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Thread: Tech Question for Bassists (or Guitarists)

  1. #1
    Member since 7/13/2000 Hal...'s Avatar
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    Tech Question for Bassists (or Guitarists)

    Was watching a video of Blind Faith and noticed Ric Grech has a piece of foam stuck under the strings between the bridge and the last pickup (see photo).

    Reason?


    RG's bass.jpg
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  2. #2
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    It mutes the strings a little making the notes die off a little faster.

    See this Q&A from a search I just did

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/foa...f-bass.563657/

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    If you watch the Neal Morse Sola Scriptura and Beyond DVD, that wonder kid guitarist, Paul Bielatowicz kept a hair scrunchie on the headstock, just behind the nut. When he was about to do some fancy tapping, he would move the scrunchie in front of the nut to mute all the other strings.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    If you watch the Neal Morse Sola Scriptura and Beyond DVD, that wonder kid guitarist, Paul Bielatowicz kept a hair scrunchie on the headstock, just behind the nut. When he was about to do some fancy tapping, he would move the scrunchie in front of the nut to mute all the other strings.
    Actually looks like a Gruv Gear Fret Wrap, which they developed in response to guitarists using hair scrunchies. It performs a similar function as a foam mute, though you can have the Fret Wrap tied pretty loosely so you are only dampening sympathetic ringing, primarily when tapping. That is the Fret Wrap's primary purpose.

    The foam mute by the bridge, or string dampeners (like the ones on Jaco's bass, before he ripped them off) were used extensively in the 60s - 70s, particularly in the studio. I've experimented with both a mute and Fret Wraps, but in the end don't use either, even on my 50s reissue P bass. I can get enough mute from my palm when needed, and overall prefer a somewhat more open sound. But mutes can sound great in the right circumstance.

    Bill

  5. #5
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    The Gruv Gear Fret Wrap is a good product.

    Sometimes I think muting strings is more important than the actual playing of a note!

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Home-made Jimmy Clip.

  7. #7
    Member wideopenears's Avatar
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    Original Fender P Bass had this "mute" as standard equipment, actually. It's an interesting sound.....big tubby attack and a very quick decay with muted highs throughout.
    "And this is the chorus.....or perhaps it's a bridge...."

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    If you're a good enough bassist, you can use your right hand/heal/thumb to mute it all you want, that thing seems unnecessary I think, unless I'm missing something.

  9. #9
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    My '79 Jazz Bass has the foam mute glued onto the underside of the chrome bridge/pickup cover. I immediately removed the whole thing along with the thumbrest and neck pickup chrome guard.

  10. #10
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Muting strings is one of the hardest things for me to do on bass. It's something I don't think I'll ever be good at. I somehow don't think any of these muting methods would be for me though.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    Muting strings is one of the hardest things for me to do on bass. It's something I don't think I'll ever be good at. I somehow don't think any of these muting methods would be for me though.
    I can mute with the side of my hand when using a pick, but not when using my fingers to attack the strings.

    Even so, I don't think the mute on the bridge cover, or a piece of foam under the strings, really gives the same type of effect as palm-muting. It's more to dampen the sustain to give the instrument more of a standup bass sound. Depending on the amount of mute you use, you still get some sustain. A palm mute pretty much kills off the sustain instantly, which is good for staccato playing, but I don't think gives you a standup bass sound.

    I'm not a fan of mutes, and I'm really not a fan of bridge or pickup covers. If I needed a mute, I'd put some foam under the strings, trying to use something that lessened, but didn't totally kill the sustain.

    Bill

  12. #12
    Rickenbacker basses have a rubber mute at the bridge too, adjustable with two finger-turnable screws. The mute on my 4001 was already dried out and hard when I bought it (1974) so I've never used it, but I've always used the side of my right hand as a constantly adjusting organic mute Easily go from tight, short and punchy to full-on sustain/clank, and everything inbetween, from one note to the next as desired.

    Plasmatopia - you'll find a way if you keep trying, It adds so much more expressive and dynamic possibliities to playing. How do you typically play? I pick with the side of the thumb or use a plectrum, so muting with the same hand is easy.

    BD
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  13. #13
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Drake View Post

    Plasmatopia - you'll find a way if you keep trying, It adds so much more expressive and dynamic possibliities to playing. How do you typically play? I pick with the side of the thumb or use a plectrum, so muting with the same hand is easy.

    BD
    www.bdrak.com

    I play bass with my fingers and have been resistant to using a pick since I am used to picking on guitar. I'm used to the string spacing on guitar and don't want to confuse my right hand with the string spacing of the bass. I'm trying to train myself to move my thumb (which I often anchor on the pickup) along with my fingers as I play on the D and G strings so my thumb is muting the E and/or A. It feels weird though, since I feel I'm losing that anchor as a reference. Palm muting would be soooo much more convenient, as that is pretty natural at this point (at least when it comes to guitar).
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  14. #14
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    I can mute with the side of my hand when using a pick, but not when using my fingers to attack the strings.

    Even so, I don't think the mute on the bridge cover, or a piece of foam under the strings, really gives the same type of effect as palm-muting. It's more to dampen the sustain to give the instrument more of a standup bass sound. Depending on the amount of mute you use, you still get some sustain. A palm mute pretty much kills off the sustain instantly, which is good for staccato playing, but I don't think gives you a standup bass sound.

    I'm not a fan of mutes, and I'm really not a fan of bridge or pickup covers. If I needed a mute, I'd put some foam under the strings, trying to use something that lessened, but didn't totally kill the sustain.

    Bill

    I hear you. I wouldn't want to kill the sustain. I need a mute that quickly rises up against the E and A strings anytime I start playing up on the D and G.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  15. #15
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Anthony Jackson often plays with a pick and mutes a lot (listen around the 3. minute):


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