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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by assteak, Dec 2, 2000.

  1. assteak


    Nov 3, 2000
    I don't know how to word this...but I just noticed this yesterday when I was in my room with the amp on high.
    When I'm fretting a note then moving to another, my fingers brush over the strings making the sound you get when you...brush your fingers over the strings?
    Is this bad technique or is it normal?
  2. kind of a guess but at any volume if notes are sounding that you didn't choose to strike, its bad technique
    playing at high volumes can be a whole new ball game
  3. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    If you're playing on roundwound strings, it's pretty much unavoidable unless you remove your fingers from the strings when you shift, which is terrible technique in that it's both slower (need to remove your fingers, then put them back down) and less accurate (even on fretless -- keeping my fingers on the strings during shifts was one of the first things my upright bass instructor taught me) than leaving your fingers down. As a general rule, unless you and everyone else is playing pianississississississimo, something or other is gonna drown it out, either your notes in your solo or the rest of the band during ensemble stuff. I'm not sure what kind of music you play, but if it's metal-type stuff or even big band (or anything else where there are alot of notes other than your own flying around), that annoying brushing noise will be quite drowned out.

    If you're REALLY bothered, maybe you could switch to flatwound strings, as long as you aren't especially fond of the roundwound brightness.
  4. bassics


    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    I agree completely. Roundwound strings are great for the tone I like, but they ARE noisy. Flatwounds are much quieter, with barely any finger noise, and only at high volumes with no other noise in the room, but to me, the tone is s**t.
  5. assteak


    Nov 3, 2000
    Exactly what I meant, furtim! I never noticed it when I'm playing with the jazz band at school or with my band (ska), the drums/horns/GEETAR always drown that sound out. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't totally screwing up.
  6. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Yeah, it's no biggie if you've got roundwounds. Now, if you still did that with flats, I'd be impressed! =)

    About the only way around that if you're gonna solo is just to play really loud! Drown out that annoying sound, eh? ;)

    Nah, that brushing won't really be a problem unless you try to record in a studio or something. Maybe if you REALLY needed to get rid of the brushing, you could try greasing up your fingers so they'll just slip over. Who knows, maybe you'll play faster, too! :)
  7. Can't recall exactly who said it first, but more than a few great players have lamented that keeping an electric bass quiet is one of the hardest things to do
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I have always played with roundwounds and I think there are two issues here that will help with the noise question. Firstly - avoid position shifts unless absolutely necessary or justified by the music. This is one of the good things about 5 or 6 string bass, you can play 2 octaves at any position on the fretboard without having to move your fretting hand, so why do you need to move? Also, you want to make your position shifts as small as possible - plan out the line, so your only moving one or two frets at most, at a time.

    Secondly, right hand muting is essential to bass technique. I tend to leave my thumb resting across the strings - that is pointing downwards - and muting all the strings, up to the one I'm playing - other right hand fingers can also mute strings. This helps with the noise on position shifts. My other tip, would be to use nickel-coated round wounds, which are less scratchy than stainless steel, for example.
  9. Flats make noise, too. The noise is unavoidable. Just embrace it.
  10. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Uhhh....I've always used roundwounds and dont know what you're talking about. Are you sliding your fingers down really, really hard or something?
  11. It gets drowned out in the clammer of other stuff going on. Ignore it.

    Incidentally, I play quieter when my hands are a little slippery.

  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Bruce hit the nail on the head...you need to work on muting. I use a combination of left and right hand muting and have absolutely minimal string noise. The bad news... you have to practice :D The good news...it quickly becomes second-natured and you don't even think about it.
  13. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    If it makes anyone feel better,guitar players don't have it any easier.Try doing a whole step bend on the G(3rd) string followed by a wide vibrato a la J.Hendrix through a high gain amp without any extraneous drek creeping in.It's as much about muting as it is about the notes.

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