Foam muting and tuning

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BD Jones, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. BD Jones

    BD Jones

    Jul 22, 2016
    Texas
    I've very rarely used a foam or any other sort of mute while playing, only palm muting. I've been experimenting more with it lately, however I am running into a problem with tuning. No matter what mute I use - no matter what the thickness or density - the tuning goes sharp. It ends up being 10 to 25 cents sharp (depending on the density and the string). I've used weather stripping, dense foam, soft foam, sponges, chamois, etc. I even picked up a Fump (which I don't like because I feel it dampens the strings too much, with almost no sustain on the E string). My palm muting technique is fine (been doing it for 30 years), but since I use it so much these days, I figured I'd just use a mute to get the sound I want. But, I don't want to sacrifice tuning. I think the only thing I haven't tried is the BassMute because it cost too much.

    Any advice?
     
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Retune?
     
  3. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Chances are your palm muting makes your bass go just as sharp as the foam mute does and it hasn't bothered you yet. Either figure out a way to position the foam so it doesn't push up the strings so much (try cutting slits into the foam so it surrounds the strings, rather than pushing them in one direction), or retune after you place the mute, or just live with the tiny amount of sharpness.
     
    SLO Surfer, Badwater and Mister Boh like this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I'll send you a dime and a quarter.:)
     
  5. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    He's 10 to 25 cents sharp. He should be sending you a dime and a quarter.
     
    wombolombo likes this.
  6. I've used flats and foam for years. No problem here. I use the foam rubber from a foam rubber paint brush. Doubled and cut to size then scored with a razor so the strings fit down into the foam.

    Offered for what it is worth.
     
    smitty5498 likes this.
  7. BD Jones

    BD Jones

    Jul 22, 2016
    Texas
    I'll admit, I haven't tried foam from a paint brush, but I'm using flats and have scored slots for the strings on all the other foam I have used and it is still sharp. The worst is the Fump. That thing makes it 25 cents or more sharp. I think it is the added weight on the strings. I would simply tune the bass to the use the foam, but I don't mute every song. Kind of a pain to retune just for a few tunes.
     
    Badwater likes this.
  8. I use foam all the time on my P with flats, so I have no problem. I think the only option for you is to bite the bullet and get the expensive Bassmute. Or stick with palm muting.
     
    Badwater likes this.
  9. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    10 to 15 cents is not much to worry about. I often fret more than that amount unintentionally when I'm digging in. And sometimes bend a note 20 cents to accent the note and make it stand out from the guitar melody if needed.
     
  10. flatwound62p

    flatwound62p

    Apr 24, 2017
    Australia
    How far the foam is from the bridge makes a bigger difference to tuning. There's more string tension near the bridge so the strings don't stretch and go so sharp. I find the further I get away from the bridge the more of an issue I have with tuning.
    It's a balancing act and a bit of compromise imo.
    Using a mute while recording I'll tune to proper pitch. Live playing I never notice the slight difference and just suck it up.
    There's my 25# cents worth ☺
     
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  11. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Tension is the amount of pull the tuner has to exert to bring the string to pitch.

    There is the exact same amount of it at every point on the string from where it leaves the tuning post to where it ties into the ball end.
     
  12. flatwound62p

    flatwound62p

    Apr 24, 2017
    Australia
    Oh, wrong word then obviously. What do we call the "thing" that makes strings feel floppier and have more give if you play up near the neck vs near the bridge?
     
  13. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Stiffness, compliance or flexibility.
     
  14. flatwound62p

    flatwound62p

    Apr 24, 2017
    Australia
    If you don't have a bridge cover this won't help but it's how I run mine. There's weather stripping on the underside of the bridge cover and a smallish piece of foam under the strings that I take in or out as needed.
    20180509_142116.jpg

    20180509_142108.jpg 20180509_142136.jpg
     
  15. Not to mention the fact that your intonation is F'ed up by sticking stuff under the strings, even if it was in tune. Having said that, I have tried it, but it didn't do a whole lot for me. Even when I was playing blues gigs, etc, all the time, nobody cared enough to say I needed to foam the strings. As a concept, I don't think it's that important anymore. Palm muting is a more modern vibe.