I feel I see them often below the strings, instead of above the strings. Even in Guitar Center over the weekend, they had one there with it below the strings. And HipShot’s photo shows it that way too. Is there some reason why some folks have it below the strings?
More web searching says it’s a finger rest/grip, from back in the day when transitioning from upright basses and folks thought people would play with their thumbs and need the leverage.
Strange it’s still shown that way now though. I deleted the post, cause I found the answer elsewhere, then that looked strange, so putting the answer here too…
It’s a called a tug bar
You’re correct, it’s an relic from the earliest days of electric bass where a player was expected to grab it with fore/middle finger(s) from the bottom and use the thumb to pluck the string.
Fender sometimes has them on period correct reissues because it’s ‘authentic’. I think by authentic they mean pointless. But there you go.
Ha. Reminds me of the “Classic” vs “Dated” terms my wife and I use to describe older designs that one likes or doesn’t like.
But HipShot, I would think would get it right? They call it a thumb rest instead of tug bar but then photograph it on the wrong side?
Well, they do say " * Can be mounted above string (thumb rest position) or below strings (tug bar position)"
I expect they had a photo of it installed as a tug bar and that’s what they used
Reading is fundamental! Thanks!
A lot of folks move it, and you can buy brand new relic’ed basses with the thumb rest above the strings, and two holes beneath the strings where the “tug bar was installed”
Now that’s just getting silly. But then I tend to think that relic’ed is silly at best!
Check out some Beach Boys videos. Brian Wilson uses it…he plays with his thumb.