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Muting with a pic

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by catcauphonic, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    In my short electric bass career I've been focusing primarily on playing fingerstyle, & not because I have any lame prejudices against playing with a pick. I'm actually wanting to learn both techniques & recently dedicating more of my practice time to using one, but I'm having a difficult time with muting if I don't have my floating thumb & free range fingers of my right hand.

    Can any pickers out there share their techniques to help with right hand muting? :help:
  2. Look up anthony jackson and check out his palm mute with a pick.
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Palm mute when feasible or mute with the unused fingers on your left hand.
  4. I learned how to palm mute pretty well from my days of playing a bit of thrash metal guitar - I don't play too much with a pick, but when I do I prefer palm muting over any other muting technique - it allows you to really connect your picking hand to the instrument and you can get a heavy groove going.
  5. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I use the side of my hand to lay on the strings and pick like that. So the side of my hand is closer to the bridge to mute the strings and the pick is closer to the neck pickup (if you have one)
  6. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I've got dual EMGdc soapbars on my bass ... so I need to pick the sweet spot between them or else my pic scrapes them. Maybe they need to be lowered a few hairs?

    And I've read so many posts about palm muting potentially leading to trouble with carpal tunnel that I've been asking for a better way ... although perhaps it isn't a concern if you're mainly a fingers player.

    I try to use the tips of my fretting fingers to press down on the strings, but I would be able to use the left hand more for muting higher strings if I used my fingerpads, I suppose ... that way just laying the remaining fingers down flat. It's just the lower string(s) that I would need to palm mute then.

    Thanks for everybody's input :bassist:
  7. AtheistMuffin


    Dec 11, 2012
    I usually use the top of my pinky or ring finger. Like the part of your finger between the knuckle and fingernail. I just lay it there when I go to a higher string. Coming from a high string to a low string I just lay my whole finger across the board and hit the fret. This probably isn't what everyone does, but remember, what you can do best and feels comfortable is the best one for you.
  8. Warmuth


    Aug 6, 2012
    Just practice it different ways until it's natural. I use the same techniques I used on guitar and find it easier on bass. I palm mute, use the side of my hand, even my ring and pinky fingers if I need to.
    Practice , practice, I find fingerstyle exasperating but I don't even think about what I'm doing with a pick in my hand, it's just natural from using one for so long. Reverse is probably true for you.
  9. I struggled with that at first when I tried pick too. I started off finger style and play 95% of my music finger style. I'm not sure when I figured it out but I just did at one point. I don't really even think about it anymore. I guess what I do is roll my index finger over the fretboard for the strings furthest away from me, and I make sure when I move up the strings (from E to A to G, etc.) I unfret very lightly so that it doesn't turn into a pull-off. I'm sure if I recorded myself doing it it'd make more sense. I might even be doing a right hand mute from time to time.

    I guess what I'm saying is play with a pick very slowly at first focusing on making sure only the strings you want to vibrate are vibrating and then work it up to where you can play as fast as you want cleanly. You'll get to a point where you don't even know how you're doing it, you just are.
  10. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    This. I consider myself a very experienced pick player, and this is how I mute even when finger picking. It works really well for grooves and funk. Basically, you end the note with a dead note so to speak, but be careful around the harmonic areas (3rd,5th,7th,12th,etc. frets) where pulling away results in a harmonic. I usually quickly, but subtly pull my finger off and back simultaneously to the nut to keep it from happening.
  11. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Pretty much what I do, too, but I'm more back toward the bridge.
  12. I would think fingerstyle playing would be more likely to lead to Carpal tunnel syndrome due to the weird angle most players seem to keep their wrist at.
  13. Yeah, the harmonics can definitely wreck havoc on this technique. I just played around some harmonic notes and noticed that I actually reach around with one of the fingers on my left hand to touch the string somewhere else to avoid that. I didn't even realize I was doing that until just now :smug:
  14. Gmclachlan

    Gmclachlan Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    You might want to try this sitting down first, so the angle of hand comes from behind the bridge, but I use the side of my hand, very close to the bridge, nearly right over the saddles. If I move ever so slightly towards the bridge, the note will start to ring out as my hand moves over and past the saddles. If I move the other way, the muting starts to deaden the note too much. With a little practice, you find a balance point that sounds quite a bit like the old felt mutes, or alternatively, chunky metal guitar.