Adding a thumb rest to an acoustic bass

Hey Y’all,

I just got myself an acoustic bass and I am very excited about it. There is only one thing I am not used to yet. There is no pickup for for my thumb to rest on. I was thinking about adding a thumb rest but I am a little worried. Will it damage the instrument? Should I just learn how to play with floating thumb?




Congratz on the Acoustic. that is awesome. I am keeping my eye out for one, but am not looking to spend that much, but when I find the right deal, I am getting one for sure.

As far as the thumb rest. I can’t answer that, but I would say that if you were to add one, which is PROBABLY OK to do, that I would think about finding one, or making one yuu can glue on, instead of trying to screw thru the thin wall of the face of the bass.
But if you do want to bolt it on, you probably will need to drill small holes, and then get some bolts with two smal nuts so you can use the nut and a washer to hold the bolt, and not rely on the small wall of the face of the bass to hold wood screws in place. i would think that over time, you would rip some wood screws out, and possibly damage the bass.

You might get somethig for a thumb rest, and use some double sided tape to fix it in place, and then you can move it around until you find the right spot. Just don’t leave, or the tape on for too long so you don’t have to scrape it off.

About floating thumb, it is always a good idea to use this method for muting and strong right hand technique, so this is not a bad idea for your A D and G strings.
If you can learn to just anchor your thum DOWN on the bass, then you may not need a thumb rest at all.
When I started playing sting rays, with out a neck pick up, it felt a little strange at first, but I got used to it and would not want or need a thumb rest for ithem.


Thanks for the reply! I feel pretty good about floating thumb when it comes to resting on the other strings but when I play the E string or anchoring when there is a lot of string crossing I feel so lost without a rest. I am a little worried about adhesives but I think you are right I think they would work well.


Yeah, just for testing, just to find the right place, I would just use a little tape, just enough to hold it in place for you to play, not really using it, but feeling out the position with your thumb to see if it is in a good place.
If it is a good place, some lines so you have the placement marked, and get it off.
If you need to move it, get it off right away, and move it a little, using the same tape, and try again until you find the right spot, and when it is the right spot, mark it with pencil, adn remove it right away.

3 things
1 - don’t use a lot of pressure to put it on
2 - don’t use a lot of pressure when playing so it is not pushed down
3- don’t leave it on too long
should be fine.

As far as gluing it on, yeah, it will be part of the bass for life


I recommend floating thumb. Period.

P.S. I’m partial to the floating thumb technique, but also I wouldn’t drill holes in that acoustic bass.


@Benjinx I’m going to throw this in.

It depends on how much you spent on your acoustic. Mine was $151 and it’ll never be worth it to sell. So, if I wanted a thumb rest I would put one on. If I had nicer acoustic, I wouldn’t do it.

Otherwise, I did the course on my acoustic and it’s what I play everyday. I just got used to not having a ‘proper’ thumb rest. Sometimes, when I’m working hard on the E string or when I’m focusing on more complicated string crossing, I will unconsciously put the pad of my thumb against the body. And sometimes I get a cramp in my thumb because of it.

If the floating thumb is comfortable for you I would say to stick with it. It’s great to have that tool to work with. I often chastise myself for not dedicating more time to it.


I found I really needed a thumb rest for my acoustic so I made one. I don’t know much about woodwork but it wasn’t too difficult. I decided I wanted the thumb rest to clamp on to the guitar, rather than drilling holes. A friend suggested I make some templates out of cardboard, for the front and back. This was especially important because of the bracing inside the guitar. I purchased a Mexican rosewood pen blank on EBay, along with some M3 screws with nuts. I cut the pen blank in half (lengthways) and went about shaping both sides of the thumb rest. I finished it in teak oil and glued some felt onto the surfaces that would be in contact with the guitar. It’s made it much more comfortable to play!


Welcome to the forum @MattG.
That is fantastic work.
We have an upgrade thread, I think you can post those pictures there to get some more exposure, I am sure everybody would love to see this.
It is simple, beautiful, and innovative at the same time.
I bet you could market those., it is so cool.
I do want to get an Acoustic soon, and I am not sure weather I would want a thumb-rest or not, but if I did, I would buy one of those from you.
IDK what your actual cost was for the materials, probably not much, but I bet you could sell those for $15-$20 shipped. I would pay that.


I might like it a little further away from the string, but not a big deal, just a small adjustment.

Also, one last thing, not a huge critique, but if you could match the fretboard with it, could be cool.

Thanks T-dub. Each one of these would need to be custom made as the bracing inside the guitars will vary and I suspect the sound holes too.

What is the upgrade thread called?


Thant would be ideal! Sourcing the wood is the problem though. In the end I just thought I’d go with a piece of wood that at least looked good (It has to be very hard wood too).


I will find the thread, hold on

Here it is

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If you were serious about making these to sell, I am sure you could get the dimensions needed, or just make them to order and ask the buyer to provide a few dimensions for you to work with.
But I also sense they would be somewhat universal, where you could make a range of product, small, med, large for instance.

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@MattG That’s really cool. Nice work. :+1:


I’ll give it some thought!

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I, er, did a slightly less professional job, shall we say :slight_smile:

Heavy duty double sided tape. Looks shite, but works a treat!


There ya go :+1:


It actually feels pretty good when playing considering it looks like it’s just been thrown at the bass from a distance :smiley: