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How to stop string resonance when muted

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Alex94911, Jan 3, 2018.


  1. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    Whenever I mute notes on my bass my strings still resonate, its like doing harmonics except you don't mean to, most strings do a short ring whilst others long and there is probably about 14 frets that just carry on playing the note altogether. I'm not sure what the issue is? it occurs when muting with my left hand (I am doing the proper muting technique) no matter how much pressure I put on the strings it still resonates, so Im not sure how i can fix the issue :/ I have an Ibanez sr405eqm
     
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Welcome to the forums Alex! :)

    Probably this is happening because you are muting with only one single finger at a "harmonic node" like frets 4, 5, 7, etc.

    Try muting the string at two (or more) different points. You could use two fingers on your left hand, for example, or one finger on your left hand plus a thumb or finger on your right hand. And make sure you are NOT muting at a harmonic node, i.e. it's better to mute in between the frets than directly on top of a fret where a harmonic occurs.

    I've discovered that my muting technique sounds the best when I keep both hands very loose and relaxed. My left hand, in particular, is always resting gently on the unplayed strings. Really there is no such thing as "over-muting" in my opinion. The goal is for your bass not to make any unwanted sounds, except the specific sounds you are trying to make on purpose!
     
  3. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    Thankyou! I'll give it a go, I had no idea about this harmonic node stuff :). I do play with pointed fingers as apposed to playing with flat fingers so do you think playing with flat fingers would help muting with more than one finger?, it may also help my hand be more relaxed too? sorry, I don't know the technical term for this stuff :) As for right hand technique I do use floating thumb as I play a 5 string but I am trying to learn how to play by resting a finger on each fret IE: thumb on B pinkie on E and ring finger on A as it seems to work better for getting that pesky b string under control, once I get better at that I may help also :) appreciate the help and fast response too!

    Whilst we are on the topic of muting, if you don't mind, do you have any techniques for muting a 5 string whilst slapping, I find that I can't play riffs that I used to on a 4, purely due to the slight ringings that ruin it, and I can't seem to find anything about it.
     
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm not really a 5-string player, so I'll let someone else answer that question. :)

    I like to go on YouTube and study videos of pro players. That's how I learn a lot of my technique: by watching how the best players actually perform on stage. There is a video by Alexis Sklarevski called "The Slap Bass Program" that I think would really help clean up your slap playing. He has a really nice left-hand muting technique. It's up on YouTube!
     
  5. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2016
    I play 5s for gigs, and 4s for slap fun at home. I can't slap on a 5. And while I don't slap like Marcus Miller, I also don't see the need to slap on a 5, unless you are tuned E,A,D,G,C. (But I'm sure you'll find others that will contradict me.)

    For fingerstyle, flat fretting fingers are used to mute the upper notes. I use a cross fixed/floating thumb technique on my plucking hand to mute the low strings. And will either fix my thumb on the pickup (if I'm playing the B string in the line), or on the B string (if not playing the B string). I sometimes even rest the thumb on E+B string (playing high lines).

    For slap on a 5, I'd consider getting a string mute. Or practicing really really hard on your 5 string to work out the mechanics. But again, I wonder why anyone would want to slap the notes Eb down to low B. I cringe thinking about it. If you aren't slapping those notes, get a 4 string for slap.
     
  6. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    ill give that one a watch, tbh I never really thought of trying to watch pro players haha, but now that you mention it it sounds like a genius Idea :D ps. I put into practice your previous comment and my god, it all sounds so much better now!!!
     
  7. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    I don't actually have a 4 string, I sold that and my previous crappy 5 string to get the Ibanez sr405eqm which sounds beautiful! so unfortunately I have to learn to slap on a 5 string and do it live as well haha. I'm 17 so I can't go down to the local shop and pick up a nice 4 string just to slap on unfortunately :) I do play songs from mudvayne, so it helps to have the B string for the both for slap and finger picking so I can Get a richer sound than if I was to drop down to drop b. ill give those hybrid right/left hand muting technique a go too, see what works best <3
     
    Basstards likes this.
  8. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2016
    Making sure you know what I meant. Fret wrap would probably help.

    Gruv Gear FretWraps Single Pack - Medium Black
     
  9. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    If the strings you're trying to mute are still making noise then you're not muting correctly.
    Don't use a fret wrap or other mechanical crutch to replace good technique.

    Generally speaking your left hand mutes the strings that are thinner than the one you're playing, and your right hand mutes the ones thicker than the one you're playing.
    But all fingers of both hands are fair game for muting any string at any time.
    Remember that "proper" technique is measured by effectiveness, not what you think looks right.
     
    geddeeee likes this.
  10. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Try flat finger approach while slapping on a 5 string.
     
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Harmonic resonance can happen if the pickups are not set to the correct height, or the bridge is not set correct....it produces a 'wolf tone'...similar to a wolf note on a stringed instrument.
    Check the instrument is set up correct then review technique as others have advised, and if no improvement happens try using a product, or pedal such as a compressor.
     
  12. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    You definitively not mute like you should if you have some note resonate.

    muting is a job for both hands
     
  13. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    no other bass I have used does this apart from my Ibanez so thats why I'm so confused, my technique I have carried over is the same. I've applied what some of the other guys have said in the feed about harmonic nodes and that seems to have solved the issue for the most part.
     
  14. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    ah sorry, I do actually have a fret wrap, it doesn't seem to help much with the harmonics but is useful for slapping
     
    Basstards likes this.
  15. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    I did setup my bass by myself so I may have done something wrong, I adjusted the truss rod for a flat neck, lowers my pickup height and my bridge height so I could get a low action. Is there a specific height the pickups must be to avoid this "wold tone"? ty
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  16. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    the issue never occurred on any other basses I've played thats why I'm a bit confused, I know my technique is good as I have done my grade 8, it seems to only be an issue with this bass. the stuff about harmonic nodes from this thread has worked for me for the most part
     
  17. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I would say set up till you eliminate the problem.

    To many variables from string composition to pickup power out put, even to the design and set up of the bass to say if there is an exact height or position.
    A wolf tone is a resonance, a bit like an overtone/ring on a drum head, so if you have the resonance there maybe try touching different parts of the bass to eliminate any loose fittings such as tuners, scratchpad or bridge?

    I once had a Hofner that created a wolf tone, it turned out it was the pickup touching the scratch plate which would resonate it on certain notes (see notes as frequencies) and it would vibrate the scratch plate via the pick up cover.
    All i did was widen the gap between the pickup and the cover, and put a few extra screw in the scratchpad to fix it down better...issue cured.

    Good luck sorting it out.
     
  18. Alex94911

    Alex94911

    Jan 3, 2018
    cheers, time to get experimenting!
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  19. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    When I have brand new roundwound strings I get the same resonance even when muting the strings. Thus, I force myself to use a lighter attack, and finesse the mute in time with the next note. After about 2 to 3 weeks the strings are broken in and I can resort to my regular attack and not need to focus much on the mute.
     

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