Clean Sound

So I’m half way through the course (just finished “Don’t Stop Believin’”) and I tend to play quietly so I don’t disturb anyone in my family. But when they’re gone and I try to pluck loudly, I’m accidentally hitting other strings and getting lots of ringing. I’m not sure how to mute when certain notes are trying to ring out, nor how to mute when I’m working hard to use both hands already. Any tips? Is this something that’ll just get better over time? TIA!


One thing I’ve been told is don’t try to pluck heavier for more volume but rather turn the volume up on the bass and/or the amp. Keep playing lightly and you’ll likely play cleaner. Change the intensity of your plucking to emphasise notes but not to increase the volume of the whole line.

Muting is a whole other thing that I’m still working on there are many techniques. Mute the unwanted strings with your fretting hand, take your fretting finger off the note that’s playing to cut it short, mute the lower strings with your plucking hand thumb, mute the higher strings with the plucking rest stroke, palm muting. The list goes on, others here know far more than I about such things.


Thanks for the response! That’s great to know about not plucking heavy for more volume. I’ll work on other muting technique as well.


Best thing to do and learn is to play it slow. When you slow it down your brain automatically go to mute the unwanted ringing. I do this all the time and when you are back up at normal speed you’d be on autopilot.


It is something that should disappear over time with practice provided your technique is sound and proper to begin with. It’s more difficult to give you advice online without watching you play in order to assess any technique issues you may have. There are times when private lessons may be needed to help you overcome some of these issues. Online course can’t as easily do that.

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Hey, go for the hard plucking if you want to. Nothing wrong with some noise either - some of it just depends on the action, string tension, bass setup, hand angle, picking technique. Muting is a very difficult technique and it will come with practice. Just keep going! The fact that it bothers you is great news, you’ve developed a good ear for your play! :+1:

I have two tips:

  1. I tend to practice at low volume, too (tiny apartment). This can limit your dynamic play, i.e. being able to play softly and hard. Try, for example, to play softer in the verse (to help the vocalist) and harder in the chorus, (to get the crowd going). :wink:

  2. Like @Al1885 said, slow it down to be able to pay attention to your plucking more. Maybe watch your right hand as you pluck. What changes? Do you dig below the strings? Is it the angle? Experiment with that and don’t be shy to pluck hard. You could be a punk rocker, so some string noise would be required.

Long story short, as long as you have control, noise is a choice. :pbass:


Plugging is such a controversial issue for many.

It’s like a golf swing. Some schools said you need to be in control so swing in control, some schools said to swing as hard as you can when you start because it’s a very difficult thing to do when you are already have an accomplished swing.

Find some happy medium in the beginning and try to learn both if you can. I can tell you this plugging the strings hard is (think Geddy Lee) is one of the most difficult thing for me to do. I can probably do it for a fill or two but definitely not an entire song and definitely not on a gig. That kind of intensional intensity will definitely throw off my time and make me too conscious and you can’t play with that much attention to your playing, you’ll mess up every other notes. :joy: