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> Thumb Position Against Back Of Neck
nick1503
post Jul 11 2017, 06:58 AM
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Hey guys,

I recently got a new guitar instructor who is trying to teach me to improve my shredding skills (I don't think he can shred tbh).
He's been telling me I need to keep my thumb away from the top of the neck of the guitar (completely out of sight, and very close to the bottom).

I've never played like this before, it's uncomfortable and feels unnatural to me. It can even hurt at times. I've been watching and it seems like some of the fastest players I could think of play like me: thumb poking above the neck; Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Laiho, Steve Vai, Jeff Loomis, Nick Johnston, etc...
Eric Johnson seems to play with his thumb an extreme amount above the neck.

I was wondering what you guys all thought about it?
My teacher is making it sound like a life-and-death situation here but it works fine for a lot of amazing guitar players.

This post has been edited by nick1503: Jul 11 2017, 07:00 AM
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Mertay
post Jul 11 2017, 10:35 AM
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Not a wrong advice, thumb must be usually touching somewhere around the middle of the neck. This also applys to classical guitar...

But not only thumb, your sitting position and guitar to body angle must be adjusted accordingly too. Unless your finger tip, you should never (ever!) feel any pain while playing guitar. Try adjusting yourself accordingly.

Goal is the use more of the strength+control where your finger starts rather than the middle. Its a discipline that helps controllable light but fast touching to the guitar fretboard.

Keep in mind though in such a transition period of a student, things shouldn't be pushed far even if the student is higher level. It should be thought to perfect his/her left hand position as much as possible in time rather than total conversion. My guess is your teacher won't be so strict once he notices you start naturally trying to keep the thumb lower even if not perfectly in the middle of the neck.

As for famous guitarists you mention, you should know they're only playing around half their speed when playing anything to the public or internet smile.gif they have to consider being on the stage in a bad day so they never push themselves so hard. Also they play for hours on stage and this requires stamina. That stamina is not in the strenght but in the light touch wink.gif As they're standing up, lowering the guitars jumping around the stage yes their thumbs are visible but working at home for them is very different.

Long story short; Just try to absorb and understand the idea as much as possible, give it some time to soak so it can show its benefits. But again, I'm strongly against any pain (can be very dangerous) so this must be the first thing your teacher must help you about.


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Todd Simpson
post Jul 11 2017, 07:51 PM
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He's got a good point, especially below the 12th fret. Below fret 12, getting used to playing with the thumb on the back of your axe will open up a range of playing that is just too hard do the other way and it can lead to injury like carpal tunnel.

So I'd say give it a shot and try to adapt to it, especially on the lower frets where it can give you much greater range and reach. If you let the thumb slip up on the higher frets, it's not a huge sin, imho, just more comfy for some folks. But below the 12th, putting your thumb lower allows your first finger and pinky to get much more fret reach and control. Just takes getting used to smile.gif

If you want to shred, I'd say join my SHRED BOOT CAMP. Just send me a personal message and I'll get you started smile.gif

Todd





QUOTE (nick1503 @ Jul 11 2017, 01:58 AM) *
Hey guys,

I recently got a new guitar instructor who is trying to teach me to improve my shredding skills (I don't think he can shred tbh).
He's been telling me I need to keep my thumb away from the top of the neck of the guitar (completely out of sight, and very close to the bottom).

I've never played like this before, it's uncomfortable and feels unnatural to me. It can even hurt at times. I've been watching and it seems like some of the fastest players I could think of play like me: thumb poking above the neck; Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Laiho, Steve Vai, Jeff Loomis, Nick Johnston, etc...
Eric Johnson seems to play with his thumb an extreme amount above the neck.

I was wondering what you guys all thought about it?
My teacher is making it sound like a life-and-death situation here but it works fine for a lot of amazing guitar players.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jul 11 2017, 08:02 PM


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nick1503
post Jul 11 2017, 10:24 PM
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Thanks for the input guys! I'd wanna join your boot-camp Todd, but I don't know if I have the time to put into it every day to be honest.
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fkalich
post Jul 12 2017, 07:50 AM
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It always has seemed constricting to me, restrictive to place the thumb at the top. I only would use my thumb up there for some odd infrequent reason. It seems that most great players keep their thumb at the top, even wrapping it around the top when playing. I have always looked at their greatness as having been accomplished in spite of this, not as something that has been helped by this.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Jul 12 2017, 08:01 AM
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Phil66
post Jul 12 2017, 11:16 AM
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When watching the masters in anything, it's always best to keep in mind the "in spite of not because of" theroy.

I remember when I was a bodybuilder, some of the giants, natural mesomorphs, used to get big just walking into a gym. It was often written that they had got big in spite of their routine, not because of it.


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Todd Simpson
post Jul 12 2017, 05:08 PM
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No problem. The bootcamp is a "go at your own pace" kind of thing. Just shoot me a personal message if you ever wanna give it a shot smile.gif


Tod


QUOTE (nick1503 @ Jul 11 2017, 05:24 PM) *
Thanks for the input guys! I'd wanna join your boot-camp Todd, but I don't know if I have the time to put into it every day to be honest.



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