Struggling with ghost notes

Been trying to learn some slightly harder songs lately. Most of them use a bunch of ghost notes. I’m taking it slow to get the rhythms right but there is one, very frustrating problem I keep running in to: Many times when muting the string I accidentally trigger some kind of harmonic on it…and not good ones either.

So instead of a “thump” I get a “bwing”.

Obviously I’m doing something wrong but can’t seem to figure out a way to fix it. Anyone have similar problems and can give some advice?


Ghost notes are basically a dud note it can be played just about anywhere but it’s usually more helpful to play on the note or path to the next position to maximize the economy of motion.

It’s actually pretty easy to get the notes right in it’s on but it’s never easy to get them right in the song, lol. The key is to go slow and not play them all on the first go. Take your time and add the ghost notes one at a time until you got them all.


There are some places along the string that are prone of causing harmonics, the 12th, 7th and 5th fret. It could be helpful to mute the string with more than one finger, that should kill of the possible harmonic vibration and only leave the thud.


I second @Krescht, the location of your left hand and using multiple fingers matters a lot.

One tip I have is to mute between harmonic spots. For example, if you play on the fifth fret, mute either over 4 or 6, depending on where you go afterwards.

You can also expect better ghost notes if you practice lifting your fingers up and then re-fretting the same note. There’s an in-between pressure level that comes with practice.



A bit late with my reply but I’m working on ghost notes and find Rich Brown’s videos very helpful, especially with working out where your own ghost notes feel the most comfortable:


I know everyone gets really really scared of Primus; but I highly recommend it for exactly this.

Look up laquerhead. Its almost entirely ghost notes. You’ll learn how to sequence your fretting hand percussive mute, along with your right hand thumb ghost notes.

But you dont even have to look it up, because I can just explain it right here. On your fretting hand, open your palm wide, then bring all four fingers down in a completely random area of your neck. You’re not doing a hammer on. Your just making a thwump sound. Then with your now palmed neck, give your E string a smack with your right hand near your pickups. Since you’re not fretting anything, it’ll just ram the string down on to the end of the neck with another percussive thwap. If you want to add to it, finish it with a pluck with your right hand pinky on the G string. Let that ring, then quickly do another left hand palm mute.

The timing will make sense as you practice it.