Thumbside contact during DSX

“thumbside” IS a real word, right?

I’m really enjoying the new Metronomic Rock DSX section…thanks @tommo for making this stuff seem possible. I guess it turns out that it actually is, because I feel like I’ve made great progress just in the past week that I’ve been going through the lessons. I’ve taken a particular liking to the 2 string extended arpeggio lick, which I’ve demonstrated here.

How am I doing?

One thing that’s been on my mind is the amount of contact that the side of my thumb is making with the lower strings. See how they’re shaking around a lot…Is that bad?
I feel a lot of scraping against the strings in that area between the thumb’s knuckle and the base joint. It’s not uncomfortable at all…I just wonder if it’s necessary to do this form, or even if it’s something I should try to train myself not to do?
It does provide me with a feeling of stability so that I can achieve the smoothest pickstrokes, but I’m worried that it might also restrict my movement a bit. Just wondering if it would be considered bad form to not try and fix it now before it becomes really permanent.

I think in the Andy Wood interviews, he talks about just resting the pinky heel on the bridge…maybe @troy also says that in some of the other lessons, and somehow it’s still DSX…but when I try to pivot the thumbside up off of the strings, it seems like even that small shift kinda moves me into more of a USX position and I lose my ability to go fast and/or smooth.

Any tips, anyone?


When I play that lick, it looks a lot like how you are playing here. My DSX tendency is to contact with the thumb the way you describe, and it hasn’t affected anything negatively - however I have been working on flattening my hand out as much as possible in the hopes of learning DBX. (So far, though - single escape is all I can do quickly)

1 Like

Hey there, sounds pretty good! As an experiment I’d try a variety of different speeds (including faster than my own example), to check that the efficiency is there.

I had a look back at my own example of this, and also in my case you can see the lower strings moving a bit:

I don’t think this creates a big problem - or at least I can’t hear any obviously bad noise.

But yes, it should be possible to avoid this altogether by changing the contact points a little!

Thanks guys, it’s reassuring to know that the thumb contact isn’t automatically a terrible no no. I’d still like to work on minimizing it just because I think it will give my hand a bit more of a feeling of freedom.

After experimenting some more, I notice that I’m kind of forced into having more pressure there when I’m standing & holding the guitar lower… vs when I’m sitting down with my chin resting on the top edge of the guitar. I hope I don’t end up being that guy that can only shred while sitting down…but then again I guess it’s a big improvement from being that guy that can only shred never!

I’m sure this has been said here many times already – but while it may be very helpful to watch/study expert pickers and try to imitate their hand position and movement…it often looks quite different than it feels and feels quite different than it looks.

1 Like

If you haven’t watched this, just give this a quick scan since this briefly covers the two basic forms most players use for wrist motion, including the thumb anchor form:

You can check out any of Molly’s videos on the site for absolutely blazing playing with a nice closeup view of her obvious thumb heel anchor.

1 Like

I kinda play like that too and don’t feel like it is restricting my motion or producing unwanted results (e.g. noise). Also, George Bellas plays with his thumb against the strings and openly encourages players to try that technique:

One thing I should mention is that, as a DSX player, I feel like my thumb gets “less anchored” on the downstroke. That’s probably a natural result of the direction of the pickstroke getting away from the guitar, as opposed to my upstrokes that trap the pick between the strings, which makes the thumb support more obvious.

1 Like