Floating Thumb and String Muting

I do floating thumb and the thumb is usually anchored, just the anchor spot shifts. I am on the pickup or one of the strings


As Josh has pointed out, there are at least three ways to use the thumb for bass players: always anchored, movable thumb, and floating thumb.

  1. Always anchored rests the thumb on a pickup or some other “permanent” area on the bass.

  2. Movable thumb is resting on something (pickup for open low string, on the string above when playing higher strings)

  3. Floating thumb (“true floating thumb” as the guy in the video refers to it) is resting the side of the thumb to mute lower strings when higher strings are played.

I learned Josh’s preferred method #2 first, but I quickly found #3, floating thumb, was intuitive and much more comfortable for me. But I come from fingerpicking guitar, where the thumb is always plucking the bass line, i.e., never planted (anchored). YMMV

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Thank you Mike. I find floating thumb intuitive too. My only issue with it is that I seem unable to control the plucking properly because I can’t “close down” onto the thumb with my plucking fingers. This seems to affect the tone and the dynamics in my case, so probably I’m not doing it correctly. I’ll stick to #2 for now, I guess.

Same here. My thumbs is always anchored on the string above the one I’m plucking. If you use Joss’s technique your fingers are pretty straight most of the time. So not pulling strings up but toward the string above it.

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Your plucking fingers should be coming into contact with the string above what you’re playing. That’s part of the muting technique. So for example if you’re playing notes on your D string with the thumb anchored on your E string, your plucking fingers should be coming to rest on the underside of the A string. Regardless of where your thumb is placed, the plucking technique shouldn’t be affected

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Got it, I’ll try thank you!