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Jaco's left handed muting?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mebusdriver, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Just got done reading the Jaco book. And all through out a technique that he used was mention. Something about him muting the strings with his left hand to get those precise real sharp 8th and 16th notes. I have no idea what they're talking about. Can anyone help? :help:
  2. It has to do with stopping the motion (sound) of the string. It can be done with either hand, which ever is most convinient. In Jaco's case, he probably muted the string right after he played it to get his signature staccato sound. Every bass player eventually needs to master this technique. When you first start learning it, your music will probably sound more rough, but eventually it will be natural for you. I use left and right hand muting almost every time I play a note, and it produces really clean lines. Also, in some cases, the absence of a note is more effective than any note. That may be a strange concept for some people, but you will discover it some day.

    One thing about muting is that you have to mute smart so as not to hit any unwanted harmonics.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Usually it's easiest to mute the string with two fingers or slide your finger slightly (1/2 a cm) across the string to kill any harmonics and vibrations.
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Great reply.

    If you're over a harmonic fret (3, 4, 5, 7, etc.), use two fingers when you mute. The added mass touching the string will choke the harmonic right off.
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I've been using that technique a lot. I actually use both hands. It kind of comes naturally to me. I've muted the strings from day 1, I just never knew it was called muting ;)
  6. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    I think Rocco's left hand muting is better
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    +1 :D
  8. Well I know how to mute a string. I'm talking about playing incredibly fast sixteenth notes and muting at the same time. The real short staccato notes like you mentioned. With what hand is that done. Think you could give me a play by play on maybe playing a line or something? :meh:
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It's about synchronising what you're doing with your two hands. If you experiment with the fretting hand, you'll find that there is a very fine line between pressing enough for the note to ring out and relaxing enough to choke it off. Press down with the fretting hand, pluck with the other hand then relax the fretting hand; voila - a short, clearly defined note.

    At the extreme, it's just like playing the part purely with the fretting hand - the plucking hand is just there to make the string move more, giving a higher volume and clearer tone.

  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm finding more and more spots to do that now days - muting the strings with the left hand and doing the 'bipipipbaabipipip' by hammering with the right.

    Yes, I do consider that to look pretty impressive, but I honestly like that tone!

  11. I find the right hand to be even more important for playing sticatto notes...Jaco and Rocco placed their right hand plucking fingers just below the bridge-where the string dos'nt
    vibrate as much-thus more control.
  12. I get it.
  13. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    When playing really staccato stuff, I use my right hand to mute.