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. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Use the B as a thumb rest, works for me.
    Low8 and OogieWaWa like this.
  2. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    As soon as one buy's in to this line of thinking the easier it becomes.. ppl act like the bass has that "inverted bango neck' I swear..

    Ever See my guy MonoNeon on Youtube, he puts a sock on the headstock! yes a neon yellow ass sock!
    check him out, he is ultra funky.. plays bass lefty upside down like a true boss (probably can play better upside down that I can play normal).

    my other $0.02
    You dont really NEED a mute, and while they are nice they have a tendency to be a replacement for good technique.

    Floating thumb is what I recommend trying first. I think that Todd Johnson video has the tips on it. it works on a 4 too. I kind of came apon it by accident, but once I found out what it was called and such I really hunkered down and got it under my hands. time in the shed. Ill also pile on and say you just honestly need the time in the shed. the 5th string is a beast for sure, but it has every usable note just like the other 4 strings.. the extended range further up the neck is the beauty of the 5er to me, not just Eb -down to- open B. as I said in LBS's thread, the G note on the B string 8th fret is bliss, less stretch and more range!

    Stay low Amigo
    Les Fret and 5StringBlues like this.
  3. Why not make a one string 1/2” ish cube wedge of semi soft rubber (something like a thick pencil eraser) placed under the string next to the bridge? Cut it to fit snug under the string. It will not move unless you take it out.
  4. Remove the E string. Problem solved!
  5. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    Never thought of it, as muting unused strings is part of the gig. That said, a piece of foam under the B string seems about the best/cheapest/easiest thing to try
  6. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    As many have said,the floating thumb.
    Les Fret and DylanB like this.
  7. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
  8. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    I've been 5s only for about 3 or 4 years (4 string bass build in the works :bag:. For weight, during surgery recovery. I'm missing that "B".) This picture illustrates that I had trouble with muting for a while, also (Yes, I know they're not placed right. Straight off hanging stands for the pics :rolleyes:.)

    FIVES Heads.jpg

    I kept focusing on "floating thumb", doing scales and exercises, and now have it in pretty good shape. The wraps are gone! It's doable.
  9. 70spbase

    70spbase Fender/Ampeg for over 30 years!Portaflex #449 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Las Vegas
    I would just simply remove it ha ha. Just kidding but I think the best way to do it is palm muting
  10. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    How do you mute the E string when you're playing others? Same idea on the B.
    Schizo Sapiens likes this.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Your question is partially what drove me back to 4's. I hated having that B string there when I might have needed it in one or two songs a night, or not at all. I kept it and stayed in practice with it just in case I needed it, but I never needed it much, maybe once in 7 or 8 years. Fun to play at home, not as fun on gigs for me.

    But muting...floating picking hand thumb definitely.
  12. Nightman

    Nightman If it ain't low, it's got to go! Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    What Dirk said!
  13. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    When my palm or fingers won't do, I'm a big fan of regular ol' soft, flexible, packing foam (like from a molded insert you'd get with some sort of boxed electronics or other fragile item) placed under the strings in front of the bridge. It can easily be adjusted to increase/reduce the effect... works so incredibly well. See below.

    Screen Shot 2021-05-28 at 7.20.39 PM.png

    Last time I found foam I really liked, I cut it up into multiple mutes and put one in each of bags and cases. I know some folks like to use pieces of cheap kitchen sponges in the same fashion which I bet also does the trick.

    I owned a Nordy Mute for a very short while... ended up selling it as no matter what position I had it in, the notes were too choked off. Their foam is too dense. YMMV, but I'm 100% convinced you don't need a $40 item to mute your strings. :smug:

    Save your pennies and find free stuff you've already got around the house or office.

    Last edited: May 28, 2021
    Lesfunk likes this.
  14. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Using the floating thumb technique works really well. Basically the thumb follows your fingers across the strings as you pluck the notes. When you are plucking on the E string, your thumb is resting on the B string. When plucking on the A string the edge of your thumb is muting the B and E strings. As you are plucking on the D string, more of the edge of your thumb is muting the B, E, and A strings. And finally when you are plucking on the G string, almost the entire edge of your thumb from top to second knuckle is muting the B E A and D strings. Your thumb just follows along a string behind where you are plucking and mutes all of the lower strings that you are not playing.

    An easy way to do that without thinking about it is to raise and lower your elbow as you change the target string your plucking. That way you can always keep your thumb in the same spot and just move your hand up and down by raising or lowering your elbow. With your thumb following along at the same space from your plucking fingers, it naturally mutes those lower (pitch wise) strings as you move down to the higher pitch strings.
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
    gebass6 and Lesfunk like this.
  15. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
  16. digbass

    digbass Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    Floating thumb for sure. It gets easier with time and practice and after a while you don't think about it anymore, just becomes how you play. Not sure where your bass sits but you might need to adjust it so that your picking hand is more flat and parallel with the strings. You don't want your wrist cocked out at a right angle really ever, playing should be easy and relaxed and that will eventually cause wrist and finger issues.

    As for the "devices", I've never had good success. I've tried and always went back to find a better technique solution and learned more and improved my playing. Ultimately you find out what feels right and works for you.
  17. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If your muting technique was right you wouldn't have the problem. Work on improving muting not trying to get around it.

    You can mute the B string by putting your thumb on it, by putting your thumb on the E string and touching the B staring at the same time. Be more accurate and only hit the strings you want for the note you are playing. Your left hand can play an important part in muting. A couple of lessons with a good player will show you all the ways you need to resolve this problem.
    BassGuyFL and Les Fret like this.
  18. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    +1 for all the advice to put the 4 string bass away until you adapt completely and comfortably to the 5 string.

    +1 for the comments that a 5 is not a 4 with an extra string. If that's the way you are looking at it, then you are not doing it right.

    +1 for the comments that a 5 string bass is not just a few extra low notes. It is much more than that.

    +1 Floating thumb can work, but how many top players do you see using that? Not many, so standard muting (which is what you're probably using on your 4 string) works equally well if you adapt it correctly. Muting is a technique that anyone can get right if they think logically and put in the hours.
    Les Fret and gebass6 like this.
  19. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    If you use floating thumb properly you don’t need a fretwrap!
    Jack Deth likes this.
  20. OldSchoolFlats


    May 29, 2021
    I'm not pro, but played for fun off/on for 45 years. In the past, playing flats with a pick, I'd just palm mute. No issues.

    Getting more into fingers now, and slap, I too am struggling.

    For me though, the countless YouTube videos on muting seem to be doing the trick. Still working on it, but after a week, already getting the hang of it.

    Fret-wraps seem suitable more for tap, and to me personally, otherwise promote bad technique.
    Les Fret likes this.
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