Muting Techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by harley_ou812, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. I have been playing bass for about 6-7 months now and I feel i am progressing at a good pace ( not as fast as i would like but none the less a good pace) I have been taking lessons from *gasp*a guitarist. But he has semed to be retty knowledged on the bass. But one ting that i havent been able to get from him is muting techiques and advantages. I have read on here, other discussion forms and in BP. how you ned to be able to mute all strings you dont play to eliminate sympathetic (sp?) vibrations. But from my 13 years as a drummer tells me that any sympathetic vibrations would be the same note and create a fuller sound, am i wrong on this? Also how do you mute the other strings in order to stop this from happening.

    At first i thought it was in case you accidently hit another string and i didnt wory about it cause believe it or nnot i didnt do that. any help on this will be greatly appreciated

    Thank you
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Muting concepts are pretty elementary. After you pluck a string, follow through so that the plucking finger comes to rest on the string below to stop it from ringing sympathetically. If higher strings are ringing, you can use whatever fingers are free to mute those (either right or left hand). Or lay a left hand finger flat against those strings to keep them quiet. If you're playing with a pick, muting is a little harder. You can palm mute the strings with the side of your right hand like a guitarist, but since this will affect the tone of the string you're playing, it's not an optimal solution.

    I think bass needs to be played cleanly in order to sound good, so muting is an important aspect of technique. BTW, I thought drummers were always trying to eliminate the resonances/sympathetic vibrations in their kits, which is why they're always stuffing their bass drums with something or other.
  3. I do already rest against the lower string i also mute my E or B string with my thumb when i am playing higher strings and playing fingerstyle. I don't apear to be getting symathetic vibrations from my higher strings so maybe thas why i havent seen why i need to mute them.. I will work on this from now on . Thanks for the info.

    Like i said i have played drums for about 13 years and i have stuffed my bass with pillows already not to reduce syathetic vibration but to eliminate it from being boomy. Typically rock drummers do this if yo look at Jazz drummers they dont it is a matter of style of the music.
  4. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    There are several things you can do. First off stuff a piece of foam rubber under your strings near the bridge. You dont want it in there too tight. You should be able to sound harmonics with the mute in place.

    Secondly, check out the article by Adam Nitti about right hand technique that appeared about three months ago in Bass Player and is partially on the web here: