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100 thoughts on “Right hand muting (floating thumb and more!) – Bass Lesson with Scott Devine (L#38)

  1. i think adam nitti teaches this "hybrid" anchoring technique as well. i learned it from watching a video of him. you can "get by" using jaco's method, but will run into issues when you move to a 5 or 6 string bass. regardless, great lesson!

  2. Gary Willis says the technique is for better access actually and for stamina for long sessions if I don't remember wrong. It works for muting too, for sure… You need to keep that thumb ready for all situations, so keeping it on the string or on the pickup is a bad habit that has to be forgotten

  3. Interesting, your "hybrid" floating thumb technique is the same technique I currently use, which I just developed naturally as I played more and more. Good to see I shouldn't have any problem playing fast with that technique, assuming I practice enough. I feel this is by far the most natural and comfortable feeling technique.

  4. I just started playing bass 2 months ago after playing guitar for years. I have found your videos to be an excellent source of exercises and techniques. I have subscribed and look forward to working through to improve my playing. Thanks again!

  5. I got yelled at by teachers at school for using the technique that you also use. All the old bass players there simply anchored their thumb on the pickup or atmost, the E string, but I always anchor my thumb on the string above (physically above), just like you do. It was weird being told I was doing the wrong thing, when really its a an advanced/hybrid technique and works great if you practice it enough!

  6. I'm not a bass player at all, but I'm simply looking for a technique to play my bass lines and muting everything like it should be. I like that hybrid technique you explained and I'm going to learn it. Thank you very much!

  7. Thanks Scott! Quick question: I tend to use your hybrid approach, but I have some difficulty with keeping up speed on the E string because there's no lower string to stop my plucking fingers and get them ready to pluck again. Know what I'm saying? If my thumb is anchored on the pickup, should my index and middle plucking fingers be stopped by it (the thumb)?

  8. Thanks Scott for your helpful lesson! I have been playing bass for almost 12 years (btw. not a full time bassist) and six years ago I started to "clean" my playing. For that, I incorporated exactly what you do: the hybrid technique. Since then, my playing has become really clean. Two weeks ago, I got this 5 stringed bass, but when I play (using the hybrid technique), I had problems with muting the 5th string. Do you have any advice for me? maybe change the angle of my thumb anchoring? Thanks!

  9. You're a great teacher man. I haven't taken any bass lessons before, my playing has gotten to a certain level where i need to seek out more knowledge, and your videos are just what i need. Thanks for all the help!

  10. I've recently started using floating thumb. At first it was very awkward, and my shoulder muscles — front deltoid — soon got sore. Rather than doing the hybrid thing like Scott, I moved my hand forward so I could drape the forearm across the "dip" in the middle of the bass body. This anchoring substitutes for thumb anchor, and I can comfortably float the thumb for muting and harmonics. Also, my bass (Gibson short scale) sounds better plucked near the neck.

  11. scott, been trying the hybrid style of floating thumb, but what happens is my thumb nail keeps on hitting the strings, and making even more sympathetic buzz, as a reach for the high pitched strings.

  12. Thanks Mr. Scott. I've always anchored my thumb on the pickup or the lowest string but it's difficult to play fast runs on the other strings without hitting unwanted notes. I've avoided using your version of the floating thumb technique because I thought lightly anchoring my thumb on every string while playing notes on the next would slow me down. However after giving this technique a chance, I've found that I haven't lost much speed and my playing is cleaner!

  13. I always used the floating thumb but never knew what it was called until I came across Gary Willis web page. Thanks a lot though. 🙂

  14. I'm new to bass and this may be a dumb question but how are you muting the strings going back from the G string towards the E string?

  15. I am 40+ and I've been a woodwinds guy all my life. Looking for an expansion of my music making, I decided to learn bass. It's SOOO different than what I'm used to. But, your lessons are a God-send to me. I know that proper technique from the beginning is a key and you are a fantastic teacher. Thank you so much for the lessons. It's going to take a while to get good. To think, I haven't practiced scales since I was in 6th grade!

