Watch the All Thumbs online guitar lesson by Jason Loughlin from 30 Country Jazz Licks You MUST Know
Thumbs' unorthodox way of playing guitar was enough to get him attention. Sometimes I think people were more fascinated with how he played rather than what he played, playing with the guitar laid on his lap like a dobro and fretted and played with his thumbs. He's a ripping technical player who never seemed to run out of ideas.
His first big gig was playing with Little Jimmy Dickens, the one who gave him the name Thumbs. Les Paul was a big fan of Thumb’s playing and his wife, Virginia Boyle’s, songwriting. He invited them to his home in New Jersey to record. In 1964, Thumbs joined Roger Miller’s outfit and played with him until 1972. It was Miller that got him signed to Smash records. He released two records for Smash and later released one for Capital.
We're going to look at a way Thumbs plays over a common jazz blues turnaround. He does a great job of shifting from using scales to targeting the chord tones. It ends with a bluesy lick over Bb. This is from the tune "Just Blues" from the All Thumbs record.