We handed today's post over to Thumb Rest maestro Guy Lewis, he discusses all things thumb rests, how he makes them and how he got into making them...
I began making bass guitar thumb rests by accident really when I was given an old but excellent quality Fender Precision copy by a friend. It had two mysterious holes in the pickguard which after a little research I realised were for a thumb rest (or tug bar as they are sometimes called.)Wishing to restore the instrument to its former glory I bought a replacement hollow plastic thumb rest from Ebay, fitted it and found it suited my playing-style but I hated its cheap look and feel.
Being a furniture designer/maker with a lifetime’s experience in working wood, it made sense to me to make one for myself from a quality exotic timber. I had some black ebony off-cuts from the studio-desk boxes I was making at the time which I found was perfect.
In fact I made two thumb rests and listed the second one on Ebay where it sold very quickly. I made a further ten which again sold well and here I am, six years later still producing these quirky little replacement parts and selling them all over the World.
I still make them by hand in very small batches but my range has now expanded to include many different exotic woods and also decorative solid cast acrylic and polyester ones. A lot of hand work goes into making these simple parts but it is worth the effort as they look and feel sublime.
Recently I developed a low-profile thumb rest which doesn't protrude as much as a standard one and doesn't really change the appearance of the instrument. It is proving very popular.
Another aspect of my work is making custom one-off thumb rests for players with very specific demands. Sometimes the rests are extra-long and thin, other times they are absolutely tiny. Within reason, any designs can be made and won’t cost nearly as much as you might expect for a bespoke one-off part.
If you would take a look at the thumb rests you can find them here.