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Silly E string...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TSkills, May 6, 2010.

  1. TSkills


    Jul 1, 2009
    Ok, so this question is definitely going to brand me as a beginner, but here goes:

    I use the "anchored thumb" technique when I play (anchoring my thumb on the pickup instead of "floating" it to the next lower string). So how do I keep the E string from ringing when I play notes on the A? I don't have this problem on any of the other strings, just here.

  2. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Well, I like to rest my pinky on the e string sometimes, i also use my left hand to mute any open strings I'm not plucking if applicable. Typically the fretting finger's second knuckle (interior of the hand) is resting on the string above when fretting the string below.

    That's me. there is some arch to my fingers when fretting, but not much. this may increase string noise until you learn to pull your finger away a hair further when changing positions.

    We all started somewhere. Just remember to search as well as crowdsource
  3. BigRedBassPlayer

    BigRedBassPlayer Supporting Member

    The E string is the only place I move my thumb when I take it off the pup. I won't float all the way down, just there. That's how I mute the e string. You might try to just rock it down from where you place it to the e. If any of that makes any sense. :bag:
  4. Nic.


    Aug 28, 2009
    I guess when you float you're resting the tip of your thumb on the string right? There's two things that you can try, either using the thumb knuckle to mute the E (which involves a drastic change in angle), or just rest your thumb between the two so it touches both.
  5. TSkills


    Jul 1, 2009
    Thanks everyone for the advice! I've tried a few of them, but I'm really more comfortable keeping my thumb anchored. I tried reaching over the neck and muting it with my fretting hand thumb, but that seems to kill some of my speed...:meh:
  6. I also play with the anchored thumb method. I follow through the strike on the A, so the finger comes to rest on the E, thus muting it.

    This is also valid for G & D strings. After striking the string, the finger comes to rest on the string below it.
  7. TSkills


    Jul 1, 2009
    Thanks Aus Bass...I play in a similar way, striking through the string and resting on the next one. But when I'm hammering out 16th notes the E still rings through
  8. If I'm playing the G string, I use my little finger to mute the E, my ring finger to mute the A and the D is usually muted by my fretting hand. As I move back down the strings, I just move everything down, so my ring finger is muting the E and my left hand the A etc...

    I always keep my thumb on top of my pickup. I used to use the floating technique but I found that it slowed down my playing massively.
  9. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    I'm surprised I'm the first on here to recommend looking into the floating thumb technique. It's a popular style and, IMHO, very effective. I played bass for about 2 years before working on adopting and then improving this technique - my playing instantly improved and my tone was better. It's also a very easy technique ergonomically, and gives you a solid muting approach for all four strings... or beyond! Very essential for 5+ stringed instruments.

    It can feel a bit shaky and unsupportive at first, but if you turn up your amp and don't worry so much about digging in, you can get very good tone out of it. Plus, it makes it easier in the future to incorporate more plucking fingers on your right hand (and we should all be trying to use 4-5, right? Right?). Search for 'floating thumb technique', and check out this video:

    May the force be with you.
  10. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
    Have you tried just not hitting the E string when you play on the A?
  11. I'm an anchor guy too, but I float my ring finger to mute my 'below' string as well as give me a positional reference. It's not something I ever worked on, it just evolved that way because it feels natural. I still use my fretting hand to perform a good bit of muting too...kind of a 'do what it takes' approach.

    You can see where I have my thumb on the pickup and the ring just resting on the e string here...

    Yes, I know I play way back towards the bridge. There's more tension on the strings there, so it really helps my accuracy. :)
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Jargon confusion alert:
    "floating" your thumb as most are describing here is usually called movable anchor

    the technique Wideyes describes is usually what we call floating thumb

    just to help us eschew obfuscation...

    I use the movable anchor and never noticed my e string ringing crazily. I frequently LH mute , but I may be unconscious doing something similar to what others deswcribe. I'll have to check.
  13. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    ^^^ Very good distinction, and to clarify further for those who may be wondering, movable anchor tends to mean that your thumb will always be resting upon the string below (well, logistically above) the one you're playing. So if you're plucking the A, your thumb rests on the E. Plucking the D, your thumb rests on the A. Some folks stop the movable anchor there and won't do the same for G-D, but that's all preference.

    I think movable anchor is good, because it gets you ready for floating thumb... :bag:

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