Right Hand Muting (Floating Thumb & More!) (L#38)

in Technique

In this lesson, I'm talking about "right hand muting". There are various ways to mute the strings with your plucking hand on the bass, and it's important that you know and use at least one of them. If you're not convinced, the first example I give in the video, in which I play a scale without muting any strings should make it pretty obvious! Yes… there's a lot of noise going on and it sounds... horrible!

There are two basic techniques to mute the strings you don't play on the bass:

  • The 'floating thumb' technique --used by guys like Gary Willis, Todd Johnson, etc.
  • The unnamed technique ;), which consists in muting the unplayed strings with the ring finger and pinky (although I call it 'index' in the video, I meant 'pinky' or 'little finger', sorry!). This technique is used by guys like John Patitucci, Jaco Pastorius, among others.

No muting technique is better than the other and there are great players using each of them. Plus, you can use both, depending on the context… A video with nice close-ups should make all that clearer…

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