Where to rest the thumb


Let me preface this by saying I am an absolute beginner (I recently got quite a reality check with that Billie Jean lesson). So, I imagine it’s not crucial to worry too much about thumb positioning at this point. That said, I would like to try to get good fundamentals ingrained early if possible. I’m wondering about where to rest my thumb on my plucking hand (I’m playing a 4-string).

When I first started I would rest it on a pickup when playing the E and A strings, on the E string when playing the D string, and on the A string when playing the G string (with the knuckle of my thumb against the E string to mute it).

With that Billie Jean lesson, though, I started to wonder if it would be more efficient to just rest on the pickup when playing the E and A, and then rest on the A when playing the D and G.

Again, I’m sure this is farther ahead than I need to worry about, but I am curious. Thanks!


Sounds good! But as you’re beginning to suspect, there’s a lot of grey area when you start incorporating string crossing.

For example, if you were playing a bass line that jumped from the E string to the D string over and over in a short span of time, it wouldn’t make sense to move your thumb over to the E string every time you played the D string.

And yeah, for Billie Jean, you could just rest on the E string the whole time for playing the main riff starting on F#, and then move to the A string when the riff moves to B.

Hope that’s helpful!


Very helpful. Thanks for the fast response Josh.