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Palm muting?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Demon, Dec 18, 2006.


  1. Demon

    Demon

    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    How important is palm muting when play bass with a pick? Ithought id get it down. How do i do it? I guess ur supposed to rest the palm infront of the bridge. Is it that simple? Either i get no sound or it doesnt work:/ Does it just take time to find the right weight to put?
    Also, what do i do when i pick closer to the neck? Do i still rest the palm, but just further forward?
     
  2. zazz

    zazz

    Feb 27, 2004
    Cebu
    depending on the kind of music but yes i would say palm muting..or muting of some sort is almost obligatory.
     
  3. ihateusernames

    ihateusernames

    Jun 26, 2006
    It takes practice. It's not easily explained because the feel can't be taught. And, to palm mute when picking closer to the bridge you just change your hand and finger position.

    The only tip I can suggest is to not think of resting your hand on the strings like an anchor as you would your thumb when playing fingerstyle. The palm simply floats to deaden the strings not being played or chop of the sustain of plucked notes. The concept is the same as fretting finger muting, and it's applied with a different technique.
     
  4. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    there are 2 types of muting you can apply with your right hand while playing with a pick..

    first there's the type where you're using your hand to stop unwanted notes from open strings ringing out.. and that's pretty much essential... in practice you'll find a combination of left & right hand muting will be the most effective way of doing it, not left OR right... to do this with your right hand, gently anchor your unused fingers over the higher strings and the heel of your thumb over the lower strings... anchoring your fingers on the higher strings also gives you a pivot to to gauge pick strokes

    the second type of muting is where you use the side of your right hand to take the vibrational energy out of the string as it rings.. as per ihateusernames' explanation

    the first kind of muting is essential, the second one is a musical choice you make
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would love to be a doctor who specializes in treating bassists who palm mute with a pick. I would get rich.

    Palm muting is a sure-fire way to cause crippling hand pains. I know...I had them. Go to carolkaye.com and learn the proper way to play with a pick.
     
  6. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ

    It only hurts for a while :) Been using that technique among others for 15+ years.
    It's not a right or wrong way, only one of several techniques to choose from.
    When done right you can get an awesome sound.
    Listen to the Who's "Happy Jack", even Entwistle used that occasionally.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well my advice to you and others is to use it sparingly if at all.
     
  8. Demon

    Demon

    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Well, i play metal if thats a difference, so much fast stuff. Iguess at faster parts it wont be needed.
     
  9. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    Palm muting causing injury is a new one to me. As much as I greatly respect Carol Kaye for all she's done for the bass community, I have to question her thoughts about palm muting. I palm mute all the time without any discomfort whatsoever, and when I say all the time, I mean all the time, and if you're a rhythm guitarist in a metal band, you won't last a day without knowing how to palm mute. Go whatever path you wish on bass, but don't feel obliged to stick with something because somebody tells you to.

    Assuming you are to palm mute, the amount of pressure you need to mute the strings not only is delicate in itself, but the threshold between too little and too much is extremely delicate. Also, muting at different lengths of the string produce dramatically different effects. The only real way to go about it is experimenting as to what sounds best to your ear. I remember when I first began palm muting, I was extremely erratic with either too much or not even muting the string at all. Have patience and perseverence if you do decide to practice it, and you'll get it.

    In terms of how important it is, as stated, it's all up to you. There are no bass police who are going to arrest you if you don't palm mute at all.
     
  10. jsbass

    jsbass

    Sep 3, 2006
    WI
    I'm an almost exclusive pick player and I find muting with the fretting hand to be good, just lay your hand flat across the strings you want muted and use one finger to hold the note your playing.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    We're not talking about palm muting on guitar. Guitar is a completely different animal with much thinner strings that aren't nearly as hard on you as bass strings.
     
  12. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest



    I've found no extreme difference in muting between guitar and bass. That's not answering for you or anyone else, that's just answering for my own experience. However, guitar isn't much different than bass, or so I've found.
     
  13. rob2966

    rob2966

    Oct 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Although I find palm muting gives a better sound on a guitar with a big wall o distortion, it can be done on bass. On thing is to make sure you are not resting the outside of your hand (not technically the palm) on too much string. Most of the hand is resting on the bridge with a bit of string, that will give the "chunkiest yet most musical tone". Since I learned the technique on guitar it was easy to transfer to bass (although I personally don't use it much on bass). Never had any issues/concerns with injury for excessive palm muting.

    Later
    Rob
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I didn't have any pain for 25 years, then all of a sudden, pain. If you want to keep doing it, I hope you don't get those pains. It's no fun at all.
     
  15. I'm guessing that the pain is coming from your picking technique. This is accentuated when you palm mute, because that anchors your hand further.

    The picking problem comes from hand motions that originate from the wrist. Your arm is stationary and your wrist and hand rotate in order to pick the strings. This puts way too much stress on your wrist especially. The picking motion should come from your arm and shoulder--much stronger muscles, which, with some practice, are capable of playing faster and longer.

    Anyway, just something to think about.
     
  16. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I've heard this arguement, and I've also heard that since those are bigger muscles and larger joints, it's a waste of energy and damaging to your elbow joint because it wasn't meant for constant movements like that, whereas the wrist is a series of bones and joints that have more freedom of motion.

    I think the best solution I heard is that you use both, move from the elbow to reach different strings, use the wrist to pick the strings. I mean, you don't write using your elbow and shoulder exclusively, you just your wrist and move it with your elbow and shoudler.
     
  17. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    poop-loops is correct... moving your shoulder is a waste of energy... it's insane to attempt to move your whole arm up & down in order to wiggle a little piece of plastic back & forward a few millimeters

    anyone who thinks the majority of your picking movement comes from your elbow and shoulder probably doesn't do it regularly for 2-3 hours a night...

    no-one suggests that fingerstyle players should hold their fingers still and move them from the shoulder.. it'd be ludicrous, so for what practical reason should pickstyle favour the arm over the wrist?

    I suggest anyone who doesnt believe me should try it both ways for a couple of hours & come to your own conclusion
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Cowsgo is right. I have never seen anyone use their arm and shoulder to pick unless they were in a punk band. You should keep your palm parallel to the front of the bass and use a back and forth motion with the wrist to avoid pain. This is another reason why palm muting is bad for your hand. You have to anchor your hand on the strings and use your thumb for pick movement, and the absolutely worst thing you can do when you pick is to move your thumb.
     
  19. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    In the end you use what work best for you.
    I sometimes DO use my arm and shoulder for a very aggresive "noisy" attack - almost like a strumming-type thing, other times I use my wrist only for a nice solid tone, I palm mute often and I have yet to have any wrist problems after many many years of playing. Either my psysiology is alien or finding the right way (the one that works best for you)to do something is the key?
     
  20. That back and forth motion in your wrist is exactly why people get wrist problems from this bad picking technique.

    When you pick with the motion originating from your arm, shoulder, and chest muscles (you should be able to feel the movement in the back of your upper arm, and your pect), your wrist is still going be moving a little bit, but that's just because it's not all tense.

    Think about it. Larger muscles have more endurance than smaller muscles.
     

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