Muting unwanted harmonics

Hey good folks

I’m trying to learn Livin’ On A Prayer, classic rock tune. The main riff is a mix of open E string and fretting on the 5th and 7th frets of the E and A strings.

With my current (and obviously not good enough) muting technique I’m getting a ton of unwanted harmonics coming through. I’m trying to fret away from the harmonic node but it doesn’t sound as good, and I feel like I can’t mute with either hand since I’m jumping between the E and A strings fairly quickly. I can’t use a fret wrap since I need the open E string.

How can I improve my technique to avoid this? Obviously I need to mute better but I just don’t know how.


Problem solves. :laughing:


Nope, definitely didn’t solve my problem.

I learned this piece some time ago and unfortunately there is no easy trick to avoid unwanted sounds… This is what learning the right technique is all about :sob: You must learn to synchronize your right and left hand in muting the strings (and yes, it can be done at the same time)…
That main riff, it took me an >>insane<< amount of time to get it almost right. Start slowly, control what your hands are doing, rinse and repeat. After -many- tries, you will do it automatically…

But! I’ll try to get back to this song tomorrow (it’s almost midnight in my place), maybe I’ll be able to write some specific tips :see_no_evil:


@Hann is right. It takes time to learn certain phrase. If it’s too much for your system don’t overload it. Just take it really slow. Until your brain has build up the awareness and your body lock it in as a muscle memory.

Plus we are wired differently so don’t be afraid to explore other route. There’s more than one way to play the same note. When I’m stuck I usually find the alternative route that may serves me better than the conventional.

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I returned to this song, but as I didn’t get any feedback, so I don’t know if it makes sense to write it all…
But I will always be happy to exchange experiences :wink:

One thing you might try. Stuff a piece of foam under all your strings right in front of the bridge. Tony Levin discovered this trick when they recorded sledgehammer. He was getting sounds that he did not want so he pulled a diaper out of his kids diaper bag and shoved it under the strings between the bridge and the bridge pick up. It provided just a slight amount of muting and it actually improved his sound.

You might try that, I have a piece of foam under my strings for just that purpose. It provides just a hint of string drag which stops harmonics but still allows the note to come through when you pluck it.

I read this at lunch and just came home and played it. I play it finger style and had no muting problems. You want to make sure when you pluck the A string that you pull through the A string and your finger comes to rest on the E string and that is how you mute the E string on this song. Whether it’s your middle or index finger they need to pull through the A to rest on the E. I mute my A string with my fretting hand index finger.

Also, you didn’t say if you are playing with a pick or fingers and which string you were having a hard time muting.

After all this time, i still have muting issues with this particular bassline. I get where you are coming from.
It’s gotten better for me, but I’m also still not satisfied with it. And the only thing i can think is that guy played it so much that he naturally mutes it really well. Plus you are hearing a hyper-engineered studio cut-how did he sound in a live setting or in his garage on a Thursday afternoon?

Learning to play bass has been a dream come true for me. I never thought I’d be able to do it, and especially not do it well enough to feel like i could actually be happy with it-that being said, if I’m comparing my ability and tone after 18 months in front of a computer in my spare time and a professional musician in a fully stacked studio situation-I’m probably not going to sound as good as that guy.

Just my two cents, because i think you provably sound awesome when you consider the situation like this. Keep making thumping noises, i promise you can find it!

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