Muting technique consistency

Hey all,

Thank you in advance for the help!

My question is on muting, is it better to practice a comfortable technique or be farily fluid and flexible?

For instance, when leaving the D string snd going to the A string, there is the option to move the thumb down to the A string, the sneaky pinky or ring finger, or using a plucking finger.

Do people find it preferable to just focus on one or be able to use all 3 options for more advanced type of playing down the road?

Thanks again!


It’s a matter of what works best for you.

If the movable anchor technique (moving your thumb from the pickup to anchor on the E, A,or even D string) allows you to mute open strings sufficiently, then stick with that.

That’s what Josh teaches, primarily.

But there are alternative muting techniques taught by other instructors, such as using the ring finger, little finger, or both, depending on the situation.

If you’re just starting out, you might be better off learning the movable anchor. But if you feel more comfortable with an alternative technique, that’s OK. Just do what works for you.


Do whatever you have to do with your left and right hands to keep the strings quiet while moving around as efficiently as possible :slight_smile: I find that playing with a lot of open strings often requires you to be creative with technique.

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Muting is a killer in the beginning. You’ll probably find you are naturally doing it after a while-but there are a few tricks. The floating thumb works really well-or, touching of the string with a fretting hand finger.
A fret wrap (read: cheap hair scrunchie) works as well.
Beyond that. Welcome @johnfkelly31 !

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Yeah, I’m having a hard time muting string when I’m playing octaves. I finished yesterday the Module 12 of B2B and the strings keep ringing like crazy. Does a fret wrap helps with the issue?

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What’s your left hand doing at the time? Left hand is a very effective muting tool just as effective as right hand.

Trying to hit the notes on time and clean. Lol. Index lightly touching string below. Most of the ringing I believe is coming from the E string

If I’m not playing the E my thumb is on it. Or it’s on the A resting against the E.

When I’m fretting I rest the fingers on my left hand across the fretboard on the string’s I’m not playing.

When I use a pick I do some level of palm muting, which admittedly is a work in progress

It’s best to explore all of the muting options when you practice. Some are more Pain in the Butt than the other but the good news is eventually you won’t be practicing anymore you’d be muting it. Best muting techniques are the ones you don’t realized you are doing as subconsciously happing in the background disguised as muscle memory.

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Yeah its difficult at first but over time you’ll start a) getting used to it consciously and applying what feels right for you, and b) unconsciously, it will actually just start getting better over time.

Just keep at it and later on, play something really simple that you learnt a while ago, and youll notice the difference.

Just gotta keep playing basically :slight_smile:


This happened to me…trouble with muting had been a real source of frustration for me, but after a while, my hands sort of developed a mind of their own and began to more instinctively do what was needed.


Its weird isnt it. You just play and hear the ringing and then over time it just reduces. Im pretty sure your hands just need to keep playing and they just sort of ‘fall into place’ later. Its not an exact science but it definitely happens!


Before I even started playing bass, I’d watched a lot of videos on left and right hand technique and how important good muting was so when I finally got a bass, I spent some time right from the start working on good muting technique. I started out slow, worked on good form for both hands and it was actually pretty easy and didn’t take long. The only thing I find that can still be challenging is playing songs that are fast with a lot of open strings; that often requires a bit more planning and some extra fingers I wouldn’t normally use :slight_smile:


A cheap hair scrunchie works really well and gives your bass that custom look!


I tend to change things up depending on what I am playing. For example in the Greenday song Longview at the end of the main riff you are playing the open D string while simultaneously fretting and playing notes on the G string. My thumb remains anchored on the E string and to avoid having to move my thumb down to mute my A string I will hook my ring finger around the A.
You can see that on the tabs here:

Another time I do this is on the Rage Against the Machine song Bombtrack (still can’t nail that intro), where you are also plucking the A & D strings simultaneously which you can see on the tabs here:

In this song I am hooking the E string with my ring finger while my thumb is anchored on the pickup. That’s usually the only time I mute with the ring finger (plucking two strings at the same time).

I also occasionally use the “floating thumb” technique. So to answer your question, there’s no wrong way to mute as long as it works for you.

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