  16. Fretting hand, most likely. I'm a guitarist (just picking up the bass for some fill-in gigs) but I run similar exercises with my guitar students and the fretting hand takes care of the muting descending.

  17. Do you find this technique works fine on a 5-string? I tend to use this technique, but I sometimes have difficulty with the B string ringing out a little. Do you put the whole back of your thumb across 3 strings? Any tips for 5-string?

  18. I'm kinda confused about this.
    I've always seem people actually muting the strings by anchoring it, what you refer to as hybrid, and while I was learning I simply started doing that by myself because I saw no other way to actually get the string I wanted/avoid noise, it feels kinda weird that isn't natural to most people and it also raises a bit of a question to me.
    How did you manage to find the strings when you were a beginner if you didn't originally anchor your thumb? xD

  19. Little finger deal. Playing with a pick is whipping my ass, an far as damping is concerned. That will absolutely help with a pick.

  20. OKAY so I've been learning these techniques the last few days and there's one thing I don't get. I I play the G string I mute the D string with my picking fingers, right. Why doesn't this apply on the E string when I play A string, and A string when I play D ?

  21. This is great, but should one use the floating thumb method when quickly switching between strings? Like in Billy Jean for example.

  22. Great Lesson as always.
    Strictly speaking though Scott do you really need the little finger to mute anything? I am talking of the Jaco method here. When playing the A string the thumb can mute the E, when playing the D string the ring finger sits on the A while the thumb can still be on the E. As you said in the video when you play the G string the plucking finger can mute the D. So really you dont need to use the little finger at all unless I have missed something.

  23. Damn lol. I thought I was the only one who used the floating/anchored thumb hybrid.
    I just started about 3 months ago, and I felt the same about the other techniques. They were too awkward, and anchoring was really important. 

  24. When im decending up the strings. how do i mute the higher strings, ie moving from D to A the G and D  strings are un muted (ringing out) when using the floating thumb. So do you actually need a hybrid of the two, to make the floating thumb work

  25. hi i need some help…i have been practicing the same technique with three fingers.. but i always notice that the transition between the ring finger and middle finger is not strong enough (feels awkward and weak) but middle to index and index to ring seems relatively easier…naturally the flow is not very even especially while playing some fast stuff.

    Also after playing for a while, my fingers start to become stiff and start hurting, making it difficult to play. plz how can i fix these two problems?
        

  26. Awesome lesson Scott, i've been struggling so much with the right hand muting specially when i play in G string my A string always resonate. I think i will try your technique cause i also need to have my thumb anchored. Cheers.

  27. I notice you seem to have a mild form of hitchhiker thumb, as do I. I also mute my strings the exact same way which may have something to do with it.

  28. Wow I'm so glad I watched this because I thought I was the only person who rested my thumb on the string above whichever string I was playing. Already weird that I'm left handed but I play right handed. My only issue I will say is every time I play I find my right hand turning in this crooked position as if I were playing slap but doing it fingerstyle. I've talked to my friend Mark Peric (bassist for Planetshakers) about this and we just kind of laughed about it haha but how exactly can I fix this problem Scott. Thanks, and look forward to hearing from you soon 🙂

  29. I'm doing the floating thumb but because of the joint when I play my 5 string and rest on the G string to play the C, theres a gap to the A string and it always rings out, don't know what to do about it!

  30. If you play a fast song that involves the E and A string do I move the thumb or keep it rested on the pickup?

  31. Thanks for the video Scott! – and for others' useful comments. 🙂

    I'm trying to improve my right hand technique but I'm finding it hard to let go of my (5 year) habit of anchoring my thumb on top of the front pickup.

    If you're playing quick octaves, do you still move your thumb – or anchor your thumb for the lower note? Thanks!

  32. Pinky muting, parm muting are some other terms I have heard of. Also Gruv Gear "fret wraps" & "fump" may work if needed. But nothing like good technique.

