What do you use for a DIY mute?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ianangus, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. I've been getting to know a new P-bass and playing around with different ways of using mutes for that sweet old-school mo-town and funk tone. I have had some success with bits of cut foam stuck in the bridge, and I have read about the Carol Kaye method of muting with tape and felt. I thought I would get some opinions or suggestions from the fine folks here.

    What is the best DIY mute you have tried?

    How have different kinds of mutes affected your tone?

    Post pics!

    Thanks TBers
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    blubass likes this.
  3. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    A sponge. Try different kinds... Cut them to different widths... You can get them for pennies
    schietschijfje likes this.
  4. My palm
    blubass and Diamond_Dave like this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Felt or cloth
    Rubber band over the saddles
    Lightly leave a soft shoestring through the strings by the bridge.
    Engage the adjustable rubber mutes in bridge covers that had them

    I'm not fussy. I've used all of the above.

    But I just palm mute +90% of the time.
  6. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    My dog makes my bass mutes. He shreds the couch cushion next to my amp and leaves an assortment of foam bits for me to use for different basses and levels of muting.
    SBassman, spigmu, Stumbo and 5 others like this.
  7. BassholeKI


    Feb 10, 2017
  8. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    Scotch Brite? Natural sea sponge? Cosmetic sponge? Tile grout sponge? Spongebob?
    blubass and Stumbo like this.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    AC window foam. It comes in pieces about 2"x2", so cut off an end, and try different thicknesses. Stick a couple of different ones in your case to experiment.
    hondo4life, ianangus and Joedog like this.
  10. BassholeKI


    Feb 10, 2017
    Kitchen sponge. O Cedar from Wal-Mart I believe is what I use. Cut a piece and double it over on itself. Not too big or it'll mute more than you want, and too small won't have any effect at all.
    briandavismurph and hondo4life like this.
  11. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    face cloth
  12. Pater


    Feb 18, 2017
    New Jersey
    I know many people don't like to use their hands, but I've recently seen a player, I can't remember who, who used his left hand to mute his playing. I tried it out, and it allows me to play much faster and cleaner than I can while muting with my right hand. For me, this it works better than any foam.

    It's all about only using your index to fret, and gently using your middle, ring, and pinky to apply slight pressure to the strings. You would need to apply a little more for the e than you would for the g, but other than that it's not that bad to get a grasp of. My friends get confused when they hear my muted sound and don't see me muting!

    One problem is getting good at doing this to the point where you can move around the fretboard as fast as you could normally. It came naturally to me, but only because I've practiced using only one finger for fun before.
  13. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    eureka, ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Pipe cleaner woven through the strings--this is not to mimic palm muting, but to tame high overtones.
    Stumbo likes this.
  14. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you go tight instead of loose you can get some cool results. John Hall of Orleans used to put a pick through the strings at the bridge for a kind of steel drum, almost ring modulated effect. I've futzed around with similar for bass but as pitch ends up being a bit knocked out it's less suitable on bass, IMO.

    My mute is cut from a that thin green layer of foam that goes under carpets to keep them in place, rolled into a bar. I like it because it squishes to get underneath and then expands back, and if I want it tight I use it all and for loose I just wrap it differently. I like a sponge too, but not the kitchen kind that are stiff when dry. I like the ones that have a little give, like a grouting sponge.
    Stumbo likes this.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Rocco Prestis of Tower of Power plays like that.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    A strip of foam under the strings at the bridge. Try different densities to get the effect you want.
  17. My fretting hand.
  18. briandavismurph


    Jul 1, 2013
    the only thing is too much thickness will really mute the note but will raise the pitch of the strings slightly, so if you are adding and subtracting the sponge on a song by song basis you need to get the thickness just right
  19. Kitchen Sponge
    Less sustain and harmonics.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017

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