Friday, 8 November 2013

Why not give your thumbs a rest...

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...

Bass Guitar Thumbrest Ebony Standard 2-Hole image
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.

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