Residual fret noises while playing

I’m don’t know exactly how to describe this, but I’ll do my best…

When I’m playing really fast and doing a lot of string jumping and hopping from fret to fret, I get a lot of residual noise as my ringers release a string and go to another fret. It gets worse as I play faster. The result is a lot of unwanted sounds, like wind chimes in the background as I’m playing. I don’t know if I’m describing this right but it’s the best I can do.
It ruins the music, plus it’s very distracting as I’m trying to concentrate on learning.
I hope this make sense, and I hope someone has a suggestion as to how I can improve my technique.



This is the most normal thing ever. For me, it was happening because I was fretting too hard and basically doing a pull-off when releasing the note. Plus, I was not good at muting. I’m still not, but I wasn’t then either :slight_smile:

It will naturally get better over time. At least mine did.



Yeah, muting came to mind right off the bat, and I’m sure that has something to do with it. But here I am thinking, “Index, middle, index, middle, this string that string, this fret, that fret, keep up with the beat, index, middle, pinky, ring finger, middle, index, etc.”
(damn, I’m worn out just from typing all that)
With all that, it’s hard to think about the subtleties such as muting.


This is hard to describe, but what I found with myself, I was fretting really hard and then kind of just ripping my finger off the fretted string when moving to a new note. After I realized that, over time (and I am not close to all the way there yet) I have started doing more of a two-stage movement where I release the pressure on the fretted note, and then move my finger from the (lifted) string. None of this was conscious or intentional though, it was more like I became aware of what I was doing and then just kind of started adapting subconsciously, and it slowly started to get better. I know that isn’t very helpful.

That may or may not be what’s going on with you, all I know is what I was doing that caused a similar effect. One of the more experienced folks will have better advice.


I don’t have this problem but I grabbed my basses and figured out how to recreate it. I concentrated on not muting anything with my plucking hand and yeah… a lot of noise. It’s not too bad on the 4 string but on the 6 it becomes a cacophony.

I also found that if I don’t lift my fretting fingers straight off the fretboard I get a little “slur”, not quite a pull-off but probably what @howard is talking about.

Another thing I noticed is how I mute. I never really thought about it and can’t say I do it consciously but I play other stringed instruments and must have developed a muting technique somewhere along the line.

When I play I don’t anchor my thumb, it’s always following my plucking fingers and muting the strings above the string I’m playing (except when I’m playing the thinnest 2 string) so my thumb mutes the E and A strings on my 4 string and B,E,A and D on my 6 string.

My fretting finger also tends to mute the next thinner string.

Now I’m not at all saying play like I do. I’m sure I’d get quite the dressing down if a real bass player saw my technique, lol, but thanks for being the impetus for some self-examination. :slight_smile:


Don’t tell Josh, but I also use the “floating thumb” technique. Early on I saw a video of someone who uses that technique on the bass, so I tried it and have been incorporating it into my practice. I find it much easier and comfortable than the anchoring the thumb technique. It does help in muting the strings above the one I’m plucking, but leaves the strings below free to rattle.
I like your other points and will see if those help. Thank you!


Don’t worry, @Pampurrs . . . I felt the same way trying to keep track of everything.

@JoshFossgreen is hoping to get everyone started without forming bad habits. It can feel overwhelming at first, but the more you practice, the better it will get.

It won’t happen overnight, and you’re building “muscle memory” along the way.

Hang in there and all best, Joe . . . :slight_smile:

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My in-person teacher was adamant that I didn’t try to rush things because that unwanted noise is probably due to bad technique. I hope I’m not teaching anybody’s granny how to suck eggs, or stepping on Josh’s toes, but my mantra is “slowly and accurately first, then speed it up”.

It sounds like the problem I still have with muting. It almost seems like a whole technique in itself, but having recognised it’s importance, I’ve started to hear bad technique on plenty of youtube clips of amateurs playing fast/complicated pieces that are probably beyond their ability but they’re not hearing all the overnoise.


Very well described, @Pampurrs.
The comments above me have some great details and great points. I think the one I will choose to rally behind is this:

Speed is a real good way to put a magnifying glass on a bad habit, or noisy technique. Start a thing real slow, and then go faster by 2-5 bpm at a time. When you start to hear the noise, focus in and see what it is that has started to fall apart.
As the tempo speeds up, playing with control and intention gets harder and harder. If you can work through to that threshold of tempo, where you’re just barely holding on, you can usually spot - more specifically - what the problem is, and what’s making the weirdness.


Get some LaBella Deep Talkin’ strings.
The are round wire with a very thin nylon wrap.
No noise and still sounds like round wound.

I have them on all my basses.

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Thanks. I looked on Amazon and there’s a whole bunch of LaBella Deep Talkin’ strings. Which ones should I get?


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Yes, they’re LaBella Deep Talkin’
750T. They come in black or white(gray)
and med. or light gauge.

I like the light gauge-G string .50 etc. easy to press against fret board.

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