Newbie needs help with raking/damping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tobodestroyer, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. tobodestroyer

    tobodestroyer Guest

    Nov 11, 2005
    Essex, UK

    I've got myself a bass and I'm learning to play. I am a professional french horn player so reading/musicianship not a problem - I just need to work on technique.

    I'm slowly getting it together with raking but I find it difficult to damp the sound of the higher (pitched) string when raking to the lower strings. What is the correct technique of damping the strings when raking? If I rake from G-D-A-E with my index finger, do I damp the strings with my middle and vice-versa if I rake with my middle finger?

    Any advice here would be gratefully received.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A good rule of thumb (at least at the beginning) is this:
    Higher strings (than the actual plucked string) are dampened with the left-hand fingers, the lower ones with the right hand (e.g. the thumb with the floating technique).
  3. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham Guest

    Mar 30, 2005
    That's what I do, except my thumb isn't very buoyant, so I use my ring and little finger to mute. When you're playing down on the E or A string you can basically mute the higher strings with the palm of your left hand.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You could always do what I did and forget about raking and then it's problem solved.
  5. lemur821

    lemur821 Guest

    May 4, 2004
    St. Louis, MO, U.S.
    I don't see how alternating solves that problem. You've still got to shut the higher strings up.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    When I play slab, I keep my fingers flat across the board and play with the pads of my fingers. Not only does this this achieve the tone I want on my fretless, but it also lets me dampen any higher string with the rest of my fingers -- so if I'm playing my E string, everything higher is muted.
    With my right hand, I keep my ring finger anchored on the string below the one I'm playing, and the pinky finger either hangs off in space or hangs on the next string down. Advantages here -- if you're descending REALLY fast, instead of simply raking, you can just sweep your hand "down" (physically up, I suppose) to the next string and let your ring finger pluck that lower string. Also, the lower strings are muted. On 4's and 5's, I've never had problems with muting with this technique. I haven't played ERBs enough to properly validate the technique for that as well, but seeing as you're new to bass, that doesn't matter.