This is a public version of the members-only Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall.
Join Now

Basic Dobro
Intermediate Dobro
Advanced Dobro
Lap Steel
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Dobro Lessons: Developing the Thumb

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Basic Dobro

+Intermediate Dobro

+Advanced Dobro

+Lap Steel

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Dobro Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
All right.
Here I wanna talk a little bit some more
about right hand technique and
particularly the thumb.
And we've developed some right hand
technique, some left hand technique,
got them working together.
But before we get too much further,
I wanna, make sure we've got, the thumb
really going and working for us.
So, you know, we've been doing exercises
to get all the fingers moving.
But what you'll notice as you, get better
and improve,
is you tend to really use the thumb quite
a bit, particularly,
if you have to play more than just three
strings in a row.
You know, if you're gonna play just these
[SOUND] you use one strike, one finger for
each string.
But if you want to play four strings, how
would you do that?
Well, generally, [SOUND] you'd use the
thumb twice.
So you're gonna find a lot of times,
you're gonna be using the thumb more than
once in a row, you might even go,
[SOUND] five strings where you're going
thumb, thumb, thumb, [SOUND] index middle.
So what we wanna do is, practice a few
these exercises that are really gonna
incorporate the thumb, we're gonna just
focus on the thumb here, so.
One thing you could do is just play the
[SOUND] all in a row only using the thumb.
And you'll find when you first start doing
this, you, you'll be missing strings
possibly and, but
the more you do it, the more accurate your
thumb is gonna be and
more powerful, [SOUND] so just practice
So, now that's sort of, by plucking and
lifting away, that's one technique.
Another technique you can use is by
pressing through the string,
where you're not lifting the thumb.
So there's two ways to do this thumb
exercise, you can do it by lifting,
just by plucking, [SOUND] and that's good
to practice.
But it's also good to practice the
technique of pressing through,
where you press down on the string.
[SOUND] And when, instead of lifting it,
you, you play through, and
you're, you're thumb rests on the next
And you can really get
a lot of power that way.
Now, you can only do that going forward.
[SOUND] You can't do it going backwards,
cuz you have to lift your thumb to go
[SOUND] Because when you're doing thumb,
you're generally
only striking one direction, you don't use
the thumb in both directions, usually.
There are instances where you do, we'll
get into that later, but, yeah,
just practice doing this.
And then the press through.
And you can even practice doing melodies
with your thumb, or scales.
Now it might seem counterintuitive to
use the thumb on the high string, but
I do it quite a bit because of its power.
So you may wanna try just some basic
scales and basic melodies really focusing
on the thumb.
[SOUND] And you'll be really surprised at
how effective it is.
And here we're isolating the thumb,
I probably wouldn't play with this
normally but this is just to really
get you thinking in a way that you're
gonna be using the thumb a lot more than
you may think, particularly if you're
gonna do a lick that say,
goes from the high strings to the very
lowest strings, something like this.
You know, if I'm going,
if I start on the highest strings, [SOUND]
well my, my hand is here so
the thumb is really the best finger as
opposed to bringing these fingers down,
you can switch your whole hand position,
but sometimes you're just
gonna wanna use your thumb to go all the
way down these strings.
So practice using your thumb and
just know that as you continue on through
your exercises and
through your lessons, you're gonna be
using it a lot.
Make sure it's strong and you can, you can
play any string you want with the thumb.
A few thumb exercises for you and those
are gonna come in handy later.