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Right-hand damping

just the bassplayerjust the bassplayer Huntington, NYNew
edited March 2005 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 40
As I work through various pieces of music, I become more and more aware of extraneous notes. Since I've spent most of my time playing bass, this was never a problem before. I'm hearing, what I believe to be, sympathetic vibations and other unwanted strings vibrations.
My Gitane D-500, with a greatly raised Dupont bridge, is quite loud. I've read that having the back of your right-hand fingers grazing the strings is desireable. Is this for damping reasons, or just for position? Does anyone use the base of your thumb for similar reasons? Any comments on this are welcome.
Thank you.

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    I've read that having the back of your right-hand fingers grazing the strings is desirable. Is this for damping reasons, or just for position? Does anyone use the base of your thumb for similar reasons? Any comments on this are welcome.
    Thank you.

    I don't do any conscious right damping. The rest stroke automatically dampens the next highest strings. Figners grazing the strings is mostly for position. But it can provide dampening as well.

    Most Gypsy players make contact with their thumb as well. Hence the infamous black thumb syndrome. However, it seems to happen mostly when playing rhythm.

    I do most muting with my left hand. I don't really have a problem with other strings sympathetically resonating too much. It might just be the nature of your guitar.

    Good luck!


    'm
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    Like Michael, I'd say the damping is almost entirely in the left hand. About this, though:
    Does anyone use the base of your thumb for similar reasons?
    Most Gypsy players make contact with their thumb as well. Hence the infamous black thumb syndrome. However, it seems to happen mostly when playing rhythm.

    I don't think Michael's talking about the base of the thumb; if you've got your wrist at the usual angle, it'll be more the tip and side of the thumb that get black (along with, for me at least, a knuckle and a half of the index finger). When you say the base, I imagine you mean the meat of it where it approaches the wrist, yes?

    Best,
    Jack.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    Jack wrote:
    When you say the base, I imagine you mean the meat of it where it approaches the wrist, yes?

    I have a callus in that very spot!

    'm
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    Jack wrote:
    When you say the base, I imagine you mean the meat of it where it approaches the wrist, yes?

    I have a callus in that very spot!

    'm

    No kidding? It seems like you'd have to have almost no angle at all to have that part of your hand grazing the strings. Just so I'm clear, I'm trying to describe the ball of the thumb right near the hinge of the wrist. Maybe it's different for lead players-I've got a callus on the first knuckle of my picking hand. Curiouser and curiouser.

    Best,
    Jack.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    Actually, it's not that far down. Closer to the joint of the thumb (where it meets the rest of the hand.) Not all the way down towards the wrist.

    It's definitely from rhythm playing! There's a big black mark there after the Monday night jam. Maybe it's just me.....I don't know if other folks make contact in that spot.


    'm
  • just the bassplayerjust the bassplayer Huntington, NYNew
    Posts: 40
    Thanks Michael and Jack. It's odd, or perhaps reassuring, that I am grazing the first knuckle of my index finger, and getting a bit of the black thumb ( tip of the thumb), especially when relegated to being, "just the rhythmn player". My middle finger gets a bit of first knuckle grazing as well.
    Yes, the follow-through part of the rest stroke is naturally muting the next string below it. So, that string is muted by the pick.
    Michael might be onto something regarding my instrument. Being that I hit the strings hard, the instrument has quite a noticable echo to it. Strings below the one being struck are quiteded either by the rest position of the pick, or grazing fingers.
    Thank you.
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