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Thread: Muting Question

  1. #1
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    Jun 2018
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    Default Muting Question

    Hello, I’m trying to learn the song On the Sunny Side of the Street from a video by Cynthia Lin (see the video link below) and I have a question.

    The part that I can’t figure out is how she is getting the muting effect on her chords during the verse part of the song (for reference listen from about 6 to about 12 seconds in this video).

    I’ve learned two ways to mute that are similar to this, but she doesn’t seem to be doing either of them, and I can’t figure out what she IS doing.

    The two muting techniques I know are:

    1. Fretting the chord during the strum, then slightly lifting my fingers off immediately after the strum to mute the strings from ringing out. But my understanding is that this only works for closed chords, and it looks like she is using some open chords here.

    2. Fretting the chord, then immediately after the strum using a different left hand finger to come down and mute the strings. This would work for open chords, but it doesn’t look like she’s doing this either.

    Is she somehow muting with her right hand? The only way I know how to mute with my right hand is chucking, but chucking sounds much more percussive than the sound she gets here.

    Does anyone know what she’s doing? I just can’t figure this out.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L-IMrJQHLcA
    Last edited by McCall; 01-11-2021 at 06:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by McCall View Post
    1. Fretting the chord during the strum, then slightly lifting my fingers off immediately after the strum to mute the strings from ringing out. But my understanding is that this only works for closed chords, and it looks like she is using some open chords here.
    You CAN do it with open chords, it's just not as dramatic because you're muting less of the chord and some notes continue to ring. If you listen carefully, you can hear that this is the case here and definitely how she's achieving this sound.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bordessa View Post
    You CAN do it with open chords, it's just not as dramatic because you're muting less of the chord and some notes continue to ring. If you listen carefully, you can hear that this is the case here and definitely how she's achieving this sound.
    Thanks so much, that's very helpful. I'm thinking that using this technique might work well enough if there are 0, 1 or 2 open strings. With 3 open strings I'd think it might not really work much, I guess I'll need to play around with it and see.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2020
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    I think there's a variation that's sort of halfway between your two suggested techniques - you can mute a fretted string by letting up on your finger pressure. And you can mute an open string by gently touching it with any finger (doesn't have to be one finger laid across all the strings). By combining these two, it can be easy to mute all strings as needed. Strings that are fretted, you just let up pressure. Open strings, you touch with a nearby finger. It doesn't have to be one or the other. This can be very subtle - just gently laying whichever fingertip is nearest against the string. When you're fretting chords, your fingertips are often close to and/or hovering over the strings. It really doesn't take much movement at all to mute a string as a sort of in-between movement between fretting two different chords.

    Think of it this way. A problem that's common among total newcomers to fretted instruments is the skill to fret one string, without your finger going off kilter and touching a nearby string. You want to learn to do that on purpose, on command, for when you need to quickly and subtly mute a given string(s).

    Practicing this level of control over muting can be very helpful not just for muting the entire instrument as part of a rhythm pattern, but also so you can teach yourself to mute specific strings on command, for cases where you want to be able to strum a chord without a specific string in it.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwizum View Post
    I think there's a variation that's sort of halfway between your two suggested techniques - you can mute a fretted string by letting up on your finger pressure. And you can mute an open string by gently touching it with any finger (doesn't have to be one finger laid across all the strings). By combining these two, it can be easy to mute all strings as needed. Strings that are fretted, you just let up pressure. Open strings, you touch with a nearby finger. It doesn't have to be one or the other. This can be very subtle - just gently laying whichever fingertip is nearest against the string. When you're fretting chords, your fingertips are often close to and/or hovering over the strings. It really doesn't take much movement at all to mute a string as a sort of in-between movement between fretting two different chords.

    Think of it this way. A problem that's common among total newcomers to fretted instruments is the skill to fret one string, without your finger going off kilter and touching a nearby string. You want to learn to do that on purpose, on command, for when you need to quickly and subtly mute a given string(s).

    Practicing this level of control over muting can be very helpful not just for muting the entire instrument as part of a rhythm pattern, but also so you can teach yourself to mute specific strings on command, for cases where you want to be able to strum a chord without a specific string in it.
    Thanks for this, I hadn’t thought of this possibility. I don’t think I have good enough control to do this effectively yet, but at some point it would be great to be able to, I can see why it would be very useful.

  6. #6
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    There is also chucking gently so that it isn't percussive.

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