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muting open strings... help!!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by panazza, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    I never understood what's the right technique to mute open strings.... when I play a E and I pass to the D string I usually put my right tumb away from the pickup on the E string to mute it. Then If I do the same thing on the A string then plucking a G I don't know how to mute the A string... using what I've heard called "floating thumb" I noticed that when I move my thumb from E to A the E string starts ringing...I mute it with my thumb when it is on the A but in the passing it makes some noise... I tried muting with my pinky but that doesn't seem to be very accurate... the string still plays some harmonics.... someone told me about using my left hand to mute lower strings but that kills my technique... help me I'm confused!:bawl: :bawl: :bawl:
  2. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I've never really had to think about it.

    Either I palm mute them, or for total muting I just stopped the string with my left hand. How does that mess up your tech? Just mute the string before moving on.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    There are several ways to do this, but you have to work on them until they become second nature. I used to be fascinated by local guys who could slap the right string every time(seemingly) and then when I watched them closer, it was their muting that made everything happen right, not their slapping accuracy.

    I asked one guy where he learned to mute like that, and he was like 'Huh?' I pointed his muting out to him, and he said that it just kind of happened, that he never thought about it. Once I got to that point, muting became so much easier.

    If you use floating thumb, when you mute the A string, make sure your thumb is laying across the E string. It mutes them both that way.

    Also, if you are plucking with your index and middle finger, lay your ring finger and your pinky across the strings you aren't playing. Or, like Polly said, use palm muting.

    Another nifty trick is to mute with your left hand.If you are playing a note with your middle finger, the index should be laying across the strings above it, and your middle and pinky should be laying across any strings not being played below it.

    That's the way my muting happens, especially when playing 5 and 6 string basses. Any open strings are being muted in at least two places, one with my left hand, and the other with my right, and often by more than one finger on each hand.

    I don't think about it, it just happens. But it takes a lot of practice for it to become second nature.
  4. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    well I don't understand how to use floating thumb because E string starts ringing when my thumb leaves it to go on the A string.... then... how could I palm mute strings when I play without a pick?? I could easily do that with a pick but...???? I don't understand it!!! thanx for help
  5. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    When I use my thumb, i have my thumb flat against the strings I'm not using. Such as playing on the A, I mute E with the thumb. Then I use my left hand to mute D and G. That usually works well for me.
  6. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    tmo33 that's the same thing I do but... imagine you are muting E and then you'll have to mute A. I put my thumb on the A but when my thumb leaves E the string starts ringing... when my thumb reaches the A string it also mutes E but there is a small fraction af second during which E rings while my thumb reaches A... I would like to know how to solve this problem... thanx for replying mates
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I mute with a combination of my available left hand fingers and my right pinky.
  8. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    Practice with a metronome, and play extremely slowly. Use a scale or phrase that moves across strings, and listen for the slightest imperfections. Sometimes you can mute a string by lifting a left finger slowly, but other times you'll need to use other fingers or your right hand. When you can play perfectly, then turn up the metronome and try again. Sometimes, as you play faster, the method that worked slower won't work any more, so you'll have to try something else. Don't even think about playing at "song" tempo - keep it very slow and absolutely perfect.
  9. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    well, I just slide my thum from the E to the A while keeping contact all the time. Or I use a combo of left and right hand to keep them muted
  10. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I use my ring and pinky fingers to mute as well. It takes a bit of getting used to when you first start using the technique (at least I thought so), but it quickly becomes second nature. So if I'm playing a note on the G string, I can mute the D string with my thumb, the A string with my ring finger, and the E string with my pinky. You can always vary the fingers and strings, depending on your bassline.
  11. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    thanks everyone for your help... now I know what to do! I am practicing a combination of floating thumb on E and A using also my pinky to mute strings... I don't like putting thumb on D but my teacher told me that playing on G you mute D with your plucking fingers that hit the lower string... to me that's ok. Thanks mates
  12. bassplayer7


    Jan 17, 2004
    you guys may rag on me for this, but I believe the only string that HAS to be played open is the low E.
  13. Wildside


    Jan 12, 2004
    theater of pain
    I was at a guitar clinic Michael Angelo did, and he's playing about 10 consecutive sweep arpeggios VERY quickly, using very high gain and each note is ringing out super clearly...so naturally everyone in the audience is wondering what the secret is...

    well, Mike explained that he uses "fret hand muting". Basically, when you fret a note , if your hand is positioned properly the tip of your finger should mute the string below and the joint of your finger should mute the string above. You have to place your finger in a very specific location for this to happen, but try it out playing the 5th fret A string, and see if you can get the E and D strings muted. It'll slow you down a lot at first, but will increase your potential maximum speed once you get the hang of it.
  14. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    this could happen on a guiitar where strings are so near... I often use my index to mute the lower string when I fret a note but it's not easy on some basses... anyway I found out that the way to go it's a combination of techniques... I am learnig to use right ring and pinky, along with floating thumb as well as some left hand techinques to mute strings... depending on basslines... I am a bit slow for now but my skill is increasing and I am learning to play very smooth and clean! thanks again for the advice
  15. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    I also discovered that to really mute a string you need 2 points... you can't simply use ring or pinky to stop a ringing string you also need your left hand to help...

    bassplayer7 you could be right but you need to mute strings anyway when you're not using them... and many riffs couldn't be played not using open strings
  16. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Technicaly thats true but when you're playing fast up aroud the 12th fret would you really want to have to jump back to say, D5 to play a G? no.
  17. one3rd


    Jul 10, 2002
    You could go to A10 or E15.
  18. bassplayer7


    Jan 17, 2004

    Thank you, ONE3RD
    Bill :hyper: