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Picking technique: palm muting or "bridge foam" ?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rimbaud, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    Sorry guys so french... I can't remember how it's spelt in english for that "bridge foam" kind of thing.

    Anyway, after 15/20 years of bass practice, I'd like to go P/flats/pick sound. I've been trying the palm muting technique and I'm not comfortable with that. I saw recently Marcello Giuliani playing like Carol Kaye, with a big piece of foam under the strings near the bridge, tried that on my roundwound jazz and I like the sound, not the ultimate sound but I'm enjoying. And I really feel comfortable, playing anywhere I want over the pickups, I can use muche more different sounds just by moving over.

    What does the palm mute really brings ? is it just a "wave" ?
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    You might also try muting with your left (fretting) hand a la Rocco Prestia
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Flexibility - you can mute/not mute at will. Sometimes you may want a note to ring. Or maybe some slap/pop w/o muting.

    Here's something you may want to check out: http://www.bassmute.com/bassmute/bm_mainframe.html
  4. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    Yep, I'm praticing this too, but on soloing? that's a good groove technique, but not when you have to play fast scales, melodies, etc... I'm really searching after a right hand technique to keep my left hand free to move.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Maybe a bit more practice would help?

    I've been palm muting some old half-rounds a lot lately with the jam band I'm in. It does take some building up of the muscles. Even though I'm playing fine with it now, I'll be trying out some foam next time to reduce muscle strain that can build up over time.

    Also, with two guitars in the band, using muted strings helps keep the FOH cleaner by not letting the ringing notes interfere with the guitars.
  6. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    Yeaah Stumbo +1! didn't thought about that (edit: the flexibility!)... it's like adding or removing the foam instantly when needed I presume....

    I think I'll have to compromise on the both technique, the foam is really easy for me and suits maybe all the soul-funk/boogaloo tunes I have to work, but beeing open-minded on a new technique is never bad...
  7. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    I use foam + palm mute when i REALLY want to mute and just the foam when i just want to 'smooth' the tone.
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I've been muting with the side of my palm while picking with my thmb. It's a pretty convincing upright tone. Plus, unlike using foam, I can vary the mute or go back to unmuted at will (like say on a song's bridge, or louder section, etc.). The only caveat is that I am not very fast with my thumb. But, I don't usually have to be, so it's ok. I think this is the best technique, unless you want a muted sound along with a pick.
  9. ^ This. Maybe try foam in different thicknesses and densities to find what sounds best.

    Foam, palm mute, side of thumb, EQ, roll back tone knob, flats, etc are all helpful.
  10. GregT


    Jan 29, 2012
    Southwest Missouri
    I have a piece of felt taped on with gaffer's tape over the strings by the bridge sort of like Carol Kaye. It just smooths it out a little bit, but not too much. I still palm mute from time to time when I am just driving one note like in Mony Mony or something. I just leave it on and the truth is I just forget it's there at all. I like the gaffer's tape because it comes off so easy if I ever wanted to. And thanks for reminding me to mute with my left hand. I need to do that more. It definitely will save wear and tear on your right wrist in the long run.
  11. At the moment I have GHS Super Steels on my Jag, which are incredibly loud and sustain forever. I don't have a set technique for muting, just however I can get it done. Thumb, fret hand fingers, playing hand fingers. I've been thinking about sticking some foam back there just to help it out.
  12. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    I do believe it is a matter of time.

    I prefer the sound of left hand muting than palm muting. But it cannot free you left hand....
  13. dlb1001


    Jan 30, 2007
    If you can find some of the older videos by Gary Willis on Youtube, he shows how he mutes the strings with the picking hand.
    I just use palm mute and/or use a combination of the other fingers. I have tried the Rocco technique but I think he must have the action on the bass pretty high.
  14. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    i prefer palm muting, more control over length of notes, control over tone of note, you can control when to stop muting...etc, control over your sound is always good.
    BMGecko likes this.
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Palm muting with a pick can be very injurous to your hand. Read what Carol Kaye has to say about it and you'll understand why so many use a separate mute on the strings. Every time I do it, I get shooting pains in my hand within 30 seconds.
  16. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Strange... once i played a gig using palm mute + pick the whole time and i didn't get any pain...
  17. BassKitty101


    Jun 28, 2012
    Endorsing Artist: Luna Guitars, Ashdown Engineering, Cactus Picks
    What I always did to get a perfect adjustable muting sound is take a shoelace and weave it in between all the strings near the bridge, then you can slide it up a little to find your desired sound.
    MuffledBoomy likes this.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Carol will tell you that anyone who deviates from the way she says to use a pick will injure themselves no question. When I was a kid, I could do stuff like that all night long and never get a single pain. Once I hit 40, though, it started happening and I had to quit using a pick entirely for a couple years till I got myself on the good foot with Carol's thing. So while I pretty much agree with her, genetics and age do play a role.
  19. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Years ago Fender made basses with an adjustable foam pad
    to mute the strings. Although right hand palm muting works well
    it is not comfortable for me.
    We should bug Fender to bring it back!

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