Muting Open Strings

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by corwin3083, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. corwin3083


    Jul 19, 2003
    Say you're picking two open strings in succession, the high G first, and then the D. How do you mute the G string to avoid a muddy sound? I've tried avoiding open strings, as I was taught when I played the violin, but that's not as practical on the bass. :)

    What I'm really looking for is a number of options that I can experiment with. Anybody?

  2. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The thing I like (and dislike) about these threads is that it makes me analyze what I do. Anyway, three things come to mind.

    1) I use my fretting hand to mute the G string after playing it. Takes practice though.
    2) Use a pick. You can pick the G string on an upstroke and play the D on the downstroke. After playing the downstroke, let the pick rest on the G string to mute it. Repeat as necessary. You can do this with your thumb too, but I find it harder than with a pick.
    3) This one is a little harder to describe. I pluck the G string with my middle finger. Then as I pluck the D string with my index, I move my middle finger back into the "ready" position. As the middle finger moves back to ready position, I graze the G string to mute it. This take synchronization between your index and middle finger.

    Hope this helps.
  3. OldDawg


    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think this is one of those questions where "it depends" is the answer.

    For me it depends on what strings you're dealing with. Sometimes I mute with my right hand fingers, other times my left hand fingers are muting. If going low string to high string I will tend to use right hand. To add to the mess if I'm going from a high string jump down a couple strings I may just use the lower part of my finger by the palm of my hand to mute. Then sometime to slowly quiet a note I use my thumb. Oh for a whole other approach check out Gary Willis and how he mutes. He uses more a guitar approach using the palm of his hand, combined with right hand fingers. One of his instruction videos shows his method. He mutes A LOT.

    Bottom line get some music with lots of open strings and practice it slowly insuring notes are being cut off/muted properly. After awhile you start using what works for you. Then you will just do it subconsciously.
  4. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I use a form of palm muting. I use the pisiform bone (the one on the bottom of the palm that sticks out a little). I have become quite accurate with it and can do it on any string and stick pick another.

  5. I would mute the G string with my left hand.

    Simultaneously press on the G string lightly (LH) while plucking the D string (RH).

    It feels weird at first, but easy to get the hang of because they happen simultaneously.