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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by sams, Mar 20, 2001.

  1. sams


    Mar 20, 2001
    East Orange, NJ
    How can I mute strings while I am slapping? I always tend to hit other strings or get that annoying ringing. Any left-hand exercise recommendations? Thanks
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Hey, welcome to Talk Bass!:D

    I'm certainly not the best slapper out there, but I do use left-handed muting techniques on some occasions, regardless of what right-hand technique I'm using.

    The best thing you can do is to practice covering the strings (with any fingers you aren't using to fret a particular note) so that you're essentially preventing those strings from vibrating.

    I try to use as many fingers as possible for this, since left-hand muting with only one finger can trigger a harmonic note, which you may not be hoping for.

    It comes with muscle strength and muscle memory, and over time, if you practice it, you'll eventually get it! Good luck! :D:D
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    RAM is right.
    Use your left hand fingers to mute the strings. Keep them fairly flat to mute more than one string at a time and at least two fingers to avoid unwanted harmonics.
    If your thumb keeps hitting adjacent strings, you have to work on your thumb technique. You must be able to hit a single string without hitting the neighbouring strings.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Hitting the other strings? As RAM said, it's all about time and practice to get your "aim" accurate. There are no tricks I know of. ("The bass...easy to play, difficult to master").

    As for the ringing, I assume you're referring to crosstalk, i.e., other strings resonating when the desired strings are plucked. I was having this problem with tapping and Gard turned me on to a Victor Wooten trick where you put a scrungy (sp?) on the bass head to dampen the offending strings. Otherwise, you can use your fretting hand like a guitaritst uses their's for a barre chord or you may find it more comfortable to dampen the offending strings with the meaty part of the palm on your slapping hand.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Good advice here. Developing accuracy is just a matter of practice. Because slapping is percussive, you really have to work on the interplay between both hands and muting is a huge part of it.

    Limiting your range of motion for your slapping hand may help. Where you wear the bass can be a factor in how easy or hard it'll be to slap.

    The same exercises you'd use for skipping strings (E to D, A to G, etc.) when playing fingerstyle (or with a pick) are really handy when it comes to hitting just the string you want.

    I mute with the side of my right palm while slapping, too. If you pop while you use this muting technique you can really choke or limit the output and come up with all kinds of cool (or weird;)) sounds, like popping a false harmonic.
  6. All good advice so far. I would just like to emphasize the value of practice.

    Good muting is like (insert common activity here.. I'll say riding a bike), it can be frustrating at first and might take a lot of thought.. but after enough practice you won't even have to think about it anymore.

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