Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
Jol
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 am
Location: Chinchilla Queensland Australia

Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Jol » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:44 am

Just curious about rh thumb. Is it advisable to use it on the bass strings wherever possible? For example in Julia Florida in the second section. Or some of the harmony in Capricho Arabe where the harmony is on the 4 string?

Luis_Br
Posts: 2369
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:53 pm

Musically, you decide based on sound, articulation you want. It may change according to the context.

Jol
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 am
Location: Chinchilla Queensland Australia

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Jol » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:46 pm

So after a bit of research on YouTube, I believe I am under utilising my thumb. I think it sounds better but sure is hard to change old habits :(

User avatar
Sebastian
Posts: 136
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:41 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Sebastian » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:49 am

Jol wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:44 am
Just curious about rh thumb. Is it advisable to use it on the bass strings wherever possible? For example in Julia Florida in the second section. Or some of the harmony in Capricho Arabe where the harmony is on the 4 string?
In which parts of Capricho Arabe? You mean the section after the fast descending scale in the introductin? There some chords are played... I believe it is that part. In case it is, yes one is supposed to play the lower voice with the thumb, and using rest stroke on thumb. Not only the lower voice will sound stronger but also with more body... But then again I'm not sure if that's the part you had in mind.
But depends on what you want to play. For instance, Carcassi's treatise specifically state that ONLY the thumb finger must play the bass strings, and no other finger. Works fine for his stuff.
You're reading this.

Luis_Br
Posts: 2369
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Luis_Br » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:29 am

Jol wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:46 pm
So after a bit of research on YouTube, I believe I am under utilising my thumb. I think it sounds better but sure is hard to change old habits :(
I think most players under use the thumb. IMO the thumb has much more versatility than other fingers. It is much easier to get a lot of different sounds with the thumb, from pure flesh to several different angles. The other fingers have much less lateral mobility and are more restricted to the whole hand position.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1820
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:21 pm

Luis_Br wrote:I think most players under use the thumb.
:okok:
Sebastian wrote:For instance, Carcassi's treatise specifically state that ONLY the thumb finger must play the bass strings, and no other finger.
Sebastian, you have misread Carcassi (or maybe have a poor translation).
As early as page 10 of his method he gives specific examples of the fingers being used on the bass strings and the thumb as high as string two.
Jol wrote:Just curious about rh thumb. Is it advisable to use it on the bass strings wherever possible?
It is worthwhile developing the facility to play bass runs with - alternating fingers - alternating thumb and finger - thumb alone - according to the requirements of the music (and your judgement) e.g.
Jol wrote:... some of the harmony in Capricho Arabe where the harmony is on the 4 string?
The Carcassi instructions that I mentioned above refer to exactly this possibility i.e. thumb and fingers in combination.

As Luis said though - you can decide. If the result is musically sound then it's fine (though you might have other reasons for favouring a particular technique).

Jol
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 am
Location: Chinchilla Queensland Australia

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Jol » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:41 am

After a few days I find I’m getting much better tone with the thumb on the d string. If it’s up for interpretation I think I’ll just keep going with that. Thanks for everyone’s input. Now when to play adjacent notes with thumb or not. :?

User avatar
Julian Ward
Posts: 311
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:52 am
Location: UK

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:34 am



Hi Jol. Since you are talking about Capricho Arabe - you will see I use quite a lot of thumb when I play it, and on occassion will also drop it down to the third string if I feel the continuation of the accompaniment requires that (for continuity in sound). Or even for parts of the scale runs you will see I use it. Have a look above - I think it will help you.
Classical guitar teacher

Jol
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 am
Location: Chinchilla Queensland Australia

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by Jol » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:36 am

Julian Ward wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:34 am


Hi Jol. Since you are talking about Capricho Arabe - you will see I use quite a lot of thumb when I play it, and on occassion will also drop it down to the third string if I feel the continuation of the accompaniment requires that (for continuity in sound). Or even for parts of the scale runs you will see I use it. Have a look above - I think it will help you.
Very nice

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3788
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Right hand thumb on bass strings question

Post by RobMacKillop » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:49 am

I use my thumb a lot more than many players appear to, reaching as high as the first string. In this I have been influenced by Fernando Sor and lute technique. But I acknowledge that it works better if you - as I do - play without nails. I don't want to place my video of Capricho Arabe here, as the video is not about technique, but if you care to look at it you will observe me playing the chromatic scale by alternating thumb and index.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”