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Noob Question :: Correct Technique To Eliminate String Noise

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SCOMan, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. SCOMan


    Mar 16, 2014
    Hello All,

    I've been playing guitar for a few years now but have decided to give bass a try. After picking up an Ibanez GSR from eBay and giving it a restring and a good setup I've started to dig in an play.

    The frustration I have is when playing up around the 12th Fret I'm getting lots of noise from the strings as I release them. After reading a few posts on this forum I'm sure it's technique. However, what I'm struggling to find is some advice on exactly what it is I need to be doing better to remove the unwanted noise.

    Any advice most welcome,

  2. Reddog01


    Nov 3, 2013
    Georgetown, TX
    What do you mean by string noise? Is it buzzing, or is it a squeal from the finger movement? Or, is it something else?
  3. SuperTbass


    Aug 29, 2010
    If you're only getting it higher up on the neck, it's probably a set-up issue, not technique.
  4. Flats. High action.
  5. Lightning Bug

    Lightning Bug

    Nov 17, 2005
    I have a feeling the OP is talking about harmonics (the octave at the 12th fret) that keep ringing when you use left hand guitar technique on bass. If this is the case, tou need to learn to damp strings with your right hand.
  6. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Definitely. This even happens to me sometimes.

    Try putting a finger behind the 12th fret on the string. Does that make sense? So, try playing that note with your 3rd or 4th finger, and lay your 1st or 2nd finger on the sting behind it. You can't play a harmonic with two fingers on the same string. If you still can't picture it, I'll upload a photo.
  7. SCOMan


    Mar 16, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies guys. Let me try and explain the problem a little better..

    Playing the intro to Sweet Emotion, Aerosmith. When releasing the 2nd finger from the A string at the 12th Fret to play the G String with 3rd finger I get the noise i was referring too; it's a mix of a mix of a squeal and an unwanted pull off. I get the same thing on the G string at the 12th as I go to play the G string at the 14th. Very unpleasant.

    When playing Peace Sells down at the 5th and 7th fret lots of unwanted noise as I release a note to move strings.

    I don't believe the setup is a problem as when I got got the guitar and strung it I did spend some time ensuring it was set up properly. The problem is most pronounced when playing quickly so I'm pretty sure it's sloppy technique, probably due to trying to play the bass with the same left hand technique I'd play the electric guitar with... i just can't seem to get rid of it.

    Guitar Ibanez GSR 200 newly strung with SIT Powerwound 45-105 strings. The neck has been adjusted with just enough relief to ensure no fret buzz when playing. Action is set low as it can be and intonation at 12th fret is good.

  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Bass is a noisy instrument sometimes. The good news is those noises can't be heard in a mix usually. But when I play Sweet Emotion, I try to time my liftoff from the A string with the moments I play the G strings notes, and I keep my finger on the A string and don't take it completely off. Just tried it and there is a little noise there, but nothing major.
  9. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    All the notes you mentioned playing have harmonics attached to them: 5th, 7th, and 12th frets. I'm sticking with my previous reply.
  10. SCOMan


    Mar 16, 2014

    So I do think you are right with the harmonic thing.

    I've eliminated the problem on the A string with the technique that JimmyM suggested, along with some muting with the right hand. My previous technique had been to keep my thumb anchored on the E string.

    Now when I listen closely to what's happening on the G string I definitely hear the bell like sound of a harmonic resonating Using my 1st finger to mute the strings behind it feels very awkward so if you could upload a photo that would be great.

  11. Icculus

    Icculus Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    Brotherly Love
    It's definitely the harmonics. I thought something was wrong with the last bass I bought and even posted a thread about it (laughing at myself now). You just need to find a technique that works for you. For me, it's a combination of what metalhead said and also using the ring finger on my right hand as a mute. It's a PITA because you get used to not having to do it on most of the board, but you have to be conscious enough that when you play a note in a certain spot, you have to get ready to mute it.
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Right-hand muting is one of those techniques that separates the intermediate players from the beginners. Sounds like you are ready to make that leap. :)

    Personally I try to touch each string in at least 2 places at all times, using a combination of my left and/or right hands. This prevents unwanted harmonics and sympathetic vibrations. At loud-volume gigs or when doing studio work, muting goes from being a nice-to-have to a must-have.
  13. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I like the sound of a double bass so I use flats with foam rubber at the bridge. Do a Google. Killed two birds with one stone, I get that double bass sound I like and the fret buzz - string noise- is eliminated with the foam rubber and some palm muting.

    Yes our beast is noisy.
  14. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    As jimmy mentioned, a fundamental technique is to instinctually mute strings as you end the note. A bit of left and right hands working together. Try it slowly until you can play the notes cleanly.
    It might be that you are not putting your hands in the optimal position. Check out how others do it on you tube.
    It's also the reason sweet emotion is a fun song to play on bass. That's a tasty bass lick.
  15. SCOMan


    Mar 16, 2014
    thanks for all the help - this was exactly the advice I needed.
  16. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level