Do you use built in thumb rest only? Or move around

My bass came with a built in thumb rest, it looks like its original equipment. There are so many lesson references to moving the thumb to rest it on X string depending on where your playing, I thought I would post this and ask what others are doing or would suggest.
At first I only stayed on the thumb rest regardless of what string is being plucked, my nuub thought was - surely the manufacturer knows best where to hold my thumb and plucking hand?
After a while I tried moving to the strings to rest the thumb. When plucking on D and G it feels pretty good, but on the E and A, feeling the rest throws me off a bit. Probably more mentally than physically. Then I started wondering if it would be bad training if I don’t always do it the same way, rest the thumb on the strings every time - or on the rest every time, so I have that consistent training in place.
I’m curious what others have done when going through the lessons on a bass which came with a thumb rest. I looked around on the webs, and some people suggest taking the rest off and learning to do it ‘the right way’ only, while others swear by the thumb rest, and I see all kinds of add on kits.
Having mine come with the rest already in place, and assuming it was original, it’s on my mind more n more as I practice, since I want to practice in a way which builds the best habits and muscle memory.
I’d love to hear what you guys think and what others have done.

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I think I may have answered my own question, after progressing one more lesson.
After my first time through the Billie Jean lesson I think the answer is, ‘some of both’. Muting the rest of the strings is a problem, if plucking the D & G, if my thumb is way up on the rest.
So just like Josh explains the different strings to put the thumb on in the lessons, rest or no rest it feels like ‘where the thumb rests’ should shift up and down for best results.
Hopefully the newbie questions aren’t too painful, when they could get answered another lesson or two later.


They are not at all painful it’s a legit question. Yes you did answer some of your questions. It’s best to move plugging hand because it yields different tones and feel. If you are about to play fast fills you may need tighter string tension that you don’t have to compensate for string oscillation or the trampoline effect, you’d want to be near the bridge. This position would also be brighter and crisp.

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None of my basses has a thumb rest. If they had, I would likely take it off, as I find it aesthetically not pleasing and also “irritating” (as in: obstructing). But, many have it the other way round and that is fine as well :smile:

The important point is that a thumb rest is not part of an orthodox school of playing bass and that you’d develop bad technique if you didn’t use it. Instead, it is a tool and if that tool helps you, use it; if it bothers you and actually “is in the way” or hinders your playing, then don’t use it or even remove it.

There are several approaches to what to do (i.e., where to place) the thumb when playing. If at all possible for you, I’d explore these different options and see which one works best for you. Things to consider here could be: - are you OK with your fingers hitting/touching your thumb after a pluck? - Which thumb placement puts the least amount of strain on your fingers/hand? - How can you best use your thumb for muting strings? And so on…


The only bass I have that I think would benefit from a rest is my Ray34. The pickup itself has a slanted edge that does not really allow the thumb to contact it in a comfortable secure way. But, it really only affects my plucking on the E string. I have sent zero mod website several emails to just make sure of fitment on my Ray but they never answered and I really don’t want to spend $30-$40 on an experiment.

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I had a Zero Mod custom thumb-rest on one of my early single H Dimensions. It was exactly what I was looking for.

That’s odd, they were spot-on communication-wise with me.

It was odd as it was almost like their site was down or something. No communication at all. And with Rays, you really have to be careful because even though they may look the same or similar, they aren’t.

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I use the strings. I’ve even tried resting on the pickup, and it feels weird once I move down to other strings.

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One thing I learned early on with learning bass, is that there were a LOT of things that felt weird doing it this way instead of the recommended way. But, I believe my problem was a mild case of “terminal uniqueness.” Since then I have learned, that time honored and tested techniques are the best. Give it chance. Unless one has a crazy physical anomaly or something that really sets them a part, it’s best to go with the flow. If one doesn’t they run the risk of painting themselves into a corner with technique that may prevent them from advancing later.

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As mentioned before the finger rest usually too high to be effective something like this is more usable. See below.

Usually when you have the fender style finger rest they mount them so high your thump acts more like a tripod which is the last thing you want to do, add more tension to the plugging hand.

The closer to the E or B string the better without, of course interfering than the thumb merely rest and about a string spacing distance away.