  33. I used to think you had to mute all the other strings but you only need to mute the previous string now?

  34. i use kind of both techniques with my prefered 5 string bass ^^
    i rest the thumb on the b and use the little and index finger to mute the others

  35. what will you do when you have to hit quarter notes on G , D and A strings Respectively? i can't move my thumb very fast.

  36. I cant do this!!!! Im just gonna use a rubber pick and mute with my palm I guess. Doing these techniques are just causing more string noise.

  37. I was noticing how my left hand technique was much better than my right. This video has helped a lot, and practicing this will deffinately be in my daily technique practice. Thanks another verynhelpful video

  38. hi scott, great video, it helped me a lot. i have a doubt: how can i mute the higher strings when i'm going from g to E? i notice that the noise from the lower strings has gone but not the same the noise of the higher strings. i'm waiting for your answer. thanks! greetings from Mexico

  39. this stuff should be the very first lesson when playing bass, I've been intermitent playing bass for 20 years and in my peak I did have great speed and accuracy, but never nailed at clean playing, I have never been to a music school or a teacher, I've been self-taught all along, using books and internet resources, and this is not tought on the beginners courses, it is very difficult to start just by plucking and getting used to it and then change the way to introduce the mutting, this should be the very very first lesson

  40. I'm playing a song using only the e string with my index finger (my middle finger still has a huge blister) and I want to know how to mute the other three strings.

  41. I'm a beginner bassist and currently I'm learning this "thumb anchored on a lower string" technique. I like it so far

  42. Omg I’ve been playing for while now and I checked this out and it feels so comfortable I’ve watched your vids so many times and it’s funny how small things/changes can make a big difference

  43. How do you damp strings that are higher pitched than the string you are playing.? Eg, playing a G on the E string will set the open G string ringing in sympathy an octave higher and it will keep ringing after you move to another note from the low G, potentially clashing.

  44. thanks for the video, i'm a guitar player but i have troubles muting the string when i'm play with my fingers.
    Now i'm gonna to try this

  45. Insane that Scott will be in his 70's one day and there still will be this video of him super young hanging on the YT

  46. A great video I use for practising for about 2 years…still great. Keep on practising your basics makes a lot of difference

  47. These techniques helped me mute the darker strings as I played upwards to the lighter strings but how do I mute the lighter strings when I go downwards?

  48. I have been trying to learn bass for a few years now and am self taught but never really knew the technique for muting unused strings. Now that I have been playing for a while NOt using any real technique, my brain is really struggling with the coordination of right and left hand muting and also playing the notes haha. Any tips to “retrain my brain”

  49. I've always used your technique, but every bass player I look up doesn't, and that got me kinda worried. I thought I had to re learn bass, but it makes me feel good that you do it the same.

  50. my thumb is always anchored on a string
    goes on to say how he rests his thumb on the pickup
    its not a good teaching technique when you contradict yourself. you will confuse people.

  51. Trying to work on my bass skills so i've been going through some video's of your channel (I've still got to try the 14 day trial but I need to have all the time to get the best out of it) I found myself struggling with my thumb a lot. I rest it on the pick-up. But the noise! I feel like the hybrid thing is going to work well for me. Gonna put it in my practice hours 🙂 thanks for showing so clearly.

  52. I like Scott's method the best. It's more difficult on a 5 string though. I need to practice more with the G string. If I skip from A to G, the A rings.

  53. What is not covered here is legato playing when a string is skipped. For example – when playing C on the third fret of the A string and switching to the octave on the fifth fret of the G, the floating thumb cannot mute the ringing (lower c) until the higher octave one is plucked.

  54. Think you messed up you said you rest your index and little finger on the e and a but you have your ring finger and pinky on the e and a. Js.

  55. I couldn’t do a pure floating thumb technique to save my life (a la Todd Johnson) but I kept at it. There comes a day when you can do floating thumb without anchoring at all and achieve exactly the same sound, no difference.

  56. At 7:40 you said your thumb is resting on the G string, but that was the D string, right? I'm a beginner, so I'm confused, unless this was a mistake. Can you confirm?

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