Hitting the string above

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Loke, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Loke


    Oct 23, 2005
    Well, Im a complete newbie, and this place seems to deal with issues above my skill, but I'll ask this anyway.

    I've only been playing for a week and a friend of mine has been teaching me the basics, even though she's not much of a bassplayer. She tells me that its ok to hit the string above the one Im playing, if I keep my thumb on it. Now, that makes it pretty easy to play, but the thing is, I can hear the string above even though I keep my thumb on it, so maybe that isnt so good? Is that a good method to learn, or should I try to play in some other way?
  2. Welcome to Talkbass. I guess you play with a pick (sv. plektrum). No, I think you should try to hit only the string you want to play, using smaller movements. String muting can be done with the palm of your picking hand.
  3. mann


    Jul 2, 2005
    Now what makes you assume the guy plays with a pick?? (Jeg er fra Danmark og bruger også mest ordet plektrum eller plekter! ;) )

    When plucking with fingers (2 alternating would be the best to start on), the trick is to mute the strings above with your remaining fingers on the plucking hand, the ones below with your 4 fretting fingers, wich are naturally resting on the strings while playing. It's normal to rest your right hand thumb (assuming that you're right handed!) on one of the pickups while playing on the two (tonally) lowest strings or so. When you play the D- and G-string though, you might want to slip you thumb down to rest on the E-string, thus muting it as well.
    It is important to remember that even though a string is not "in danger" of being hit by any of your fingers, it HAS to be dampend because the resonance of other strings playing one of its partial tones (overtones/harmonics), through the wood, the air, the universe will make it vibrate and send sometimes very unwanted sounds out through the pickups!

    Though it all may seem pretty akward at first, it's something that has to be practiced, and soon you will find yourself muting strings without noticing at all! I promise...
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    When I play with my fingers, they always hit the string above the one I'm playing. You just have to mute it out with your left hand. Mann's got some good advice for you there.
  5. Yes, now that I think about it he probably meant that he is playing with his fingers. Your advice is very good. The most important point I think is to land on the string above when plucking a string. If that was the index finger then the middle finger, which was resting on the string above is lifted at the same time so that it is ready to play the next note, thus alternating fingers. I rest my thumb on a pickup and when I play the E string I simply land on my thumb.
  6. Actually, when playing the G string it is possible to rest your thumb on the A string, letting it touch also the E string, and thus muting both E and A strings. Fabulous! I had to tell you because I just learned this today and I like it.
  7. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    I rest my thumb on my E string, and use my ring finger to mute my A string.
  8. That is an alternative, but more difficult IMO.
  9. mann


    Jul 2, 2005
    Yes, at first it's difficult.. I play with 3 fingers (ring, middle and index) and had a hard time learning to mute the E and A string with my pinky. But I learned it, and now I don't have to move my thumb beyond the E string.
    Thinking about goíng 5 stringed though and have considered combining the two methods.