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Thinking about using a hair tie..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Thomas Kievit, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Well I've been thinking about using a hair tie as a small help for muting strings.

    I'm still practicing my techniques for muting the rest of the strings when I'm playing, but sometimes I just mess up a little bit.

    Any pro's and cons for this?
  2. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    I do that sometimes...
    obviously, you mute the strings
    That damn thing is in my way when I walk on the first 2 frets
    It mute the strings - playing open strings sounds like flatwounds through a curtain

    So I arranged it in a way that i can move it in front or behind the nut quite easily

    Victor Wooten uses this - There is a rig rundown video on youtube - he explains how he uses it in there
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I think the biggest "con" is that every time you use the hair tie, you won't be practicing and improving your conventional left- and right-hand muting techniques. If you use it frequently, it might actually hurt your technique in the long run -- and if you ever find yourself stuck without a hair tie, you'll be screwed.

    My understanding is that when guys like Victor Wooten use a hair tie, it is only for specific situations in which conventional muting techniques are particularly difficult or impossible -- for example, when tapping or using certain unusual plucking techniques (and especially when playing something like a 7-string bass). So if you want to use one only occasionally, for special cases, I'd say go ahead. But I wouldn't use it regularly just to hide your mistakes in normal playing, or you'll run the risk of relying on it as a crutch rather than improving your technique.
  4. ^This.

    *Full disclosure* I had one on my Precision, which I used pretty exclusively for punk, and it was a godsend.
  5. KellyM


    Jun 11, 2006
    Lynnwood, WA
    I could not agree more. And I would add that the less gizmos one depends on to be able to play, the better.
  6. basschanges

    basschanges Unconditionally Loving Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Agree as well.

    However, if you want to pull off some specialist techniques- victor wooten style independent left and right hand slap, complex two handed tapping, it may be just the augmentation you need to limit sympathetic vibrations.
  7. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Thanks a lot for the input people, I will take a look at Victor's Rig Rundown :)
  8. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    I find their best purpose (just like foam near the bridge) is to use them when recording.

    If you are using them because your strings are always ringing that is a problem. If your muting technique is solid and you use them for a special purpose that is just being smart.
  9. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    What do you need a hair thing for when you can mute the strings with your left hand.
  10. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I use one sometimes when I sing. Not having to think about left hand muting just makes things a little easier. Otherwise, I don't use it.
  11. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    How timely; I just pulled mine back out yesterday to assist on a song where I'm having trouble with strings ringing. I don't usually notice a problem--though I'll be the first to admit my muting technique needs work.
    I've seen Regi Wooten use two on his strat live, and was pretty impressed with his tone and technique. I don't think it's only studio, I think it's just another tool.
    Having said that, I had better luck using them on my 5-string Ibanez basses that I did yesterday on my Jazz necked bass. And since only about three out of thirty songs in my current gig benefit from muting assistance, I'll probably just use my P on them--I've got foam under the bridge ashtray. Works WAY better for me--less management, and I can set it up to be consistent across strings and test it out in advance. I've become kind of a set-it-and-forget-it guy.
  12. tonemachine

    tonemachine Banned

    Mar 23, 2010
    Old thread, but i found it while searching for tips.... but I've been noticing that my worst muting is when in quick succession playing an open A then fretting an F on the E string (or the same relative positions on the higher strings). My 1 finger just isn't meaty enough (or not strong enough?) to press on the F and simultaneously mute the A string fully. This little interval comes up a lot in Motown and Soul. Despite my continued efforts, it just isn't completely silenced. While it may be cheating to use a mute strap of some sort, I then recalled that a lot of those guys played that stuff with foam mutes so I wouldn't worry that I'm "cheating" in this one way and in limited, specialized instances that have proven beyond my ability to execute perfectly with just my bony fingers!
  13. There are plenty of players that use one, and a lot are some of the best in the business. Victor, Anthony Wellington, and Damien Erskine are a few that come to mind.