Beginner Bassist Looking for Advice on Right-Hand Technique

Hey everyone!

I bought my first bass guitar a little over a month ago and have been practicing pretty regularly during my spare time. Although I feel like various aspects of my playing have improved these past few weeks, my right-hand technique still feels off. I should note that I’m currently trying to learn the floating thumb technique since it’s what feels the most natural and comfortable for me. With that said, I have some questions regarding my forearm position and how bent my wrist should be when using this specific technique.

I’ve found that the most comfortable position for me when holding my bass is when I’m resting my forearm on the body. This also allows me to create the counter-pressure needed to fret notes without using the thumb on my left hand. However, when looking into whether or not I should rest my forearm on the bass body on different forums and sites, most advise that I shouldn’t. If that’s the case, are there any ways that I can avoid resting my forearm when playing? Does it even matter?

Regarding the wrist, I’ve found that it tends to bend significantly when playing on the higher strings. I know that the whole point of the floating thumb technique is to keep your wrist straight to reduce strain, but I find this pretty uncomfortable, especially when trying to cross strings since my forearm is constantly shifting/sliding up and down the body. Are there any ways to address this issue? Should I think about changing up my right-hand technique entirely?

I know this is a pretty lengthy post and all, but I’d really like to gather as much information and advice as possible to improve my bass playing. I posted a link to a video of me playing for you guys to check out and critique. The angle is pretty bad and there isn’t any audio, but it should be enough to see my current technique with both hands.



Hail and welcome.

I’d say to allllll of this as a teacher of 20+ years…

Technique is a series of general guiding ideas.
There is no technique that works for everyone.

All technique rules are broken by different players - of all levels - and have to be because bodies are different, bones are different and muscles are different in everyone’s hands and arms.

From the video - everything looks just fine.
Because I couldn’t hear it, it’s challenging to say anything definitive.
The touch and technique on both hands looked good.
Your plucking looked very gentle - which is ideal if you’re happy with the sound and you’re concerned with hand/wrist/arm issues.

I play with a resting thumb and my forearm is always resting on my bass because it’s comfortable.
Sometimes the forearm comes up. Sometimes not.
I like to play loud and physically, and I dig in a lot. Not as much now as before, but it’s still one of my joys of playing, so my technique is different than other folks’.

The two most telling signs of bad technique will be:

  1. It sounds bad
  2. It hurts

Those two things need to be immediately addressed, and most technique advice is guidance to avoid pain and bad sound.

If you are avoiding pain and getting good sound, you’re on the right path, and the last part is just making sure you’re doing things efficiently and aren’t limiting yourself with bad technique (as in, only playing with one finger, or resting your thumb in weird places, etc.)

Everything looks good.
Keep it pain free and sounding good, and I imagine you’ll be just fine.


+1 for including a video


Hi there!

One thing about your video is that while you are wearing a strap in it, the bass is mainly resting on your leg. That’s fine - at the same time, depending on what you want to do, a shorter/longer strap position dramatically changes your wrist angle and so on.

Imagine playing with the bass up very high - the plucking hand wrist will be really bent. Playing down low - it’ll be straight.

Experiment with that and try to find a permanent position for now. As in, have the bass in your personal sweetspot for a while. Later, when you are happy with your technique, you can change it up.

Which reminds me, I wanted to buy a better strap. :laughing:


Also, feel free to say hi to the forum:

I’ve picked up a few straps now and have yet to find one that cinches up enough to not rest primarily on my leg while I’m playing. It looks like the Kliq goes down a few more inches than the ones I’ve got now. I may give that one a shot next. Even if I just use it while sitting.

well somebody has to post it, might as well be me. if for no other reason than to once again laugh at the young adam. solid advice, though (of course).


Great video. Wish he still talked about bass :slight_smile:


I am looking for a very short strap. I think I want the option to go less than 100-104 cm or 38-40 inches. I’m a skinny dude. Well. People in general seem to be bigger, it’s not me :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You might want to consider the NeoTech Mega guitar/bass strap. Really comfortable neoprene strap (around £40 in UK) and come in these sizes:

Short: 7″-11″ (17,8-27,9cm), 32″ – 37″ (86,4- 94cm)

Regular: 7″-11″ (17,8-27,9cm), 36″ – 45″ (91,4-114,3cm)

Midsize: 9.5″-13.5″ (24,1-34,3cm), 40″ – 50″ (101,6-127cm)

Long: 12″-16″ (30,5-40,6cm), 44″ – 56″ (111,8-142,2cm)


Same, I’m not as skinny as I was when I was younger but I’ve avoided “Dadbod” so far. I’m also not short at 6’0" (183cm). A normal sized strap should fit me fine, but I haven’t found one yet that I can set and have rest in the same position whether I’m sitting / standing. That Mega Strap looks really promising other than I’m not sure about where the padded part begins on the model.


If you look on the site it gives the distance form your shoulder to the front pin for each strap size. So hold the guitar where you want it to be and get someone with a tape to measure that distance. In the picture the short end is the end to attach to the front pin and is longer on the longer straps (click on the different sizes to see how different that length is). Mine is the “Midsize” and the end of the cushioning (including leather attachment) to the pin is around 140mm (5.5").


That’s gold, @HighlandBass, thank you very much!

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I’ve only been taking lessons for about a year and a quarter - but my $0.02 is that your twisted orientation (relative to the bed you’re sitting on) as well as the height of the bed from the floor (your knees appear to be higher than your hips) are skewing the natural positions of both of your hands and arms as well as your torso - relative to the bass. I wonder whether sitting in a standard table-chair (where your upper legs are parallel to the floor, your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor and your torso is parallel to the front of the chair) would get everything closer to a standard/natural orientation of your body to the bass.

Your position, as I watched your video, jumped out at me right away as being twisted (wound up). I also think that playing standing with a strap will keep your bass and body oriented more closely to a natural/comfortable position (that removes, what looks to me like, a position that would make it hard to have good playing technique).