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harmonic sound when staccato-ing?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by phii, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. phii


    Dec 20, 2012
    Hanoi, Vietnam
    When I do staccatoes with my left hand fingers (press the fret and release immidiately, but finger still on the fret), I hear noisy harmonic sound as I release the fret. I started to doubt if I'm doing the staccato right or not, or it's just my bass.

    I tried to play the staccato on my teacher's Streamer, with a MEC single coil and Bartolini dual coil both on, I still hear the same harmonic sound. I asked teach about the problem, found him doing the same technique as I do. He simply solve the problem by killing the Bartolini.

    I wonder if there is a way to staccato without making harmonic sound in ANY pickup or bass?
  2. For staccato notes especially over a strong harmonics like the 5th, 7th or 12th frets I use both hands to mute, if I have played a note with my index finger (right hand) I follow with the middle finger and stop it on the string to kill the note, the middle finger is already in place for the next note so I play the next note with the middle finger and stop the string with the index finger, I alternate like that for short notes as well as muting with the left hand as you are doing.
    You did not mention what note you are playing or if you are playing fingers or pick?
    Turning off a pickup to silence that harmonic is not really solving the problem.
    Good luck with trying that, it can take a while to get used to.
  3. Sni77


    Aug 23, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    +1 to this. What also works if you have some freedom in your left hand positioning: you can fret with your ring finger and use the index and middle behind the fret to mute the harmonic. Works great if you combine it with the right hand method described by carldogs.
  4. +1 It takes getting used to, but if you can rest your other finger for a split milisecond on the string before you play it (as opposed to playing through the string), that can help muting it.


    If you're using upright bass-type positioning or chordal positioning on the left hand, you can use a barred index finger to mute stuff you might be playing with the middle, ring or pinky fingers. When you hit a note that you need to play with your index finger, you can mute the strings with the other fingers with a hammer-on sort of action, except you don't let the other finger hit the fretboard.

    The point of all of this is that to eliminate that harmonics sound, you want to try to mute the strings in two locations at the same time. It takes coordination, and I've literally done repetitive exercises until it felt natural. Getting a really good, quick staccato sound takes some practice. Until it really feels natural, it's good to run your exercises or your scales playing very staccato and incorporating the above suggestions.

    Once you get it good and down, it really starts to become second nature, and you don't even think about it at all while playing. Until then, practice staccato every now and then over different exercises.
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I have found myself using my fretting fingers to mute with. That is, I press the string down, pluck it, and then immediately let the string back up. But, sometimes that doesn't kill the harmonic completely, especially at the 5th, 7th, and 12th frets. Then, I have to use my plucking hand to mute. It's a tricky thing.

    [EDIT: Well, by dang, just played a little bit and found that in order to quell all harmonics I do pretty much what "carldogs" said. I never noticed before. I also do the other thing I mentioned sometimes.]
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