Fret buzz when lifting fingers to mute strings

So I just finished “My Sharona” in the fast workout of the course and I decided to record myself to hear how the performance sounds. I was unpleasantly surprised when I heard all of the annoying buzzing especially when I lift my fingers up.

Listen to my performance and you will hear it very clearly especially during the octave part when I lift my pinky finger to mute the string. It’s audible in other parts as well but this one is especially annoying. Anyone got any tips how to fix this? I started the course about 3 weeks ago and I know my playing is not meant to be perfect but this is really annoying.

Here’s the audio:


I think this too is one of those things that’s just going to improve with practice. (Super unhelpful answer, I know… Hopefully others can chime in with some actual tips.) Take a look at Bad Moon Rising in the B2B first 50, 99% of the song is 8th notes followed by 8th note rests, it’s great for practicing this kind of muting at a slower tempo.


You’re not the first and also definitely not the only one. Something for your reading pleasure:


Yeah, that’s one of those things that I don’t think you can do anything different to improve because the muscles just aren’t capable of it when you start. It honestly magically gets better as you build strength, dexterity and speed over time.


Practice will help mate BUT I must say you’re being a little hard on yourself too. I wouldn’t be too unhappy that performance


Hi @Noisembryo,
I agree with the responses posted, time and practice will improve this, you’re timing is pretty good for 3 weeks in😎
Keep up the good work,
Cheers Brian


Yeah @Noisembryo I agree with @TNKA36, that sounds pretty good.

String muting remains an issue for me as well. I don’t have a way or secret or anything but I can say what I’ve noticed is that as time passed, my fingers got used to the long reaches at the low end of the fretboard, and as they became more comfortable I noticed instead of having clawed fingers, they became way more relaxed flat, let’s say lazy, and I now get muting From the E onto the A string and A to the D string, just because my fingers partly rest on the string below. But I still have lots of work to do.


It’s an ongoing thing, always a challenge, that gets better over time as you start to subconsciously just do it. But I’m coming up on two years out of the course now and it’s still something I work on every time I play.


Fret not! (pardon the pun) As others have stated, this is normal and will improve somewhat with time. Question though, is this happening frequently with just your pinky on ALL strings, or is it one particular string? The reason I ask is, if a string is too low and close to the frets it will continue to rattle against the fret for a second after you release it. This is just a thought. If that’s not the case, then practice and patience will cure it.
BTW @Noisembryo, I listened to the recording and it’s pretty awesome for someone who only started 3 weeks ago, and the fret noise didn’t bother me a bit.


Thank you all for your replies but I don’t think this problem will go away with time. As a matter of fact after scouring the internet up and down I came to the conclusion that this is just a nature of the beast.

You see I don’t have that problem when playing on single string or playing slower tunes. This becomes audible on faster tempos and only when playing 5th’s, octaves or basically anything that involves string crossing. When you pluck fretted string and then release the pressure but still not lifting your finger away from string (ie. left hand muting), that string still vibrates so it’s going to buzz on it’s way up no matter what. This is just physics and I’m not aware of any left hand technique that can elevate this problem. I’ve seen people recommending laying all your fingers across the string but good luck playing anything faster with that. Another thing that works is using my thumb instead of index finger which gives me extra finger to do the muting but I don’t like playing like this…work great for octaves though.

Only thing I’ve seen that completely removes this issue is using your right hand to mute, but this involves some serious finger gymnastics that would require rethinking everything I learned so far and it’s just not worth it. Check this video of Garry Willis (starts at 11:48) and he is talking about exact issue:

Gary Willis Progressive Bassics

After watching this video I kind of felt discouraged so I decided to check as many isolated bass lines I could find to hear how they sound. If we are talking soul / funk / motown / jazz / blues genres, these guys play with their tone rolled off and without treble so that buzz is barely audible. Rock / Metal genres have very trebly / metallic sound going on so this kind of buzzing comes natural at those settings. But all those bass lines had something in common, THEY ARE NOT CLEAN SOUNDING and this is something I foolishly obsessed over.

So anyway, I decided to just continue practicing and play the damn thing cause it’s awesome :smiley:


That’s the right attitude @Noisembryo,
What ever works for you, just remember everyone is different :+1:
Cheers Brian


Well, just was having/especially noticing this as I was working on the semi-weekly song challenge. Working on another brick, and it was driving me crazy.

So, where are we with this? is it physics and will happen unless I 2 hand damp/mute? Will it improve with time? Even as I was trying different techniques-like lifting faster, gentler fretting, sometimes it would improve and other times it wouldn’t. Also my pinky in particular seems bad…maybe it’s a strength thing and will improve? I dunno at this point, I’m probably not making much sense. :roll_eyes:

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I notice the same issue. When I first started learning the teacher said “Turn down the bass on the amp, turn the treble up, turn up the tone pot on the bass and practice” “When you have eliminated thru practice all the noise then make adjustments to the amp and bass to find YOUR sound”!! I like playing with low action or maybe lower then normal action. When lifting off the strings on the heavy strings the lift allows the string to make noise and nothing stops that. Adjusting the amp to get rid of the higher treble noise just makes that sound go away!! Most folks says that noise is just part of playing bass and most will also say…its about playing bass not treble. There is lots of places where that noise is wanted so its also part of playing bass with a more treble tone. I do prefer clean tone…so maybe at some point as the teacher once said no noise will be there with the treble up all the way and bass down all the way!!


One thing that helps is to look at lifting your finger as a two-phase motion. You sort of defret the note but let your finger sit on the string for a short moment, to kill the vibration. Then you lift your finger to move it.

Takes a whole lot of practice and is hard to do playing fast. But helps this issue a lot.


Just wanted to mention that Bad Moon Rising is next up in the 100 week challenge. You can practice fretting hand muting and submit a cover all at the same time! :slight_smile:


You are so right on that…