Stupid question about muting

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jansen2k17, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. jansen2k17


    Jan 16, 2017
    Recently I've been experimenting with many different plucking hand muting techniques and I realized that ring and pinky muting is very popular. For example, when you play the G string, your ring finger will rest on the A string and your pinky will rest on the E string, keeping them quiet. When I tried this out myself, I found it very difficult to play a note on the D string and then go up the the G string with my pointer, but when I used my middle finger it was almost effortless. In other words, if I want to play something on the G string, it must start with the middle finger.

    Does anybody else who uses plucking hand muting have this issue? Do you resort to only using your middle finger to climb up or did you find a way to use your pointer?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    FunWithBass likes this.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    You could try using your thumb to mute. Properly positioned, the thumb ought to be able to mute both the E and A strings at the same time.

    The problem with using the ring finger to mute is (as you have discovered) it affects the mobility of the plucking fingers. Some of that goes away with practice though. I mostly use my thumb, but I do sometimes also use my ring and pinkie (especially on 5+ string basses). All techniques have their time and place, and it is good to be versatile.

    Good for you for paying attention to muting! It is one of the too frequently overlooked techniques (most players are too busy figuring out how to slap ;)).
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  3. I use my thumb to sound the strings, therefore palm mute comes into my life - I really use flats and foam rubber at the bridge and this gets most of what needs muting, palm mute gets the rest. To answer your question; I think we all find what is best for us. Sounds like you have found what will work for you.

    One finger per fret was what I was taught, however, over the years which ever one gets there seems to work also.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland in the "Floating Thumb" technique. ;)

    ba55i5t and Aaron Mc like this.
  5. I pluck/mute with
    • fingers 1+2, mute with floating thumb and left hand. Or
    • 1+2+3 for faster stuff, muting mostly with floating thumb and some left hand. Or
    • Thumb+1+2+3 for complex stuff (jazz guitar finger style technique), mute with side of palm/4th finger mostly as left hand is too busy to mute.

    Play around with left hand muting too. It'll really help your slap playing in the future.
  6. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I like to use the side of the right hand thumb for muting the E and A when picking on the D and G. I find it easier to use the left hand fingers to mute the D and G when playing the E and A.
    ba55i5t likes this.
  7. Plucking hand mutes strings lower than the one you are playing;
    Fretting hand mutes strings higher than the one you are playing.
    ba55i5t, slagheap, Shifty722 and 5 others like this.
  8. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    I just had to pick up a bass to see how I do this. I do mute with ring and (sometimes) pinky. Doesn't seem to make any difference if I'm using index or middle finger to cross D to G and back. My thumb is supported on the B, E, or A i.e. It crosses over as I go up to keep my hand compact. I just caught myself with the pinky on E and ring on A and thumb on A laying flat to mute E and B as well. So some redundant muting going on there. I like the method of keeping the same hand shape, but hey, I'm no Jaco.
  9. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    I do use the floating thumb technique (sort of -- never really learned it specifically, just kind of something I did naturally), and, like @dreamadream99 said"

    I also do a lot of slap playing also. When it comes to that, I'm muting all over the place with anything I can get to touch a string -- the side and the butt of my palm, other fingers on either hand, the meat of my forearm. I'd incorporate my foot if I were a contortionist. I wish I could explain all of this out to you, but it's sort of something that, again, just developed naturally for me. It's a little like blindsight -- I catch myself making "corrections" and killing sloppy/accidental strikes before I even think about doing it and before they really resonate. Sometimes even preventively. Just years of experience and time in on the axe I suppose.
  10. Yeah, Gary Willis and Todd Johnson are definitely the best examples to follow for right hand muting. If you used floating thumb it takes care of the lower strings. Then you can use a combination of left and right hand muting to take care of the higher strings.
  11. slagheap


    Dec 23, 2011
    hmm. that's the way i do it - never thought about it exactly, but that's pretty much been my solution, too.
    additional edit: i don't anchor my thumb when playing P bass fingerstyle. kind of rests in different places, but i don't use pickups as points of leverage - although on a J type i sometimes do.
    been playing with a pick a lot - i hold pick like bobby vega for funky stuff and the pointy for playing fast driving 1/8 note rock. dunlop ultex approx 1 mm. i think it's becoming automatic...
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    wyrtti likes this.