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Tappers - What are you using to mute your string?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by haujobb, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    I've been working on my tapping technique for about 6 months now and I'm finally getting comfortable with the techique.

    What I want to know is, what do you guys use to mute the strings so that they don't ring out? I've seen people recommend hair elastics and sweatbands, but I find to first wasn't tight enough to mute the strings and the second was too tight to stretch over tuning pegs.
  2. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    What are you talking about? I tap just fine, but without any dampeners or whatever. But check out Micheal Angelo Batio. I think his patented dampeners are what you're looking for. They flip up when you don't need them, and kill a string when you do.
  3. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Hi There!!!
    Try to use a hairband on the neck right next to the tunning keys ,on the first fret area.

    Look in Here
    And generally look for the word 'Hairband' at the search method and explore the threads you get in the results.


  4. ^^ +1 - Saw a clinic with Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey and Victor showed us how he uses hair bands (scunci's) to quickly slide onto the neck for a simply muting mechanism. I used them (2 skinny ones) and it is the most simple and effortless way to mute and unmute strings I can think of.
  5. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    That's what I've been using but it doesn't seem to mute them enough.

    Might have to try some different ones I think...
  6. Agent000


    Jan 23, 2005
    Theres a fine line between not enough muting and becoming a capo. I find that a sweat band works well for me, the extra width keeps harmonics out. I use it a lot with standard playing as well, gives the open strings a palm-mute type sound. Just keep in mind that theres a lot of skill in play, and no mute is a 'magic bullet' that will make your tapping sound perfect, imo.
  7. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    I think you should try a smaller one which will give you more pressure on the strings, or maybe a wider one.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Here - you can see mine pretty good in this shot:


    See? A white one, and a black one. They're made of something that's like terricloth strands woven in with these hoops of elastic. They really work well.

    The optimal muting seems to be with one right over the second fret, and one over the third.

    With one up off the fretboard (behind the nut), and the other right near the nut - or even half-way to the first fret, really - you can perfectly-well play open strings - no problem (NOT open-string harmonics, though; it really kills those. I'd imagine round-wounds would sound deader, too) - but it still makes a huge difference on how clean my playing sounds.

    I've only been able to find them at "Kohl's Department Store". I don't know how far out of Wisconsin they go (?). Maybe I should look into buying a case of'm or something, huh?

    I use tons of gain and compression; I also very-often use overdrive - my muting has to be killer, and although I use careful right and left-hand muting (with 'floating thumb'), these still really help.

    Y'know: some say "those are used to cover-up bad technique", or whatever. I guess... But I think of it more like "...used to push the limits of the very-best I can sound". It seems to me that the other is a bad attitude, in-comparison.

    Also - I've found that all-maple necks need these mutes more than basses with seperate dark-wood fretboards. The difference is pretty-noticeable to me from playing all-different basses at music stores. It also seems that neck-through basses need the mutes more than bolt-ons do. I've tapped on some bolt-on, rosewood-board basses that hardly seemed to need one at all (for TAPPING, I'm saying - I don't do super-complex tapping, and get the most out of the mutes with finger-style).

    I remember a bolt-on Yamaha bass (dont' remember the model) that had freaky kind of large frets that almost looked 'bulbous', as though they were cylinder-shaped, instead of 'half-cylinders' like you'd expect a fret. It had a dark rosewood-like fretboard. It seemed to have the least 'crosstalk' between strings of any bass I've tried - you could fretboard-tap on one string, and then mute only it (the string you just tapped), and hardly any sympathetic vibration remained in any of the other strings.

  9. Scrunchies were made for basses, not hair.
  10. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    Thanks for the input guys. I guess I'll just keep experimenting until I find some that work. I know it's partly my technique because I've only been at this for about 6 months but anything that will get rid of those annoying overtones would be a godsend.
  11. Yup scrunchies work well. Lately, though, I've been finding that with good technique a lot of this artificial muting is unneccessary.

    Some guitarists grow out their earlocks to use as a mute, though... :)
  12. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    Sort of off topic but, I'm not a tapper. Just a poor sod trying to get to grips with a pair of Tony Levin Funk Fingers. It was pretty shocking to hear how much work my right hand was doing that I was even thinking about! I've tried a few different hair bands and no joy so far. I was thinking about making a mute out of one of the thicker non fuzzy bands, with a piece of dense foam glued to it.

    Or, improve my left hand muting.

    Or put the Funk Fingers back in the drawer.

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