Muting tips

Hello everyone! I’ve taken on the project of trying to transcribe the excellent System of a Down song, Soldier Side from Mesmerize (which is originally played only on guitar) to bass.

It’s coming along alright, but I’m really struggling with one thing: my strings ringing like crazy.

There are a few sections where I have to play all four strings in a bit of a weird sequence (a chord with both the E and G strings, then one note on the E, then one on the G… etc), and I find there’s just all sorts of rumbling coming out of my amp.

It probably doesn’t help it’s in a lower tuning of C#-G#-C#-F#.

Any ideas or general techniques to help with muting on more complex songs?


Hail Dom.

The two tools for muting are your fretting and plucking hands.
A nice relaxed fretting hand - even if you’re going between chords, string crossings and whatever else - is the best mute/cleaner-upper you have.
I call it resting position.
Your hand should naturally fall over all the strings, comfortably muting them. That’s how your hand should just exist on the bass. Playing notes is the exception. So if you can maintain that nice muting blanket in your left hand, you can usually get though most of the ringing by making sure it is relaxed and in place and ready to quiet down all the other strings.

Second tool is plucking hand.
The thumb, and what string it is on can do a lot to help muting - the follow through with the plucking fingers can help too.
If I’m trying to copy a guitar technique, sometimes I’ll lay the pinky side of my hand across the strings just before the bridge and use a thumb-and-two-fingers plucking/fingerstyle technique to do chords/string-crossing and still be able to mute.
Also, palm muting with a pick can be effective - same thing, the side of the pinky side of the hand against the strings just before the bridge.

Them’s my tips!
Hope they help.

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