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Muting notes?


AlexMC

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One of the hardest things about playing bass for me is muting strings to prevent note overlap. Fretted notes can be muted by removing pressure from those fingers. but how do you mute open strings? I am trying to rest my forefinger across all strings after each note to kill any open strings, but it requires some contortion.

 

Also is it considered bad form to barre multiple strings... and if so how do you mute barred strings without affecting the others in the barre?

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Combination of right and left hand muting 4tw :) It's hard, and takes lots of practice. Mostly it's right hand technique for what you're talking about though, with muting open strings.

 

Say I'm playing a riff on the 7th fret, between open E and octave, and B and all that, and I want the E's not to overlap, I make sure my index finger or my middle finger comes to rest on the E to mute it before I play the high E.

 

Also, you can also mute with your open left hand on the frets, slap-style. The important thing is to get contact with two points simultaneously on the string, e.g. index and pinkie. If you mute with one finger such as your index, you are likely to get harmonics which will dirty up your sound and not in the good way.

 

I barre a lot, particularly for a flat 7th, but it requires one of two things -- either you're letting notes ring artistically, or you're right hand muting.

 

I very very often use my right hand ring finger to mute a string, if necessary.

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I've been forcing myself to use fingers rather than a pick but find a pick SO much easier. Is it ok to sorta give up on the fingerstyle and opt for picking full time, or should I put the effort in to learn fingerstyle properly?

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I've been forcing myself to use fingers rather than a pick but find a pick SO much easier. Is it ok to sorta give up on the fingerstyle and opt for picking full time, or should I put the effort in to learn fingerstyle properly?

 

 

I don't think you should ever stop trying to improve your fingerstyle, just practice it like you would anything else, as an individual skill, and start with the basics. If you're learning songs or playing in a band, use the pick for that stuff and work on your fingerstyle in the practice room.

C7

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I use my little finger on my right hand to mute the strings a lot when left hand muting just isn't possible. I just lay my finger across the strings close to the saddles. Almost like palm muting but not as severe, just kinda dampens the notes.

 

I agree with C7 about working on fingerstyle at home and using a pick with the band until you can get up to speed. Otherwise if you push yourself too hard you might hurt yourself.

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I don't think you should ever stop trying to improve your fingerstyle, just practice it like you would anything else, as an individual skill, and start with the basics. If you're learning songs or playing in a band, use the pick for that stuff and work on your fingerstyle in the practice room.

C7

 

 

 

Agreed - and as a bassist/guitarist, I mute with both left and right hands - whichever is the most convenient at the moment... I have a very clean picking technique, so I *usually* don't have to stay on something to keep it muted... For the right hand, I *think* I use the palm or butt of my hand to mute more than I do the fingers that aren't holding the pick - but I don't really pay that much attention to it - I just play, and it happens as needed...

 

I've had people rag me about using a pick, and sometimes just to mess with them, I'll hold the pick in my pinkie while playing the same stuff finger-style(while making a face at them, haha)... I can probably play 75% of my material with fingers - without any practice - but don't, because I prefer the tone and more controllable attack I get by playing with a pick... I still have to play some stuff with fingers to get the tone I need at that moment without changing my EQ any - and that works just fine for me...

 

Disclaimer: I'm only a straight up rock bassist, and hardly, if ever slap or pop - so, YMMV... *IF* I played different styles that required slap and pop, I'd play with fingers more, and a pick less...

 

 

 

- georgestrings

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I don't have any plans to become super-fluent on the bass... I am an electric guitarist who wants to add the odd simple bassline to my own recordings.

 

I primary play rock and blues... if I could get away with using pick exclusively then that would be fine... I'm not interested in slap/pop etc.

 

What's the big deal with using fingers, anyway? Why is it considered essential on electric bass?

 

One thing I prefer about a pick is the lack of friction between pick and string. If I alternate pluck a string with my first two fingers, I can feel the friction of the pad of my finger passing over the string surface. This friction, combined with the somewhat weak picking strength of my fingers, means that there is a slight variance in the time taken to pluck a string, i.e. uneven picking speed.

 

The pick just glides over the string, hence no delay and a more even speed.

 

Anyone know what I mean?

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I don't have any plans to become super-fluent on the bass... I am an electric guitarist who wants to add the odd simple bassline to my own recordings.


I primary play rock and blues... if I could get away with using pick exclusively then that would be fine... I'm not interested in slap/pop etc.


What's the big deal with using fingers, anyway? Why is it considered essential on electric bass?


One thing I prefer about a pick is the lack of friction between pick and string. If I alternate pluck a string with my first two fingers, I can feel the friction of the pad of my finger passing over the string surface. This friction, combined with the somewhat weak picking strength of my fingers, means that there is a slight variance in the time taken to pluck a string, i.e. uneven picking speed.


The pick just glides over the string, hence no delay and a more even speed.


Anyone know what I mean?

 

 

 

I've played 37 years without a pick, but If you want to use one then by all means do so.

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