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Old 06-21-2010, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thumb over neck chords

There's been a few songs that I've been looking to learn. ("Pinball Wizard" by the Who, and "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers) From looking at tabs and videos, I've seen that these 2 songs, and many others, have thumb-over-neck chords (is there even a name for it?) I have attempted to play these chords, but I just can't get my thumb over the neck. And on the rare times i do get it over, I get a sound similar to palm muting.

Is it possible that I'm using a bad technique? Is my guitar's neck too large (or my hands too small)? If anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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actually it's the musicians in the video who are using 'bad' technique. wrapping your thumb over the neck of the instrument is rarely recommended and especially not if you have small hands. you basically need to wrap your hand around the neck and grab it more like a baseball bat. your index finger should only be able to reach the D string when trying to form chords when using this method.

the 'benefit' to the method is that is frees up more range in your fretting fingers so that you can play more Hendrix-isms on the higher strings. what your thumb ends up doing is sounding the root note to the chord and muting the A string so you end up with a chunky/percussive element to the base of your chord while being able to add all sorts of accents over top.

the downside is that it's really easy to mess up your wrist if you're doing it wrong or forcing yourself as you cease using your thumb to reinforce your hand and its position on the neck
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ahh, that makes sense. The 'benefit' part of your post is what I'm trying to achieve.

YouTube - John Frusciante - Guitar Lessons (Under the Bridge) I'm trying to learn how to do the little accents that John Frusciante does in Figure 3 (starting at 1:45).
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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in that case, worry less about getting your thumb in place and more about the fingers. the thumb in that case really just serves to add the root and a fuller low end to the sound of the chord. the accents will be what you want people to hear, they just might sound a little thin for a while.

i know he wrote the guitar part for the song and all but i can't get over the fact that he's forgetting a hammer on in the intro repeat. the only time he's actually using his thumb on the low E during fig.3 is for the A chord at the end of the passage. i always found the outro to be a little trickier to play than the verse to be honest.
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