Staccato without the buzz

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by yor123, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. yor123

    yor123 Guest

    Mar 29, 2001
    New Orleans
    I play a fender American series Jazz. Rosewood fretboard, string thru. I consider the action to be medium --4/32nds on all open strings, at the last fret ( the 21st). measured from the crest of the wire. Don't know if that info is helpful, but I added it anyway.

    My question: when playing a staccato feel, is it expected to get a "buzzing" when releasing the string? Or is it just my lousy technique? Or is it a function of the string material (Niti vs steel) Or is it the fret wire (brass vs chrome(?))

    If I hold the note, and let it ring, there is no problem with buzzing. But If start to let up on it, it begins to buzz until it finally mutes( providing that I still have my finger resting on it)

    This is probably a bad example, but it is the first to come to mind. When playing the verse to Soulman (The blues brothers), especially at a fast tempo, I get the buzz. It does not seem to come across the amp, but I hear it. Any comments?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well this is one those things that shows up the limitations of the forum - if you were standing in fromt of me with your bass and showed me what you meant I could probably give you an answer straight away, but without seeing what you are doing it is impossible to be certain. My best advice would be to have a lesson with a good bass teacher - just one will help - and ask about this in person.

    My best guess is that it is a technique thing - muting is vital to technique and just letting go - if that's what you mean by "letting up on it" (?) - is not really an option. It is possible that while you don't have a low action, your nut slots could be cut too low, which will cause a buzz behind where you are fretting - but without seeing all this, as I said, it's impossible to say in a forum like this.
  3. I know exactly what you mean. It happens to me at times too. I just finished recording a new CD this weekend so I had to deal with it a little more (since it's not as noticeable live, but under the microscope of the studio monitors it is more audible). Indeed when playing a short note by releasing the string with the left hand, there is very often an audible buzz. It then comes down to using some other means of muting the string before releasing it. Most commonly, use your right hand to mute the string in this case after playing the note, but there are ways of using your other fingers in the left hand to stop the string. It can be tricky because it takes time to mute the string when mostly likely you need to be setting up your next note.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Is your staccato phrasing the result of left hand or right hand muting? If you're attempting to play staccato by letting up with the LH alone, I think some buzzing is inevitable, unless you're using flatwounds or really dead roundwounds. Try using a mix of LH and RH muting.
  5. yor123

    yor123 Guest

    Mar 29, 2001
    New Orleans

    Fortunately, I do have a good instructor. I will ask him about it next lesson. Unfortunately, my lessons are only 1/2 hour long, once a week. I try to limit questions, as silly as that sounds, because my instructor loves to talk. And he will go on and on ad nauseam, not necessarily on topic. Before I know it, the lesson is up. Instead, I prefer to have him play different progression on his guitar. ( He instructs keyboards, guitar, and bass). I then fill in a bass line. I also use my new Pandora to add a drum pattern. Since I do not play in a band, I enjoy this immensely. It is the closes I have come to "performing".

    When I refer to "letting up on it" I do not mean suddenly and all at once. Instead it is more a gradual release of pressure until my finger no longer touches the fretboard, but is still on the string. Try it. As you let up the pressure, you will get a buzz, then once your finger is off the board, the buzz is gone and the string is muted. I belive, as Rob and Christopher have pointed out, my problem is related to a lack of muting coordination with my right hand. I tried muting the string with my right hand just before letting up my left and that seems to eliminate the noise. The trick is, of course, to do that consistently and at tempo!

    BTW, I have a great video by Anthony Vitti. It is his first video. He places a lot of emphasis on muting. Most of his examples and exercises are geared to perfecting proper left hand muting. What seems like a simple line to play in the accompanying booklet, turns out to be difficult if played like he demonstrates on the video. While one finger is fretting a note , the others are muting other strings. Sounds easy, but for me, it is going to take some work.

    Thanks for the help guys.