What are some ways to reduce sympathetic noise? (other than muting)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by duo8675309, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    I'm trying to play "Frosty the Snowman" and everytime I hit the E on the D string (2nd fret) my E-string's 12th harmonic plays. I realize that the most simple way to fix this is to just hold my thumb on the E string, but I'm not used to that at all. Is there another way, or am I just SOL?
  2. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    There are a variety of other ways to stop the ringing including...

    -Bringing the fleshy part of your right hand palm down onto the E string.
    -Reaching your left pinky over and stopping the vibrations.
    -Playing the note on the 7th fret and "catching" the E string with your index finger.
    -Using your chin (yes, it's done!) to stop the vibrations. This is much more of an upright technique, though.

    All of these work, but the best way you can do it is just keep your thumb on the E string and practice doing that.
  3. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    ok thanks. i'll keep that in mind. i could start a whole new trend w/ the chin thing. lol
  4. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    You could play that E on the E string, and mute with your left hand.

    Sympathetic vibrations are the result of a quality instrument, good setup, and good intonation, the way to reduce it is with your playing technique, there isn't really a good shortcut.

    Havic, my guess is that the chin technique is only used by bassists using the bow. Muting, in my opinion, is easier on upright becuase you can lay your right hand across the strings more easily.
  5. You can rest a right hand finger other than your thumb on the E string, like the pinky or the ring finger.
  6. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Yes, you're right on that account. I was just listing a bunch of possible ways that it could be done besides the best way. The chin one is totally impractical, though. The only practical use I've seen of the chin on electric instruments is when Stanley Jordan uses it to tap out bass notes when his hands are sustaining complex chords in the upper register.
  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    A chunk of foam or strip of felt at the bridge can cut down on sympathetic vibrations.
  8. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    The downside of this would obviously be that open strings are muted and will ring unevenly. You probably should only do that if you know you won't need to utilize open strings.
  9. Suckbird

    Suckbird Inactive

    May 4, 2004
    Floating thumb...
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Absolutely. I'm very glad I forced myself to do that!

    If you want to cheat - I do this also when I can (but still thumb-mute by-habit) - you can put a scunchi-mute or two up near the nut. This works especially well on a five-string, because you can play higher-up on the neck.

    If I'm playing higher-up, and dont' need any open strings, I put one of these hair ties right over the second fret, and one right over the third (if I don't want them at all, I just slide them back behind the nut); in this 2-3 position, you really don't have to conscously mute at all - a string just pretty-much stops-dead when you take your fingers off it.

    Else you can put just one right up next to the nut, and freely play open strings - it doesn't interfere all-that-much in this case but really helps the higher, pinging harmonics like you're talking about.