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Beginner Question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by -executor-, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. I just got a bass guitar and I have a very basic question. When I play the bass and I am switching to a different string do I stop the last string I was playing or let it keep vibrating as I am playing the other string?
  2. Usually you mute/stop the previous string
  3. Isn't that called damping or something?
    I wasn't sure because it didn't tell me to do that in the book I am using and I don't think they do that on electric guitars.
    Is there a special symbol in tabs that tell you when to stop the other string or is it just implied when moving to another string?
  4. i would say it's definitely implied to mute the string once done playing it, other wise you'll end up with all of your strings vibrating and you wound be able to here any particular notes.

    EDIT: of course, unless a certain piece of music tells you to leave a string ring, then you let it ring out.
  5. Is it still reasonably possible to do this when playing more complicated music?
    I have looked at some things and it seems like you only do this when the tab tells you to do so with an X. Is this correct?
    If not what does the X stand for?
    I know I sound repetive but I am just starting out and I want to do things right.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Your question doesn't make clear if you actually know how to damp the string you have just plucked. I'll tell you how, but if you already know excuse my explanation of what is obvious to you.

    The damping technique I was taught after two years of playing without knowing how is the so-called "rest stroke" in which one plucking finger rests briefly and lightly above the string just plucked. If you pluck the A-string, your finger passes over the A-string when you pluck it but then touches very lightly against the E-string in the follow threw from that pluck.

    In order to master this technique I had to give up the trick Billy Sheehan advocates of keeping the right thumb fixed at some point on the bass as an anchor, so to speak, while you pluck your strings. This is fingerstyle, of course.

    I had to adapt the "floating" style in which the thumb rests lightly on the E or A-string to alow your plucking fingers to reach the other strings.. Thus if you have just plucked the E-string, but are moving to the A-string, your thumb would rest lightly on the E-string. Resting the thumb also acts as a damper of the string on which you are resting your thumb. Remember, keep it light.

    I wish I could demonstrate the rest stroke and moving thumb techniques for you because it is hard to describe this way in writing. It takes awhile to get used to these techniques without being slowed down by them, but then they do become second nature.

    It is important to become adept at damping your ringing strings because when you play at high volume as on a stage, the ringing is very apparent amd magnified.
  7. I guess the main question I am asking is:
    Is there ever an occassion when you switch to a different string and the last string you played is not stopped when the other one starts?(I am assuming the tab does not specifically tell you to stop the string or specifically tell you to let it keep ringing)
  8. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    TAB does not normally tell you anything about the length of a note. Just the fret position it's played at. ;)

    As for your main question, it is very, very rare that you leave a note ringing when you play another. ;)

    Good luck and have fun! :bassist: