Some muting advice (agree or disagree?)

So I have noticed something that I am not sure how to fix.

I was practicing left hand muting last night and I’m doing pretty well with it, except on frets with strong natural harmonics (especially the 5th and 7th frets). On those frets I get a solid harmonic after-ring when trying to mute with the fretting finger after lifting.

I assume this is normal, I was just wondering if there’s anything to do about it, or just mute those frets using a different method?


@howard - yessir! There is something that can be done.
Harmonics are only present if the string is held at exactly and only one spot… and if that spot creates a harmonic.
If you can get any other part of your hand / fingers it will kill the harmonic. If you can get anyTHING at all on the string, it will kill the harmonic.

Hope that helps?


Cool. What I was doing was just killing the harmonic with my right hand but I hadn’t thought to try moving the left hand finger a bit. Thanks!


Absolutely. You don’t even need an extra digit - like you said in your comment - just adjusting the finger so more of it gets on the string. Anything to confuse that harmonic.


HI everyone - really enjoyed the discussion in this thread.
I know it is an old thread - byt found it the best thread to write in…

Muting is my nemesis, he he :slight_smile: And oh yes, I am a beginner :wink: And will be forever, unless I can tame the perfectionist in me, LoL

I keep coming back to module 5 lesson 4 (funny how I can remember these few lessons - like billy jean, he he - that gives me nightmares, LoL).

After the two 1/8th notes in the beginning of the third bar that have to be muted right away, I have a hard time figuring out the best technique to mute. I hate using the palm technique for something simple like this, but it seems to be what is working for me - even on the slow workout…
Looking at the video, enjoying Josh playing this - it seems like he is “simply” muting using his left hand. My problem here is - after attempting this for hours and hours, that I cannot find a way to “lift” the index and pinky fingers without string buzzing against the fret just as I am lifting… I am guessing this is how “it is done” when Josh is playing?
What are your thoughts on muting this (otherwise simple) bass line?
Hope for some good slaps to push me in the right direction, he he :slight_smile:


@Jesper Welcome to BassBuzz!

When you have time, join us on the Introduce Yourself! thread.

You are not alone. Billie Jean is (arguably) the most difficult piece of music in the course. Most people that have talked about it on the forum didn’t mange to play it at the fast speed until after they had finished the course. That bass line is terribly misleading. It only seems simple.

I’m not sure exactly where your talking about with the muting but I can tell you that muting is a process and it’s something where you just have to use whatever finger is available at the time.

If you can be a little more specific about where you’re trying to mute, I can try to tell you how I play it.

Warming up this old topic as well, think my question/concern fits very well.
I just finished Module 2 and noticed, that when muting the E (or A String) with my right hand, I sometimes overshoot and seem to punch my string on a fred making some weird noise, which indeed is not picked up by the Amp but audible when training in the living room.
Is this normal? Do I need to be more gentile? Any tips?



As far as I know you should just have your fingers on the string without any pressure. Just gently laying on top of the strings so that “overshooting” puzzles me a bit. Are you pressing the strings a little bit when muting? Because that’s not necessary. Just touching the strings is enough.


It happens out of the flow of playing. as I am playing the E string twice for eight notes, my fingers still have some momentum when putting them to rest on that string.


It’s subtle. You want to use just enough pressure to get the muting you want. It takes practice but it will happen. :+1:

1 Like

Alright, will practice then :slight_smile:
Was wondering if I lowered the action too much but from looking at it I don’t think it’s the case.



Victor also uses his hair scrunchie as a mute. The first P bass had mutes under the bridge ashtray. Carole Kay uses felt over her bridge.


It’s hard to know what’s going on here without seeing and hearing -
If your right hand doesn’t stop at the next string (say, stop on the A when you’re plucking the D) then the angle of your pluck may be off.
You want to come through the string so that the next lower string is a clear and unavoidable stopping point for your Right Hand.

Not sure if this helps, but if you want more specific tips, please do post a vid, and we’ll hone in!


here is a video of what I mean password is “bb”
as well as some pictures of my action on Fred 12 and 24

plus a bonus of my neck bending when pushing on Fred 1 and Fred 12


Your action height looks fine to me.

When muting with my right hand, I don’t push down on the top like that. Instead I just touch the string as if I were about to pluck it, but don’t pluck. Sometimes I will leave my ring finger just sitting on a string like that to mute it as well.



Thanks so much for the video.
I now totally understand.

Yes - the attack of your finger coming back to the string to mute it is too hard. You have to have a more gentle touch.
Pressure without attack. That moment of attack is simulating slap bass, where your finger is hitting the string hard enough to bang it against the frets.
If you don’t like it, lighten up on the fingers.

Having said that - when I’m practicing, there are times when I LOVE hitting the strings that hard with my right hand. It adds a little percussion and rhythm to what I’m doing, and sometimes I really like the vibe.

Having said thaaaat… - most musicians you’ll play with - (particularly drummers) do NOT like it when we do this while playing with others. There are so many other people keeping rhythm, that often our little clicks and clacks are not adding anything, and are getting in the way of someone else’s part.

I’d recommend trying to lighten up the right hand so that you are in control of when it happens.
Then, if you dig it, go hog wild…
But reign it in when playing with others!


Thank you both :slight_smile:


I just finished module three, and oohh lord, I got the groove, felt flow for the first time and got rid of this sound by just adjusting the angle of the bass to have the neck a bit higher. I now start to have my fingers flow over the strings and pull less on em.

Nevertheless I noticed when muting the E-String with my thumb I sometimes hit the left magnet of the pickup which, when not touching any other strings leads to an excessive high pitched static noise. Any idea what that could be?


Dude! That’s awesome!


Anyone any tips on this? May I have to lower my pickup a bit?