Why doesn't anybody talk about muting?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Starky-kun, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Starky-kun


    Mar 12, 2015
    I mean the big bass stars. Besides Jaco, Carol Kaye and Hamm I've hardly seen muting mentioned in these educational videos. Wooten, Flea, Squire, Sheehan - nobody mentions muting, which I think is very important for a bass player, perhaps more important than modes or soloing or slapping. Feel free to prove me wrong btw, I wish more stars talked about it, so that kids that pick up the bass (like me) wouldn't have to deal with the buzzing overtones via google.
  2. Shhhh. Muting is the secret technique.

    People don't talk about it because it's pretty boring to talk about. What can you say?
  3. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Probably because most people are using the floating thumb technique which naturally mutes the strings above the string you're playing as your fretting hand naturally mutes the strings below the string you're playing.

    Since most people are doing that, there's not much to say. Muting happens naturally.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    "Most?" Meaning more than 50%.

    I seriously doubt that. I am not among them, and I've played since 1964.
  5. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I think we did a thread on this somewhere with a poll... I will see if I can dig it up.
    pudgychef and Starky-kun like this.
  6. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    Maybe they aren't talking about muting because they have been muted? Sorry, couldn't resist :)
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I'm not convinced that even 50% of those here know what the term means. Therefore I'm not sure that a survey would be accurate.
  8. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Mute this LOL
    G |——————————————————————————————————————————
    D |——————————————————————————————————————————
    A |0———————0—————————————————————————————————
    E |——0—2—4———0—2—4———————————————————————————
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I'm mute on the topic.:laugh:
  10. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I don't mute unless I have to, & sometimes don't do it on purpose, like with Low Rider - War.

    Fishyfishfish, physics and Starky-kun like this.
  11. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    two fingers and Starky-kun like this.
  12. The stars do not talk about muting because they are beyond that basic skill. They have found what works for them and they no longer have to give it any thought, it's just there - they take it for granted. In answering posts I would thing they also take for granted the person asking a question is beyond muting.

    Muting is one of the first basic skills we learn. I went with flatwound strings, foam rubber at the bridge and palm mute. It does what I need and gives a sound I like. I no longer give it any thought it just happens.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    If I need to mute, I'll put the foam mute back in the bridge cover of my '63 P. Or use my left hand.

    I brace my thumb on the neck or pickup, depending on the plucking position I'm looking for. Mutes come in a variety of modes---foam over the strings, foam under the strings, and Carol Kaye noted using fabric woven through the strings at the bridge. Others have noted using a hair scrunchie on the neck.

    Mostly, I find it to be unnecessary. But I am an humble player of basic notes and technique.
    Starky-kun likes this.
  14. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Ditto on finding it unnecessary, but I don't have a goal of making studio-quality recordings.
    Starky-kun likes this.
  15. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    For me the A string gets muted during the open E by touching the fretting pinky lightly on the A string. The rest just mutes naturally. Other times I'll mute with another finger on the plucking hand. I don't think about it much, I just do it.
  16. Exactly this. It's a basic skill and if I think about it I'm more likely to screw it up than if I just play.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    Pick players are the best at muting and playing with a pick is looked down upon by many here.

    I mute, I slap, I use a pick, and fingers ... and more ...
  18. Muting is super important. When I was starting out many years ago, I just muted with whatever finger to keep the strings from ringing out. It became second nature like the other posters are saying. When I bought a 5 string for playing in church, muting became even more important so I shedded on the floating thumb technique and got it under my fingers pretty quickly. Now I'm back to the 4 string and picking up palm muting to bring out a rounder tone and a more subtle feel out of the bass. It seems like knowing how to dampen the string is almost as important as knowing how to make it sing.
  19. ^^^
    So important you said it twice. Lol
    fffreddy and Starky-kun like this.
  20. So mute happens?
    Not naturally for me. I've spent a lot of time learning how to mute and still do. For several years I would only play notes that can ring out. But now I use lots of different techniques to reduce unwanted sounds, to define the length of a note or add some flavor.
    I use either hand, fingers, thumbs, pick, palm or a combination of them. It all depends on what is required, and what is available. With more experience and practice under my belt, I don't need to focus on it as much. But I often get better results after I put a little thought into it and experiment.