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Muting 'Exercises'?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mike O'Neill, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Hey there, I'm a new bassist (My fourth day of having the instrument), although not an entire novice musically (Did once play the tuba - Surprisingly helpful when it comes to reading the bass clef :D ). I really need to practice my muting. Are there any specific exercises you can do either on or off the bass to help with muting?

    And on a seperate note, what should I be practicing as a complete novice on Bass? At the moment I'm doing basic scales and desperately trying to build up stamina in my plucking hand for rhythym and timing. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. String crossing exercises are great for practicing muting.
  3. Thanks for the reply, I'll look some up. :)

    At the moment I'm practicing a simple Blues number from the Tutorial CD/Book that came with my Bass. I've found that the Chord Progressions are good for practicing muting.

    Another unrelated question: how can you build up strength in your little finger? I've tried practicing a bassline where you have to hold down the D and G string together, but when I pluck them I get a lot of 'rattle' from them.

    Any help appreciated. :D
  4. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    I don't think I've ever practiced muting. It's just something I learned to do while playing.

    Muting has three purposes: 1) to control the duration of notes, 2) to prevent sympathetic or unintended vibrations, and 3) to prevent unwanted harmonics.

    Muting can be done with both hands.

    Unless you CAN find some muting exercises described somewhere, my advice is simply to incorporate it while doing your usual practice/playing regimen.
  5. Well I have noticed that after a few days of playing I'm beginning to mute the E string with my thumb. I'll probably mute the other strings with my left hand.

    Thanks for the advice. :)
  6. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    The best way to get better at what you're doing is to just keep doing it, but be sure you're doing it right. Bad habits now will be harder to break later. There is a ton of info on the net about technique. (Do a search for "Carol Kaye". The amount of info on her site will make your head spin.)

    As for little finger strength, it's like strengthening any other part of your body. Just keep working at it and it will improve.

    Be sure you have a solid foundation in the fundamentals of bass playing - timing and playing clean notes - before you get too side-tracked by the flashy stuff. Practicing simple things can be boring as hell, but that foundation of good technique will do wonders for you in the long run.

    Walking blues lines are a good way to practice movement. Concentrate on playing evenly and cleanly on each note - even if you have to slow it WAAAAYYYY down. Another thing to work on is playing steady 4th-note and 8th-note tempos. Being able to pump out steady and even root notes is a critical skill. Practicing with a metronome will tell you immeditely when you're off tempo.

    You will have times of fantastic improvement and times where you feel stuck in a rut. Above all else, keep at it and have fun.
  7. Hey there, thanks for the reply. :)

    Yeah, at the moment I'm keeping it real simple. The blues piece I'm practicing is basically 8th notes with chord changes. My previous experience with music means I can keep fairly good time, but then again there's always room for improvement. :bassist:
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    If you're just starting out, might as well check out Gary Willis' site. gary has some excellent info on muting. www.garywillis.com

    Learning to mute is easily one of the most overlooked, most underrated and most important aspects of playing. Might as well start off right;)

    For example, people know that muting can stop a string from vibrating. What they don't realize is how much fun you can have with "how" you release the note. It works much like an effect.... just one you can use whenever you feel like it... instantly.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Finger per fret-
    Index @the 9th fret
    Middle @the 1oth fret
    Ring @the 11th fret
    Pinky @the 12th fret

    Move ONLY the pinky up/down...everything else stays stationary. Use your fretting hand to hold the other 3 fingers down(I'm assuming you will need to 'cheat'). ;)

    Now try moving/toggling between the Pinky & Index fingers (Middle & Ring remain stationary).
    Now toggle between the Pinky & Middle (Index & Ring remain stationary).
    Now toggle between the Pinky & Ring (Index & Middle remain stationary).

    Try this on the "G", then the "D", then the "A", & then the "E".
    Or try it on adjacent strings(e.g. Index & Middle on the "A" w/ Ring & Pinky on the "G" or "E", etc).

    It will be frustrating at first...give it a week of solid effort; eventually you can do this sorta thing while watching the NFL on TV.
    ...did I say that out loud?

  10. Thanks for the exercises, they should really help! :D
  11. Theres a book out called MUTED GROOVES by J Pres it has exercises that help in that area as well as a bit of reading esp. if u cover up the TAB :D or else listen to some Tower of Power or Jaco
  12. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    I'm learning how to mute right now and this is the excercise im doing. This excercise will also teach you the box shape. Mute the open strings when you're playing the fretted notes and vice versa. I'm gonna appologize beforehand if the tab looks like crap, im new to playing bass too.




  13. Almost ten years on since this was posted, but for those still looking here is a good link: http://www.studybass.com/lessons/bass-technique/open-string-muting/