Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Q for palm muters

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tomtom, Jul 5, 2004.


  1. tomtom

    tomtom

    Jun 17, 2002
    Philthy, PA
    when playing faster tempos across the fingerboard, do you alternate between thumb and first finger?

    if not, what do ya do?
     
  2. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    sometimes that works... but I find the difference between thumb and finger in sound makes that a bad choice, plus teh index is hard to position to do that.

    Double thumbing my friend! Not necessarily in the slap way, but just get used to doing up and down strokes with the thumb.
     
  3. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    No.
    Though I will alternate between thumb & 1st finger for playing octaves.
     
  4. tomtom

    tomtom

    Jun 17, 2002
    Philthy, PA
    monty, i find that using your thumb for the upstroke makes an even stronger tonal contrast than your first finger; you can't really get enough of your thumb to hit the string w/out touching the thumbnail. Is there something I'm missing?

    jim, do you use upstrokes w/ your thumb too?
     
  5. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    No...all downstrokes with very, very little movement; the thumb barely loses contact with the string.

    Caveat: I would not say I'm playing at "Bird" speed; I would also add that if what I play is perceived as 'fast'...it won't be but for so long, either.
    I generally use the palm mute for Reggae-ish lines, some medium tempo walking lines, or for some pianissimo things.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree - I will do this for things where a deep rounded tone is required - like Latin "Tumbaos" - but you definitely have to sacrifice speed.

    So - if I'm playing faster stuff, I will lay my thumb vertically across all the strings and pluck with two fingers - easier than it sounds!! ;)
     
  7. tomtom

    tomtom

    Jun 17, 2002
    Philthy, PA
    well...i just discovered some new ways to get pinch harmonics that way....

    I think I'll just stick with the left hand mute in that case.
     
  8. eh?
    thumb vertically accross all the strings :confused:

    surely you mean little finger/pinky?
    that's the method I use.
     
  9. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    If I need to play fast muted parts I usually use my left hand to mute by placing one finger lightly on the string right in front of the note Im playing.
     
  10. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    I think Bruce plays like Alphonso Johnson...if the strings are 'horizontal', then the thumb rests 'vertically' or relatively perpendicular.
    At a clinic here, AJ said he played like that because of muting; at one time, he did many a session & playing without unwanted noise & sympathetic ringing was desirable & usually lead to more studio dates.
     
  11. um, I think Bruce meant muting the played string(s) (ie. for a thuddy tone) as opposed to muting unplayed strings as in thumbtrailing.
     
  12. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Wanna bet?

    ;)

    Bruce?
     
  13. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    By the way, if you want to enjoy some fast muted playing, and you happen to play a jazz-style bass...

    Put a sock between your bridge and your bridge pickup. A clean one.
    You might lose some sex-appeal on stage, but you will be able to play those fast muted notes. :bassist:


    There is a ridiculous expensive device doing the exact same thing, check out www.bassmute.com


    Edit: I didn't mean to make this sound like a joke, I even used that sock during practice this morning.
     
  14. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    You guys must have small feet (;)) because one of my socks is just way too much sock to give me mutted tone, it just completely mutes the bass.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Oooh I've been leaving you in suspense...forgot about this thread!!
    ;)

    I think Jim's right - I just meant I gave up with the palm muting for fast stuff and went to thumb trailing - if that's the right description. I only use palm muting where it's easy to play - but I haven't been playing much BG lately anyway and have been playing EUB mostly - it sounds like that without any kind of muting anyway - much easier!! ;)
     
  16. ah, I see.

    but I find I can play quite fast with two fingers while deadening the strings using the little finger resting at the bridge.
    it means turning the right hand sideways slightly, but is comfortable for me. on wide-spaced 5, 6 etc. stringers it might be more difficult though.
     
  17. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    If you're really that tall, try your handkerchief. ;)




    edit: unforgivable English mistake
     
  18. Crypton

    Crypton

    Jul 13, 2004
    It is possible to mute the strings with your palm and still pluck with middle and index finger, atleast thats what I do. It may seem acward at first but onece you get the hang of it's IMO a much better tecniqe... I think I got it from gary wills...
     
  19. tomtom

    tomtom

    Jun 17, 2002
    Philthy, PA

    I agree. It doesn't make sense to me to use anything other than your hands (at least for the way I play). Often, I need to be able to lay down sustained notes in the same phrase as muted notes to keep up dynamically with what's going on.

    Right now, I use left handed muting (ring and pinky) for the heavier/warmer type sounds and right handed muting for lower volume/more attack type sounds.

    I find that the right hand thing (thumb and 1st two fingers) works great for playing across the strings at any speed, but is difficult to play linear stuff at higher speeds. I'll have to check Gary's approach out...
     
  20. Anthony Jackson is the palm-mute master! Check out any of his stuff for some amazing palm-muting.