongue.gif

I measured and been a pain in the *** to both my local music stores and the shortest theirs adjusted to was 105cm-145cm. Sure 105 to 145 is quite a range, but it's not for everyone.


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 6 2013, 12:34 PM) *
I measured and been a pain in the *** to both my local music stores and the shortest theirs adjusted to was 105cm-145cm. Sure 105 to 145 is quite a range, but it's not for everyone.


The ones I have goes from about 95 to 170. Well at least the one I just had at hand.

Just measured my fender one, it seems about the same. smile.gif


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:39 AM) *
The ones I have goes from about 95 to 170. Well at least the one I just had at hand.

You're lucky! I wish I had that one I had to tape together half of it to get my old one to a decent length. Till I got my http://www.gruvgear.com/duostrap-neo .


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 6 2013, 12:41 PM) *
You're lucky! I wish I had that one I had to tape together half of it to get my old one to a decent length. Till I got my http://www.gruvgear.com/duostrap-neo .


Maybe I just got lucky, yeah. My fender one goes to 95 as well as said smile.gif


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Jim S.
post Sep 6 2013, 11:45 AM
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Wow great crowd today, I wasn't expecting so many responses! Thanks to all. I will definitely take a look into the Alexander Technique. Maybe I will start splitting up my practice time into 2 parts, 1 sitting and 1 standing and see which takes the pressure off the most. As for the thumb ill have to make a good practice of switching between the two and maybe throw in ye ol' metronome and see how fast I can switch.

I will agree that the straps are too long, usually I have to drill a lil hole. But then again I am 165lbs, I could probably use a jim dunlop cable strap if it could hook to my guitar.

Yesterday I came up with a really cool bendy dark thing that Ill use in my switching. When I put down a couple more sections with legato and alt. picking Ill post a video with my progress.

Again, thanks so much for the helpful information! smile.gif
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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 6 2013, 11:58 AM
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QUOTE (Jim Seekford @ Sep 6 2013, 12:45 PM) *
Wow great crowd today, I wasn't expecting so many responses! Thanks to all. I will definitely take a look into the Alexander Technique. Maybe I will start splitting up my practice time into 2 parts, 1 sitting and 1 standing and see which takes the pressure off the most. As for the thumb ill have to make a good practice of switching between the two and maybe throw in ye ol' metronome and see how fast I can switch.

I will agree that the straps are too long, usually I have to drill a lil hole. But then again I am 165lbs, I could probably use a jim dunlop cable strap if it could hook to my guitar.

Yesterday I came up with a really cool bendy dark thing that Ill use in my switching. When I put down a couple more sections with legato and alt. picking Ill post a video with my progress.

Again, thanks so much for the helpful information! smile.gif


Half the crowd is me tripping on caffeine laugh.gif

I'm confused about this drilling a hole in the strap though. How does that work? My straps aren't adjusted by holes. huh.gif

This post has been edited by Caelumamittendum: Sep 6 2013, 11:59 AM


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verciazghra
post Sep 6 2013, 12:12 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 6 2013, 10:58 AM) *
Half the crowd is me tripping on caffeine laugh.gif

I'm confused about this drilling a hole in the strap though. How does that work? My straps aren't adjusted by holes. huh.gif

Many of the leather straps use holes to regulate the length. These for example http://planetbass.com/wp-content/gallery/l...0_tan_large.jpg use slits. These use holes https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q..._gP8puBCvj-bTBQ .


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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