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Rest notes

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Citizen Watch, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Citizen Watch

    Citizen Watch

    Jun 3, 2014
    I recently started learning to play bass last year. It's my first instrument, and I've been going through the Hal Leonard Bass Method book to learn. I don't have a teacher because I'm currently living in a small city in Japan, and I don't know if I would be able to find a teacher (it's mostly old people here!), much less fully understand them. Anyway, between the book and a plethora of online videos and resources, I've been able to get most of my questions answered. However, I've been having a hard time playing rest notes recently, specifically when they are placed between notes played on an open string. This is especially the case for the higher strings. Do you have any tips for this? Which hand should I be using to mute the string for this? Any tips you can give me on playing rest notes or just muting open strings in general would be much appreciated.
  2. Try using your left hand, across the string, in between frets. If you dampen the string directly over a fret, you may hear the harmonic at that place in the string. Practice giving your notes a precise length, while gently muting. Go for a more even mute, rather than a drastic on/off.
  3. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    You can also choose to play the open string as a fretted note (in most cases). This makes the rest more controllable. This is very effective in faster passages.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    You have 10 fingers on 2 hands at your disposal for muting.

    I find muting sounds best when both hands are working together. If you gently touch the string with one finger on each hand, you'll get a nice, clean rest. :)
    lz4005 likes this.
  5. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I'm thinking muting open strings with your plucking hand is optimal since your fretting hand is probably getting ready to go somewhere. Floating technique of the plucking hand makes this almost automatic. Fretting hand muting is more automatic on fretted notes since lifting of the finger enough to quit fretting is often sufficient. Mushroo ^ is right, two handed is the cleanest.
  6. Citizen Watch

    Citizen Watch

    Jun 3, 2014
    Thanks for all the responses. I've been using a variation of the floating thumb technique, except that I actually anchor my thumb on the string just below the one I am playing. It works very well on the lower strings. My problem with rests is always either when I have a rest between two of the same note on an open string, or when I am moving from a higher string to a lower string. The floating thumb technique doesn't really help with this. I'll try to follow your advice and see if I improve.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    For muting open strings, I like to just use my relaxed left hand, gently, like I'm burping a baby. :)

    Or, a right-hand muting technique (if you use the alternating-two-fingers method of plucking) is to follow with the opposite finger, like you are going to pluck the note again, but touch the string to mute instead of plucking.

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