Any recommendations on how to mute the b string in a 5 string bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Daniel Panus, May 27, 2021.

  1. Daniel Panus

    Daniel Panus

    Oct 17, 2018
    I, like many bass players primarily play 5 string basses and enjoy the added range it gives. But there are times in which the added b string is not necessary and just gets in the way, having to mute it and all.

    I've been trying to find ways to have the b string muted so that I don't have manually mute it when I'm only playing the top 4 strings. Here are the things I've tried so far: Simply de-tuning the b string doesn't work because it messes up the tension of the neck and creates fret buzz. I've tried using a capo to dampen the b string but it just doesn't get in the right position to do that. Of course I can just bring a second bass to gigs, but it would be much easier if I only had to bring the one.

    Any Thoughts?

    Thanks, Dan
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  2. Plucking hand:
    Tip of thumb.
    Base of thumb.

    Fretting hand:
    Lightly Resting fingers over the strings.
  3. Daniel Panus

    Daniel Panus

    Oct 17, 2018
    I was thinking more so of an external device that does the muting for you, like a fret wrap but one that only mutes the b string
  4. Daniel Panus

    Daniel Panus

    Oct 17, 2018
    Edit: I'm specifically looking for an external device that does the muting for you, like a fret wrap that only mutes the b string instead of all of them.
  5. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Floating thumb technique
    Otherwise, remove the B string. You’ll be all set!

    Piece of foam under the B string. It’ll cost $.50
    Or a hair tie scrunchie.
    I actually used one for a while before I learned how to handle B string properly
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
    Joebone, CJC6, Rev12_11 and 11 others like this.
  6. Easier just to use your thumbs for muting and does not require ANY effort if you want to go for that low B C Db D or Eb.
    LowActionHero and krimo like this.
  7. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    floating thumb and a gruv gear fretwrap
    RichSnyder, Selios, lomo and 3 others like this.
  8. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    The fret wrap is utterly useless except for tapping. It only mutes open strings, and blocks access to the first fret. If you have it far enough back to not block the first fret, it does absolutely nothing. Utterly useless.

    The only thing you can do is play a four string. The fifth string really does just get in the way. You never use the B string enough to need one.
  9. Blueinred

    Blueinred 21st century Genz-Benz guy Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2009
    Greater Cincy
    I would go to your local hardware store and look for a thick enough rubber washer to slide under the B string next to the bridge. Buy a handful of them for a couple bucks and see if that doesn't silence it. Switch it in or out depending on the song. Very dense foam may work well, too.
    cool breeze likes this.
  10. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Why would you only want to mute the B string? Any wrap you use at the headstock will only mute (or, to be more precise, dampen) the open strings that you are not fretting at any given time.

    I've been playing with first fret wraps on mine and I'm not unhappy with it so far. For songs that require sustain on an open string, I can push the wrap back, but I can leave it at the first fret most of the time and get most of what I want without worrying as much about muting. Makes me a happy player.
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  11. ComeHomeShane

    ComeHomeShane Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2016
    Southern California
    I'm a recent convert to 5 strings, figuring out muting has been the biggest challenge. I've always said that muting is different for everyone. The same is true for 5s. While I'm no pro, I've found what helps me the most is doing scales or arpeggios across the entire board really slowly while letting me hands discover their natural muting tendencies. I find myself using my left hand thumb and right hand side of my pinky more often.
  12. Ihaveshingles


    Dec 24, 2018
    Agreed, I spent $40 on a 3 pack to find out a 1$ hair tie works better than the wraps, plus the Velcro doesn’t stick to the material very well at all
    Obese Chess and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  13. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Oh, don't spend money on some product someone made. Just use a hair tie, a shoestring, or a headband tied around the neck so it's tight enough to do the job. The advantage of the headband or shoestring is that you can adjust the tension to create just the amount of dampening you need.
  14. Quit using the B string for just the low notes , move your positioning up the neck, and play the B string.

    B strings are not there just for the 5 extra low notes.
  15. Ihaveshingles


    Dec 24, 2018
    Yes if you read my comment you will see that I found the hair tie to be superior , it is what I used for years but then I thought hey maybe I’ll get something that’s adjustable like fret wrap but then I realized the wrap was crap
    LBS-bass likes this.
  16. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Lemme ask you this... On a 4 string, how do you mute the E string if you’re playing on the G?
  17. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Reading this, I cannot help to translate it in my head to "I have a five string but don't want to bother with learning to play it properly so I'm looking for a device that let's me skip that".

    That device does exist: It's a six string bass. Get one of those and learn to play and mute on it. Once that has settled in, go back to your 5 and muting will be a breeze.
  18. If you have good technique on the 4, it will transfer. Just play the 5 a lot, even exclusively. It’s not really any different from muting the E on a 4. Floating thumb really does work well. Also focus on using the B instead of muting it. There’s lots of music between the 5th and 12th fret
  19. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009

    This video was the most helpful for me when I was moving from 4 to 5 strings. It took me about a month of practice to adapt my technique as I use to rest my forearm on the bass. Not anymore.

    Good Luck!
  20. You are the mute, there are no devices to do this for you.

    As a matter of a fact, it's your job. :)
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

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