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View Poll Results: Thumb over neck?

Voters
81. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yeah, why not?

    50 61.73%
  • No, it stays behind the neck

    31 38.27%
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  1. #31
    My first teacher was of the "thumb stays planted on the back of the neck" school, and I guess I got indoctrinated that way. The only time I hang my thumb over the top is for a big bend.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  2. #32
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    I use the thumb to fret notes on the 6th string when it seems called for. The rest of the time I try to keep it behind the neck after decades of lazily using the thumb as a hanger for the whole arm. Eschewing this has been a long struggle; suffice it to say "proper" thumb-behind-the-neck technique is a whole different ball of wax, ergonomically speaking. I'm still working on it, and as Cassals said, "I think I'm making progress."
    Best regards, k

  3. #33
    I'm going with Bela Bartok & Lee Konitz

    Thumb Under, a song by Lee Konitz Quintet on Spotify

    Saw Tal Farlow play once, he apologised to the obvious guitarists sitting in the front row for his unorthodox technique...I could never get my thumb to do that anyway.

  4. #34
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    if you thought richie havens was idiosyncratic (he was!)

    what about the legendary thumbs carllile!



    haha

    cheers

  5. #35
    Rory Hoffman plays with the guitar flat on his lap like that, too, and that dude can burn.

  6. #36
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    My thumb is mostly centered on the back of the neck for both chording and soloing -- except when I'm bending, it'll ride up onto the shoulder of the neck for better leverage. I don't use it for thumbing a bass note, it just ain't that big to allow for it fretting a note and extended voicings.

  7. #37
    I have a few tunes where I do it, however I avoid it when working out new arrangements. I have come to the conclusion at least for me, this is not a good thing to be doing it comes to thumb ergonomics.

  8. Reminded me of this. Creepy.

    (at 12:06)

  9. #39
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    Actually I was working through another John Mayer acoustic song with a student - can't remember the name - and that had some very difficult thumb fretting in it.

  10. #40
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    This is it.



    I dig this channel. I like the way he demonstrates his process. It's very important for students to see that.

  11. #41
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    That's not THE bit though it's later on, just after that first section... Also I don't think Music is Win guy 100% nails it?



    I'm not a Mayer fan, but this song is nice.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I dig this channel. I like the way he demonstrates his process. It's very important for students to see that.
    Agreed. I like to look at those every now and then, because I always go back to thinking all decent guitarists can just do anything at a whim.

  13. #43
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    I play both.

    At the beginning I was strctly against thumb over the neck as I came from classical and though it was not efficient and unhealthy.

    But when I began to play a lot electric and steel string I began to use it too.

    To me the most important thing is efficiency.

    I do not see any problem in combining techniques.
    I do not have to choose one.

    Some say if you play thumb over your pinky goes out of use... weel first many thumb over player do not use pinky at all...
    And second - actually if you know good left hand position... really good I mean (not every classical player has it too).
    So if you have it - you ca do whatever you want.. use your thuimb, stretch, rotate your wrist - you will always be able to come back to solid ground.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtrplrfla View Post
    Amen, Skip ! If the "technique police" had been around when Merle and Chet stated , not only would we have been deprived of their talents, but the legions who were inspired by them. Many jazz guitarists use the thumb over, along with the bar method when they feel it expedient and convenient. So do I !

    I didn't do it for a long time, but then I picked it up from a book on Merle Travis' style. It adapted well to certain jazz chords.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post

    Some say if you play thumb over your pinky goes out of use... weel first many thumb over player do not use pinky at all...
    What?? The thumb over doesn't stop me from using my pinky at all. I feel like it frees up the extra finger.

    Couple examples off the top of my head:

    3x4435.. Don't even know how I could play this without my thumb. Or another I like, 5x5435.

  16. #46
    Of course. Thumb over the neck, fretting the 6 the string, the right way to play Hendrix songs.
    Last edited by Johnny_L; 06-24-2018 at 12:03 AM.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by p1p View Post
    What?? The thumb over doesn't stop me from using my pinky at all. I feel like it frees up the extra finger.

