String noise with high gain

How do you all deal with string noise when playing with high gain? I’m probably over doing it on the gain in the first place but would love to hear if anyone has some technique suggestiong to try to reduce the sound of fingers sliding on your string, besides just using something like a noise gate.

1 Like

Flats do wonders. If you don’t want them, think about half rounds… When it comes to finger movement noise, on lines where I definitely don’t want it, I do an instant-muting with the left hand–think ghost notes. Or, I mute the string entirely with my picking hand while making sure my fretting hand is totally off of strings. You have correctly narrowed the culprit down to gain. Gain sounds awesome but it is basically a magnifier of technique. You might even consider using a glove on your fretting side if it’s too fiddly to try to control.
Don’t give up–just keep shredding.


The obvious suggestion is don’t drag the strings.

You may also want to drop the treble a bit too. There are many product you can use to reduce string noise like FingerEase, Dry’N’Glide, and string lube.


Or you could accept that it’ll get drowned out in the mix and keep thumpin’


True that!


If you haven’t listened to any famous isolated bass lines, you should. It will give you a better idea of how much scrape and noise happens outside the practice space. I found it rather eye opening.


String noises are nice, just learn to love them :slight_smile:

They will get lost in the mix anyway.


That’s a great point. So far I’ve almost exclusively listened to them in context. I’ll have to check that out!

1 Like

I definitely want to try flat wounds at some point. I think for some contexts they really sound incredible. Thanks for the suggestion!

1 Like

String noise….you’re probably dealing with a few elements simultaneously. First, as you said you’ve got the gain cranked…doesn’t matter how you play, with the gain way up you’re going to hear all the little movements. There’s no real way around it. Drop the gain, and lower the high end on your EQ. that’s where I would start.

Next I would look at the setup of your bass to make sure it’s done properly. A bad setup will contribute to fret buzz & clanking. Then it comes down to your technique. Are you fretting too hard? The extra pressure on the strings will inevitably lead to incidental contact and unwanted noise.

Remember when you’re listening to yourself play through headphones that they’re gonna pick up even the slightest noise, all of which will be drowned out in a mix. Sometimes you just have to embrace the noise…go listen to some of your favorite songs - I guarantee even in a professional studio mix you will still be able to hear string noise, especially from guitar players when they change chords.

If it is REALLY bothering you that much, try putting some flats on your bass. Won’t have the same vibrant tone you’re used to with rounds but it will definitely eliminate a lot of noise. One caveat with flats - they can mask a lot of technique issues, so I would make sure the noise you’re hoping to eliminate isn’t coming from a technique issue, otherwise you’ll play flats and think everything is fine, but all you’ll be doing is reinforcing poor technique that will hinder you when you go back to rounds.


My poor technique causes so much string noise unless I use flat wounds. Flat wounds make me sound so much better!! I really do not like how much noise regular strings make and now I am totally spoiled to the flat wound.

1 Like