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Foam mutes and intonation problems

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fourstringdrums, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I've been using a foam mute on my Precision since I got it, but I've noticed that it messes with the intonation, making everything a bit sharp. I don't use it all the time as I like to take it out for slapping etc.. so I don't want to have to re-adjust the intonation every time.

    How does everyone else handle this? Do you just deal with the notes being slightly off? I was toying with the idea of putting a bridge cover on the bass so I could wedge foam in there and it wouldn't affect anything, but that's a bit drastic. I also looked at www.bassmute.com but I don't want to adhere something to the bass either. Plus I don't know how much of a hassle ordering from the Netherlands would be. I did try cutting slots in the foam so that it forms around the string instead of wedging under. I also tried cutting pieces of foam to put in between E & A, A & D, & D & G strings but that didn't give the same results as wedging a big piece under the strings.

    Any suggestions?
  2. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    Carol Kaye has a good explanation of muting on her web site.

    Bottom line:
    If the muting is causing your intonation to go sharp, it's too much muting. The idea of muting is to reduce undesirable overtones, not to reduce sustain (although a little reduction is perhaps inevitable). The muting material should not apply a lot of pressure to the string, and should not extend far at all from the bridge saddle.
  3. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Good point. I was trying thinner mutes but it didn't produce the desired results. I'll have to experiment I guess.
  4. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The way I would handle it is: 1) set up your P to be correct with your mute installed. 2) switch to a different bass for your slapping or non-muted stuff.
  5. Yeah or you could also try palm muting. That's where you rest your palm over the strings while you play. Gives you the same result, plus you can change your sound on the fly. However, it tends to restrict movement a bit and is more difficult to do if you're not using a pick.

    Definately try a smaller mute though if it's changing your intonation. Or, like suggested, set up your bass accordingly.