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How to learn muting

Michele C.

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Too funny! Necessity is the "mother" of invention, eh?


Muting is one of my favorite topics...hopefully some good questions/ideas will pop up...




Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006


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I wrote (not really wrote, but came up with) a really simple bass line/groove that uses 3 strings and hits right over some of the major harmonics of the fretboard. It's what I use to practice, warm up, and make sure my muting is feeling right. I figure if I can mute the strings during this exercise, I'm on the right path. Only problem is, I wouldn't know how to post it on her (I wonder if I plug it into powertab and export it as an image...)


Again, it's a really simple groove, but makes you focus on muting not only strings not being played, but making sure you mute any harmonics that may come of the notes you're playing.

[Carvin] XB76WF - All Walnut 6-string fretless

[schecter] Stiletto Studio 5 Fretless | Stiletto Elite 5

[Ampeg] SVT3-Pro | SVT-410HLF


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I found that same muting lesson when my daughter, now almost 6, was 2 and 3. I ended up teaching her to play some bass. At age four she was into tapping...even taught me a few things. Not really the standard fare, (even as tapping goes) tho', more like the bass equivalent of Cecil Taylor's "tone cluster" approach. Nonetheless, I did steal some ideas from her (hey, I helped MAKE her...she owes me!)


My son is 19 mos old. And has been "helping" me with my bass playing for some time. I think he really digs the odd noises Daddy makes...oh and the music too ;-) Now, here is the thing...and this kinda freaks me out...I sing to him during the day (I am, in addition to being a full time professional musician, also a stay at home Dad) and a few weeks ago he was sitting on the floor the living room singing to himself as he played with one of his toys. The tune he was sing was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and while the words were in that unique dialect of baby talk, he was hitting the intervals! For the entire melody!. He then, several days later moved on to "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "Frere Jaques". A prodigy you think? Then read on.


I have a small 1/2 scale guitar I bought for my daughter. hands ...and she has been learning a bit of that as well as bass and piano. I keep it in the front room, and tuned to open G. It has nylon strings and not-so-good tuners, so the bass string, which should be tuned to D, had slipped and was flat. The other day my son, the 19mo old, was sitting in my lap strumming and plucking the strings as he likes to do (one of his fav games with Daddy...)when he plucks the lowest three strings, then reaches up and twists the tuner on the low string.....bringing it up to D and putting it in tune with the other strings!! I want to believe it just coincidence...but it was quite deliberate on his part.


Now...would this freak you out?



...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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