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What's the point of mute notes??

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by patrickroberts, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    What is the point of mute notes? Cos' when i play them it just sounds of nothingness(obviously)! So i was just wondering what the point of playing them is?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    They add a percussive 'thud' to the groove.

    Try playing a 16th note groove with all the properness you can...then try playing the same line with the ghosted thuds & clicks.

    I can also think of at least two practical reasons-
    Playing a ghost note allows one to shift while still plucking away(keeps the groove percolating). This practice may have come from those who played URB.

    Somewhat related...playing ghost notes in a busy groove keeps the plucking hand in constant motion, sort of like a 'nome.
    Worked for me way back when.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Sounds cool. Replaces drummer/percussionist.

    Also, I find them helpful for keeping track of downbeats and rests when I'm reading complicated syncopated parts.
  4. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Get the audio of "Girls on Film" by Duran Duran and you'll asnwer yoru own question.

    This was the first song that inspired me to play muted notes. (This was trasncribed in the last issue of "BassPlayer" mag.)

    It's a great example of finger style funk and muting. The production work on that song is incredible. You can hear every instrument mute notes and what they do to teh groove.
  5. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    It''s also integral in slap playing. I usually try to keep muted notes out of slower more "in the mix" slap playing so it sounds more like a regular bassline played with slap. That way, when a solo/instrumental breakdown comes along, you can add a bunch of muted notes in between to get noticed.

    Check out some Flea slap basslines. That man, like him or love him, knows how to keep his hands moving and muted notes are integral in his playing as well.

  6. Mutes increase the music's funkitivity. They are a really useful way to keep the groove flowing.
  7. AmplifyYourBass


    Dec 7, 2003

    If you have an questions or doubts about muted notes, download "Flea Rare Bass Solo" if you download music or look it up on Powertabs or another tab site. It's really not that hard to play, but try playing that line without the muted notes. It just doesn't sound the same.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Tabs are clearly not going to show you how this kind of thing works, as they have no rhythmic information - reliance on Tabs is probably going to make this kind of thing, much harder to get! :meh:
  9. if you use powertabs or guitar pro you get the rhythm info :D
  10. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Wow... I seriously don't know what to say to all this :p

    Anyways, why play mutes? I think you're getting the bass stuck as singular dimensioned(sp? is there such a word even? <shrug>) instrument in your mind. It's my experience that the best way to think of bass is to think of it like piano. A piano is a percussion instrument, not a string instrument. The bass, while rooted in a history of stringness, has taken the dimensions of percussion, more so over the past 50 years with the general acceptence of slap bass (upright and electric) and practices like pick/palm muting.

    It's my opinion that sometimes if you come to a bassline looking at it like a drummer looks at a drum part, it can help you make a more dynamic and interesting bass part. Using the root as kick drum, octaves, 7ths and 5ths as a accent on the off beat. That sort of thing. Just think of a mute not as a rimshot or some thing :p

    I guess if you're the playing 8th notes a whole song type of guy, it doesn't matter as much. So it's a matter of taste and function.
  11. i agree with all thats sed above. just a quick question, i find myself hitting down on a muted string with all of my fingers at once, making an almost snare kinda sound. does anyone else do this or am i retarded?

    Peace and Funk
    Chips :bassist:
  12. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Is it wrong? Not if it fits in with your style of playing. But it has to sound good doing so.