    Couple examples off the top of my head:

    3x4435.. Don't even know how I could play this without my thumb. Or another I like, 5x5435.
    Me too... but whne one uses thumb over it makes one rotate his hand and pinky goes down.
    Usually my pinky is high above the fretboard - somehweher over 4th string

  18. #48
    The John Mayer video is amusing to me, because although I don't personally use a thumb over neck technique very often (I do a lot of my playing on a nylon strings, and my hands aren't big enough to do it effectively), when I do, I find fretting with the thumb on the same fret as the ring finger easier than fretting with the thumb on the same fret as the index finger.

  19. #49
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    7-string guitar. thumb behind neck, always. besides, the harmonics generated by the bass strings allow one to use fewer notes per chord.

  20. #50
    I seriously believe that virtually all issues, problems, deficiencies, inabilities, and general "can't playness" stem from ignoring the last few hundred years of development and cultivation of proper form.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  21. #51

    Sometimes

    As a general rule I don't put my thumb over the neck. For players with huge hands it is not even an issue. But my hands are small and it makes for difficulty to reach over the neck. But sometimes I do it if there is a bass note I want an I can reach it without straining.

  22. #52

    yes, hendrix

    Yeah. Hendrix had huge hands.

  23. #53
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    I put my thumb wherever seems appropriate at the moment.

  24. #54

    Barney Kessel thumb torture

    Re Thumb over neck,

    yes loads do it, but there is a subtle difference, in WTF you do with it.

    Jimi & Tal ( others too ) had large paws.

    Barney Kessel who not only played thumb over but did some unusual stuff,

    eg sliding chords up and down but the thumb remains fretting the same bass note etc

    looks easy try it, BK was a master of chords with thumb ( i will have a look to find in a video and exact spots etc)

    Ps meant to say all done at a high speed on the fly

  25. #55
    There are some exceptions. However, ideal guitar posture and hold suggest your thumb should stay on the back.

  26. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by p1p View Post
    I've been told it's not ideal technique, but it's what I'm used to and is most comfortable for me. It's also allowed me to play a lot of chords that I might not be able to otherwise.
    I think the idea that it's not "ideal technique" is total hogwash. George Benson, Rodney Jones, Miles Okazaki, and about a million other jazz guitarists with amazing time feel and technique play with their thumb hooked over the top of the neck. This quote by Miles Okazaki says it all:

    In certain circles of guitar playing, tucking away the fourth finger and putting the thumb over the top of the neck is considered improper technique. I would side with the contrary view, that this is an absolutely natural way to approach the guitar when the goal is strong articulation, groove, and rhythm. Using primarily three fingers does not at all limit speed or harmonic options — look at all the stuff drummers can play with two sticks! And the third finger easily spans four frets when the hand is angled towards the guitar’s body.

  27. #57
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    Yeah this is irrelevant influence of classical guitar pedagogy.

    Classical guitarists have a technique that is optimised for certain things - such as playing polyphonic solo music.

    Jazz guitarists have different priorities most of the time.

    But people like to boil it down to 'right' and 'wrong' simplistically. Perhaps it is to do with a respected teacher they had when younger - and young people do often need to be taught something simple and consistent. However, adult music making is much more complex and grey.

    Anyway, FWIW, I feel it's worth going one way or the other. One thing I dislike about my left hand is that it's too pronated with thumb behind and not pronated enough with thumb over lol

  28. #58
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    Nov 2009
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    I find that I fret the stings with a lighter touch than when I wrap my thumb around the fret board. I do find that I cannot get a clean fret of A Bar chords without wrapping my thumb around the neck.

    Well, this didn't make any sense. What I ment to say: I find that I fret the stings with a lighter touch when I keep my thumb on the back of the neck.
    Last edited by tonedeaf; 08-07-2018 at 10:52 PM.

  29. #59
    It's not either/or, it's what works.

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    if you thought richie havens was idiosyncratic (he was!)

    what about the legendary thumbs carllile!



    haha

    cheers
    Jeff Healey, too. I wonder if being blind meant he stumbled upon this technique. (I don't mean to be insulting, it's cool!)

    Build bridges, not walls.

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