View Poll Results: Thumb over neck?

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

    68 61.26%
  • No, it stays behind the neck

    43 38.74%
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Posts 51 to 74 of 74
  1. #51

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    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.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Yeah. Hendrix had huge hands.

  4. #53

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    I put my thumb wherever seems appropriate at the moment.

  5. #54

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    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

  6. #55

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

  7. #56

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    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.

  8. #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

  9. #58

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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.

  10. #59

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

  11. #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.

  12. #61

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    If you play with any vibrato or bending in classical position there is a big risk that you'll end busting your left wrist. For me it was all fun and games, but once I nearned 40 I had to switch technique from classical to thumb over neck as I had constant wrist pains.

    Luckily that made them go away

  13. #62

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    I’m in the habit of using the thumb to add a bass note, but I think it’s led to arthritis in the thumb joint. I’m trying to retrain, but it’s not easy. When I want to hear that note the thumb has its own mind. Fortunately, that’s the only joint that’s a problem for me.

  14. #63

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    I don't let my thumb touch the neck at all.
    Studied privately with Mark Levine from 1986-1989 and with Barry Harris 1990-1992.

  15. #64

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    If you want to get funky
    You've got to git yor thum over
    and damp that mother

    <sorry>

  16. #65

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  17. #66

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    There are no absolutes.

    You use whatever tool does the job.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  18. #67

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    Tommy Emmanuel has used the thumb over move for so long that it’s changed the bone structure in his left hand. He’s happy about that.


  19. #68

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    My rule of thumb is it stays behind the neck unless I'm bending a note or playing that open D chord with the F# in the bass or other thumb based chords. The thumb is a perfect anchor that when well placed always a wide range of movement of the fretting hand. But I can't take the poll because it demands either or.

  20. #69

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    It stays behind unless I need it for moving bass notes. In my tuning have a fifth between the 5th and 6th strings (my 'A' is a 'B'), so minors are just barred with no need to mute the fifth, but if I want a moving bass line (or or the chord requires it), then my thumb goes over and does that.

  21. #70
    Not typing that either is wrong, but I don’t. I took lessons for a couple of years 45+ years ago and one of the first things my instructor told me was never to use your thumb over the neck to play a lower register note.
    Midnight Blues

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blues View Post
    Not typing that either is wrong, but I don’t. I took lessons for a couple of years 45+ years ago and one of the first things my instructor told me was never to use your thumb over the neck to play a lower register note.
    Yeah instructors say that sort of thing don't they? I say stuff like that.

    It's good advice when you are a beginner... You have to make instructions clear and consistent. No ambiguity. You need that early on...

    Problem is... people hang onto these rules for far too long.

    And then students come to me to learn gypsy jazz, and I tell them to thumb fret the bottom note on 5 7 7 6 5 x or it won't sound right, can't use a barre, and they are like 'waaaaaaa?????'

  23. #72

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    Anything is permissible, according to George Van Eps:

    Thumb over neck?-90c9475a-95f7-4bb2-99a0-90e4574f0075-jpg

  24. #73

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    The thumb-over-neck question comes up from new players.

    Here's the answer:

    You put your thumb over the neck when it's appropriate such as when you are doing string bends or making certain chords or it is convenient.

    You put your thumb behind the neck when it's appropriate such as when you make other types of chord grips or whenever it is convenient.

    Anyone who tells you there is only one "right" way is full of carp.

    Thumb over neck?-jay-zimmerman-fly-fishing-carp-colorado-backstabber-may-19-2011-jpg
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  25. #74

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    I’d characterize it as thumb over the top and palm against the back of the neck. This would cause an injury for me with the more modern fingering techniques I’m working on. I’ve decreased the scale length while increasing the nut width, fingerboard radius, front to back depth and fret size.