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Do you ever purposely avoid muting sympathetic ringing?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CJK84, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I'm working on the Rod Stewart ballad Have I Told You Lately for my wedding/dance band - our female vocalist sings this one in C.

    I often pursue note-for-note duplication, but on this particular tune I've come up with my own line - it's been fun.

    Anyway, when practicing the song on my own I'm occassionally not muting certain "unwanted" sympathetic ringing (I'm trying to mute everything, but I don't always execute the muting well).

    But I've found that every once in a while the extra ringing (which is subdued) actually seems to sound good - like the overall sound is deepened by the addition of the quiet, diatonic drone tone.

    Do any of you actually avoid muting sympathetic ringing at times to take advantage of the enriched soundscape of a drone tone?
  2. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    yeah, i use droning in a lot of my bands songs, i <3 it.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Sure, it's just another tool in your toolbox.
  4. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    on a related note, tool uses it a lot too
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Yes. Some of the songs my band plays have simple repetitive basslines. I toggle the muting on and off to distinguish between choruses, verses and other sections. No one else in the band notices it, but it works.
  6. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    If it has a very strong rhythm and chord progression, I will follow that, otherwise I will interpret the piece as I hear it.
  7. what exactly is muting sympathetic ringing?
  8. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    When you play a note on the bass, you (normally) mute strings that ring with the note being played. This is called "Sympathetic", because they seem to ring with different tones and with varying volume depending on the note played. Ever played a note and had something in the room buzz? That's a sympathetic response to the note being played. I've got a lot of stuff that buzzes like a saw if I play a really ballsy A or C note in my practice area.

    Sympathetic ringing is something that luthiers (bass designers/builders) spend time trying to control or the whole bass would shudder constantly when notes are played. Controlling what ringing occurs anyway is a matter of personal taste. Some ringing may be atonal and make the desired note sound like crap. This can be good or bad in heavy music. The result in what is described in the original post is positive, because it deepens the note. The key to using this ring is knowing when to mute and when to let go, and that is rooted in the music and intention of the player.
  9. spill


    Jul 9, 2005
    +1 to that. I write both the guitar and bass parts for my band (I was a guitar player before taking up bass, and now play both equally). On one of our early songs, I found by accident how great sympathetic ringing can sound.

    The lead guitar drops out for 4 bars, and under a slow vocal I play a fairly fast line in A minor on the D and G strings between frets 14 and 19. I found if I stick a cigarette under the first fret of the E string (yeah, it looks cool :) ) before the song to stop it ringing, the sympathetic ringing of the A string sounds great in this bit.

    To keep it under control, i use my little finger as a 'mini palm mute' on the A string. It's a little tricky, but you can get some fantastic sounds.