View Full Version : Trouble with muting strings. Any advice

04-24-2012, 11:18 PM
I am having difficulty muting the strings. Does anybody have any advice on a simple way to do it. My instructor wants me to do it with my left hand. Help!!

04-25-2012, 01:33 AM
There are lots of video tutorials on Youtube that demonstrate this type of technique. Have you searched there?

04-25-2012, 01:51 AM
Actually, no I haven't. Duh!! Thanks, for rattling my brain!!

04-25-2012, 03:06 AM
Well, there's different kinds of mutes that you use at different times to get different sounds. So it depends on what kind of mute you're trying to accomplish I suppose.

04-25-2012, 03:15 AM
Here is a link to Aldrine's lesson on the pinky mute.... http://ukuleleunderground.com/lessons/pinky-mute/

04-25-2012, 04:34 AM
You're lucky. Most of us have trouble *not* muting strings when we play.

04-25-2012, 04:54 AM
You're lucky. Most of us have trouble *not* muting strings when we play.

So true! I've found that letting your sleeve hang over the strings mutes very well. My son says I should consider muting my singing.

04-25-2012, 07:09 AM
I am always very suspicious of the one-way-to-do-it approach. Like when people say you should only strum over the 12th fret. Kinda like what philpot said, it depends on what it depends on. I use my right palm a lot on the saddle when I'm doing bluesy rock rhythm stuff, chunking, etc. For single note solos, my right thumb, middle & ring fingers may get used. With split string harmony stuff (think of the intro to Brown Eyed Girl), the middle finger on the left hand will dampen the unwanted string in the middle, while the index or ring finger, depending on which one is used takes care of the unused notes on the A string if necessary (if that makes sense). The left hand gets involved when I'm finger picking and chunking. Again, with the chunking, it depends, because sometimes it's the palm on the right killing the chord after the initial attack. But it all gets jumbled up, and I don't even think about it. If I did think about it, I would start messing up!

07-31-2012, 10:17 AM
I too was having trouble with pinky mutes until I just now realized that I was putting too much pressure on the strings with my pinky. My problem was that I kept hearing notes when I thought the strings were supposed to be muted. Turns out my Samoan-ness got the better of me and I was applying way too much pressure on the strings. To get the muted sound you literally only have to put your fingers across them and only apply a very small amount of pressure. Not sure if this helps, but it sure helped me out. "Love I" here I come!!!

The Big Kahuna
07-31-2012, 10:48 AM
If I'm playing anything where I need to mute either the G or C, or sometimes both, I use the thumb on my left hand. Alternatively, if you're playing a piece that has NO open strings, keep a scrunchie around the headstock behind the nut. When you need to mute all the open strings, roll it past the nut onto the fingerboard. I mainly use the latter for pieces that contain a lot of two hand tapping, such as Midnight by Joe Satriani (something I'd love to try on a Uke, when I finally get an electric).


07-31-2012, 11:06 AM
For closed-chord muting, your natural, at-rest state should be the mute.

"Squeeze" the chord when you want it to sound, then return to your relaxed, at-rest muted state.

07-31-2012, 11:44 AM
I think most muting problems come from overthinking and overworking. Good, natural muting often happens when you relax and allow natural incidental contact to happen. It takes tension to get a note. It logically takes relaxation to mute a note.

One thing I've discovered through teaching is that a lot of muting I do is really subconscious. Looking back, I've learned to do this through playing and having sounds happen that I didn't want. Often it's just a matter of leaning a finger over. For instance, if my index finger is on the 4th (G) string, I can easily lay it lazily across all the strings, stopping (sounding) the note I want, and muting the others. Eventually, you'll find that you can mute mostly whatever you want, whenever you want. It just takes a lot of trial and error, and the early stages of that can feel more like error and error.

Take your time. Remember to relax.

07-31-2012, 09:25 PM
i dont mean to be negative on your instructor but i would never use my left hand i just palm mute but press harder

Brad Bordessa
07-31-2012, 09:45 PM
Nah, left hand muting is extremely important. It's mainly a practice thing once you get the basic idea down. Since it can control so much feel you can improve almost infinitely on it.

That said, play reggae. I can't think of any one thing that uses so much precise left hand muting. If you do it a lot you will get better at it.

08-01-2012, 02:55 AM
Don't press so hard.