Thumb + Index + Palm Mute

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by stringtapper, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. stringtapper


    Jun 24, 2009
    Denton, TX
    In trying to find a practical way to get the thumpy muted sound for certain situations I have tried different physical solutions like foam, the Fump, and my friend's favorite muting utensil… a sock.

    They all work reasonably well but the problem is that it's a pain to switch between muted and unmuted. And then the problem I've had with simply palm muting is that I lose potential speed when using just my thumb.

    So I have started working on a technique where I mute the strings at the bridge with my palm and use the thumb and index finger as if they are each one side of a plectrum. So the thumb does the downstroke and the index finger takes the upstroke.

    I'm slowly getting better at it. Gaining speed and watching out for tension as the act of holding the wrist down to mute and moving the fingers can really let some tension creep in.

    So I'm wondering if anyone else here has used this kind of technique, knows of any legends who have used it, or have any thoughts on it in general.

  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Another approach is to the three-finger psuedo-banjo roll thing. In any order that makes sense, use your index and middle fingers for upstrokes, and your thumb for downstrokes. The trick is that the up and downstrokes won't be evenly alternating as you would typically play them. For me a roll of middle, index and then thumb works very well for playing speedier passages while still maintaining a palm-muted thumpy tone. Once the mechanics are established the real trick is to not play steady eighth notes as a series of eighth note triplets since you've got three digits in play rather than an even number.
    Oleg BassPlayer and stringtapper like this.
    stringtapper likes this.
  4. stringtapper


    Jun 24, 2009
    Denton, TX
    The funny thing about that is that this is exactly how I started playing bass over 25 years ago. For some reason I naturally gravitated toward this pseudo-classical guitar technique with thumb+index+middle (and even ring sometimes). That habit faded as time went on but I definitely still use it to a degree; even with this particular technique with the thumb+index I will add in the middle if I need it.
  5. stringtapper


    Jun 24, 2009
    Denton, TX
    Yep, that's it.

    My ego isn't such that I thought I was the only one who ever thought to use that technique, but it's good to know that my instincts are in line with what pros like Ed are doing! :thumbsup:
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  6. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 31, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.