I just got my bass back from getting it set up and what a difference! I was just wondering though, is it possible for the action to be too low? On most frets I can mute the strings by just placing my finger on the string, but when I play notes on the 1st fret, even when my finger lightly rests on the string I can still feel it vibrating. The only way I seem to be able to stop it is with my plucking hand. Is this normal?
You need a bit of a tweak. Check out this video:
Not sure if I understand. You mean you feel the strings vibrating when you try to mute?
It requires a bit more pressure to mute the strings so close to the nut as you are trying to mute a very long vibrating wave from basically the end point. Try using more than one finger, or more pressure. The technique will come with time.
I have a similar problem. My go-to bass is a multi-scale and the low E is so long that a mere single finger is powerless to stop the vibrations, especially in the lower frets. I had to adapt my muting to use multiple fingers whenever possible and combine with right hand muting to pick up the slack when an extra left finger just isn’t available.
It’s then that you realize that all these tutorials and guides are nothing more than starting points. Every guitar is different. Every song is different. Every player is different. As a great philosopher once said: “Improvise, adapt and overcome”.
Yes, that’s right. It’s especially bad on the E string. I also switched from rounds to flatwounds, so I don’t know if that would make a difference too.
Flat wounds generally don’t sustain for as long but the initial sounds still behave relatively the same. It’s just going to take technique and practice.
I find that, when I mute, two fingers an inch apart whenever possible does the trick. Also, on the plucking hand, loading/resting the next plucking finger on the string itself helps.
I experimented with different amounts of pressure. Less doesn’t do anything and more and I’m either fretting a note or the string touches the fret, like it’s sort of like a mini hammer-on. I didn’t have an issue muting strings before the setup, but now they are just so close to the frets there is no room at the 1st fret.
sounds like your nut might be cut a bit too low perhaps.
Did you switch after the setup? Flats are generally have larger gauge than rounds that usually requires another tweak to make it right.
Like everyone else said here, there’s more than one way to mute the string, you just have to slow the section down and find the best route for that.
Oh crud I completely missed where you said it wasn’t happening until you put on the flats. I had the same thing happen with my J-bass when I put flats on and all it took was a tiny tweak to the action height to make up for the thicker flat strings. All you need is one of the allen wrenches that came with the guitar or just an appropriately sized allen wrench from your local hardware store (and you can look up online which size you need specifically for your guitar).
Sorry about that.
I had the setup done with the flat strings. I just took it back to the shop that set it up and we determined it’s probably my technique (or lack thereof). Like you and others have said, there is more than one way to mute. Thanks for the help!
It doesn’t buzz anywhere and the action feels great and I have no other issues than the 1st fret, so I think it’s probably me, but the tech said he could raise the action for me after I try it a while. It is a J-bass.
One last thing, as I think about it: make sure you’re not plucking too hard. It was a bad habit I got into early on and also resulted in a similar buzzing on lower frets. I had a tendency to practice without my amp and to compensate I was absolutely going to town on the plucking.
Once I stopped playing unplugged and started letting the amp do the work, that problem went away. If your plucking doesn’t sound loud enough, crank up the volume until it sounds right.
Actually, I’d encourage anyone to learn to plug hard the right way. I can play with all kinds of dynamic and articulation now but still struggling with plugging it hard on on songs I need to dig in. Forget any Geddy Lee songs I can’t dig it hard enough even when I try, lol.