Plucking hand thumb placement when playing G string

@JoshFossgreen mentions in B2B that when plucking the G string he keeps his thumb resting on the A string; i am finding this super awkward, but when i move my thumb down to rest on the D string plucking the G feels very natural.

is this purely a preference thing or is there a reason/logic to keeping your thumb on A and not D when playing the G? basically i do not want to start a bad habit if there is a reason not to rest on D. (i am on module 2 so if he does explain it i have not gotten there yet.)


When resting on the A, your thumb can easily mute the A and the E string. The D string is taking care of by the rest strokes of your plucking fingers. with alternate plucking, one finger is always on the D string, muting it.

When you put your thumb on the D string, you can’t mute the E so easily.


The muting that @Malyngo mentions can be helpful, but if you move your thumb to the D when you play the G, that is absolutely fine.
I do the same thing 50% of the time I’m playing the G.

If it’s comfortable and you get good sound and you’re not making a terrible racket with ringing strings, it’s fine.

I always stress individual body comfort over just about anything else when dealing with technique. If it’s comfortable and the sound is good, it’s OK.
If it’s comfortable and the sound is terrible, then it’s not OK.


Hey @mgoldst! There are two reasons my general advice is to not bother moving to the D string:

  1. It’s harder to keep the E and A muted, like @Malyngo said (still possible)
  2. It’s not technically necessary for muting purposes, since your rest strokes (pulling across) on the G string will mute the D adequately

BUT - it’s not “bad” or “wrong,” I actually do do it sometimes if I’m on the G for an extended period. And there’s some personal preference in the mix beyond the technical notes above.

I do think it’s worthwhile to be able to play the G without your thumb on the D though - you’ll need that skill when we do more string jumping later in the course. But I wouldn’t worry about it for now, totally agree with this -


Try the floating thumb. When I pluck the G string, my thumb is resting (muting) the E,A, and D strings. This technique seems a bit awkward at first, but once you’ve mastered it, it becomes very natural and comfortable.


I use a floating thumb. Takes some adjustment but works well. My in person teacher keeps saying he is going to switch to it everytime he sees me use it