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Hair Tie Mute

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mark Wilson, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Hey all,

    I was watching a Victor Wooten video, don't remember which one, but he has a VERY thin hair tie to mute the strings. But what he does is slides it up to maybe the 5th fret sometimes. What's the effect of this?

  2. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    It chokes the sound of an accidentally-hit string... he likely slides it up the neck when he's playing in the upper registers, then will slide it down to the nut when he wants to play lower.
  3. thlayli


    May 8, 2005
    Cross Lanes, WV
    Yeah, what he said. Makes it so that you can play a little sloppy, but not sound quite so sloppy. I've got one on my five, but it's a little thicker than the ones Vic uses. Check it out:


    (Hope I've got my UBB tags right... nope, I don't, just click it)

    I mostly use it for slapping, because when I slap, it could actually be called "slopping" instead. Works wonders for those of us who accidentally hit a lot of unintended open-string ghost notes.
  4. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    :bawl: That's me....I'm soooooo sorry! Man, I suck at slapping, but I try and try anyway.
  5. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    I also helps if you practice tapping while unplugged. The hair tie mutes the "negative" side of the string so that you only hear the pitch representing the space between the tapped note and the bridge.
  6. Bennet Pullen

    Bennet Pullen

    Aug 31, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It will also reduce if not eliminate any sympathetic vibration of open strings. This only matters if you're using a technique that makes it diffecult to mute, like some slapping techniques or tapping. So even if you're not particularly sloppy it can clean up your sound big time.

    The hard part is finding the right size and thickness and texture of hair tie, and ones without the little metal part..... If you find a good source let me know. :)
  7. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    as Zensunday said- i have used one, but on a 6 string ( dont play 6 anymore ) to dampen the vibration of the lo b when i am playing in another register. It i stricky sliding over the headstock and tuners, so what i did was cut one, and then retie it in a knot once in place.
    Vic can always pull one of his dreads off his head in case his tie breaks.. :eyebrow:
  8. It's also especially useful when you're tapping to get rid of the string movement to the left of your fretting finger.

    Also good to get rid of unwanted resonance between the strings.
  9. BudWirth


    Jul 20, 2005
    Always willing to try something different. Gonna have to raid my wifes hair tie stash.
  10. I was messing around with the position of my scrunchy mute the other night and found that when you put it on the 5th fret it lets the 5th-fret harmonics ring out just like your were striking the harmonics yourself.

    I could see how this effect could be quite useful for some compositions.
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    That's why I have TWO of'em! I usually either put one right next to the nut - leaving the other up on the headstock, behind the nut - or I try to put one on the second fret, and one on the third; this almost completely mutes all the harmonics!

    For anyone in my part of the country, I got mine at Kohl's Department Store. They come in packs of five for like five bucks.

  12. 4x4Given


    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Sidebar - Last night, while practicing, I got the funniest look from wife when I looked at her and asked "Hey Baby Doll, you got any scrunchies? I need a black one." :D
  13. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    So no open string playing?
  14. I'm so not toasted on no open string playing.
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    When it's back very near the nut, you can play opens just fine, but when it's slid up to the second or third fret, then you can't play any notes that are fretted behind the tie.

    Remember, though - just a flick of the wrist knocks'em back to the nut, or wherever you want them.

  16. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    how the hell do you slide it up to to the second or third fret again then?
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm only missing the three lowest notes if I put the crunchy on the third fret. I play a five-string, so I rarely play down there anyway.

    ..and besides, I'm not saying I always run it up there - I only put twin crunchies up at second and third if I'm tapping, or playing something really tight-and-tricky!

    I do most-often have the one right up next to the nut, though - but like I said, it's a fiver, and I don't often play opens.

  18. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    I do it extremely lightly so that you can play open notes very cleanly like other notes. But when you play a note and the other strings vibrate (transfer of energy thru the bridge) the vibrations get muted. For tapping I have a thicker one behind the nut that a slide on that really does mute the open strings.