1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

5-string muting

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by matt11, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. matt11

    matt11 Supporting Member

    May 19, 2006
    Hi, I've been playing a 5-string off and on for about six months now, and am gradually getting more comfortable with it. But I'm still having some difficulty keeping the strings I am not playing quiet (i.e. either the open b or the open e resonating with other strings is a problem). It's something I never have to think about at all on my 4-stringers because it's become intuitive. On the five, it's not really a problem live, but it's a bit frustrating when recording. At the moment I'm trying anchoring my thumb on the e when not playing it and angling it back onto the b to keep both quiet, or else thumb on b and third finger resting on e when not playing it (quite the stretch for index and second finger to g string). Any tips?
  2. VanillaO

    VanillaO Poop?

    Oct 14, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Mute with your fretting hand... or is that not an option?
  3. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Use the floating thumb technique. Keep the thumb floating on the strings your not playing. So like, when you play the A string, the thumb should be like resting on top of the E and B string, and then when you go to the D string, your thumb follows and now covers e,b, and the a string:) Does that make sense?^^
  4. Orco87


    Mar 26, 2000
    to be honest I sometimes have the same kind of difficulty... I find that on my right hand, I do my best to either do the floating thumb technique (muting the string above) or on w/e string I'm using the fingers with, I make sure I do my best to not hit the string above. I can work w/ the floating thumb better though....
  5. matt11

    matt11 Supporting Member

    May 19, 2006
    Thanks guys. I guess I just need to work on my floating thumb! It's so weird having to actrually work consciously on something you haven't had to think about at all for 26 or so years (i.e. when you first learned how to play)!
  6. its all about the floating thumb. i found it worked for me really well when i made the change from a 4 banger to a 6er.

  7. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    As an alternative to the floating thumb, you could try using a pick and palm muting.

    Yeah, yeah -- boooo pick and all of that -- but try it; you just might like the sound you get.
  8. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yup, anchor the thumb on the B and E-strings (or floating thumb, as mentioned above). I also often mute with my right hand pinky and 2nd middle finger as well as mute with my right hand.
  9. Matheau


    Nov 27, 2006
    Mute with your fretting hand. This is my preferred method, and the only times I can't use this is playing melody parts that are actually for guitar or piano on the first and second strings.

    Or you could play a four string bass and use an effect to drop the octave when you need the lower notes. Not sure how well this works on bass, but I've seen it work quite well on a guitar, so I assume it should work just as well on bass with a good effect.
  10. bburk


    Jul 24, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    +1 to the floating thumb advice. I switched to a 5er about 6 months ago and slowly started to recognize that the A and E strings were ringing WAY more than on my 4. For a while I worked on the 'movable anchor' becuase I thought it would be easier coming from the old 'plant on the pickup' style I was used to. But I found the 'movable anchor' really counter intuitive and difficult, especially trying to mute the A string while playing the G. My teacher had me using my thumb for the B and E and my pinky for the A... that's when I gave up on it and moved to the floating thumb.

    After only a few days with the floating thumb, I felt really comfortable. Planting on the pickup now feels weird and alien.

    Edit: I should mention that I can't think of any other muting method that will work on almost any bass (maybe not one of those crazy 13 stringers). Sure maybe you can work out how to mute with the fretting hand or movable anchor on a 5 like you did for a 4, but then someone hands you a 6 and you have to learn a new technique. Not so with the floating thumb, it's immediatly transferable.
  11. yg2


    Nov 20, 2006
    But how about Slapping? When you slap you can't put your thumb on the string because your thumb need to slap.So,Can't use floating thumb technique on Slapping?
  12. bburk


    Jul 24, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Floating thumb is a technique for fingerstlye playing. Slapping is a technique for, well... slapping. You can't use movable anchor or 'plant 'n pluck' with slapping either...

    They are mutually exclusive.

    However, I will go out on a limb and submit the idea that the had position for floating thumb is more similar to the hand positon for slapping (really all you gotta do is stick your thumb out) than any of the other techniques I've seen. Therefore, switching between the two is more seamless.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.