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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tom Crofts, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    This may sound silly but how do you mute a bass when fingerpicking? I can't really get the hang of doing it with my palm... I dunno even if that's how you're supposed to do it...

    Any info would be great.
  2. ArmedMagnum


    Apr 4, 2001
    i just use my pinky and put it across the strings, instead of my palm
  3. Most people do it with their palm... and some practice. I never got the hang of it and don't like like it anyway because I have to twist my wrist a little and I find it akward.

    The solution? I use my pinky... and some practice. I apply a slight pressure with my pinky about 1/2 inch from the bridge. Try different position until you get the right sound. It might hurt at the beginning because your pinky is not used to stay in place while the other fingers are moving. If it hurts, stop. I've been using this technique for some time and the only thing I still find difficult to do is to make the ring finger to work independantly from the pinky. Other than that, muting is just as easy as not muting.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    BassGimp, muting can be easy, the trick is to look at how you're trying to do it and understand why it's not working.

    The phyical position of the bass can play a crucial role in this. If you have the bass so low that your plucking hand is perpendicular (at a 90 degree angle) to the strings, it'll be tough.

    I've found that for playing fingerstyle with a palm mute, having my hand at least at a 45 degree angle works better, though I will change that as need be. I use this for plucking and fingerpicking with more than one finger. For single finger work I pluck almost with the side of my index finger (or with my thumb) and have my hand at near parallel with the strings. Since I still don't have a callous on the side of that finger I've noticed that while it works well with Nickel strings but is painful with Stainless Steel.

    I also mute with whatever fingers I'm not plucking with at the time. It just takes practice.

    So, the height you wear the bass is important, the angle you wear the bass is important and the angle you pluck and mute at is important, too.

    Hope that helps.
  5. I wear my bass above the hips and my fingers are perpendicular to the strings.
  6. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    To mute while fingerpicking, try these things:

    Try to play with your left hand flattened. Only a small amount of arch in the fingers. You won't be playing on the fingertips. This will allow you to mute using the left hand, especially the index finger which can rest across the strings when the other fingers are fretting notes.

    With the right hand, rest your thumb on the pickup when playing notes on the E and A strings. When you play on the E string, your left hand in muting the other 3 strings. When you play on the A string, the LH mutes D and G, while the E string is muted by the alternating fingers of the RH. (Index finger plucks the A, comes to rest on the E. Repeat with the middle finger).

    When you play on the D string, rest your thumb on the E string, muting it. The A string will be muted by the alternating fingers as described above.

    When you play on the G string, rest the thumb on the A string, with the edge of the thumb resting against the E string. The D string gets muted by the plucking fingers like above.
  7. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Thanks for all your help, I'm learning how to do it with my left hand, whichever finger i'm not using...

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