Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
daveinspain

Play it clean

Recommended Posts

Been struggling with my sloppy playing… How can I eliminate all the noise and unwanted random notes that manage to make me sound like crap… Could someone talk about muting technics, both on the fretboard and with the palm. Maybe direct me too a good instructional book or some tricks of the trade you use to help clean up the mess… Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great way to eliminate the random notes and sloppy playing is to play the scale/chord prog/part etc..., as slow as you have to so that every note or chord rings clean and true. Even if it's 10 times slower than what you ultimately want, do not speed up until you can play the part perfectly and cleanly through. Only when you can play it clean should you start to speed up. If it's for recording then you can always try a little trick that a double juno winning producer from Canada here taught me many years ago during a recording session....tie a sock around the head stock at the nut and have it ever so slightly touch the strings. It kills sustain but instantly cleans up any unwanted string noise/sloppy playing. A quick fix for sure, and certainly not as good as proper technique and practice, but it'll get you through a session.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Dave. This a tough one to explain in words because the techniques are so subtle and probably a little different for each individual player.

 

I just have a way of laying my left hand fingers across certain strings that I don't want ringing. And also using my right palm or even pinky to lightly mute strings. For instance, if I'm playing notes or power chords up on the fat strings, I can use my pinky finger on my picking hand to keep the skinny strings quiet.

 

Again. I can't really explain the exact mechanics of how I do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was taught to put the V of the palm on my right hand on the saddles, and use the left side of my palm moving it vertically across the saddles to mute each bass string. I use my index finger on my left hand to mute higher pitch strings. I kinda lay my index fingers over those strings. Joe Pass said that most of his playing is based around barre chords. That technique facilitates the use of the index finger to mute. That said, I have also found myself using the right hand pinky to mute thinner strings. Muting is not easy, and I often find myself not paying attention to my right hand position. You'd think as long as I've been playing it would be second nature by now. Part of my problem is that several months ago I decided to change the way I hold my pick, and this affected my muting technique. I think strict adherence to any technique is good when learning it, but eventually you will do what is comfortable, effective, and intuitive.

 

Still learning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of useful tips have been mentioned before. I just want to add that my approach is using no amp, no speaker and no effects first. That is, I listen to my playing using a headphone amp with even the EQs bypassed. This reveals all I do or leave out. There's also no ambience or reverb blurring my articulation. Staccato, legato, non-legato, sforzando and so on translate to their full extent, regardless if intended or not.

 

Another way is practicing on a steel-string acoustic. In most cases it will work later on an electric guitar, too, while the opposite is rather unlikely. However, I prefer using piezos on hybrid solidbodies and headphones. Thus the neighbours won't have to listen to my bungling :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great way to eliminate the random notes and sloppy playing is to play the scale/chord prog/part etc..., as slow as you have to so that every note or chord rings clean and true. Even if it's 10 times slower than what you ultimately want, do not speed up until you can play the part perfectly and cleanly through. Only when you can play it clean should you start to speed up. If it's for recording then you can always try a little trick that a double juno winning producer from Canada here taught me many years ago during a recording session....tie a sock around the head stock at the nut and have it ever so slightly touch the strings. It kills sustain but instantly cleans up any unwanted string noise/sloppy playing. A quick fix for sure, and certainly not as good as proper technique and practice, but it'll get you through a session.

 

I go along with the 'take it slow' approach. The noise/false notes problem is what I always had with Gibsons (small fingerboards). I avoided them for years for that reason. What changed to allow me to adapt to them now I dont know.

 

I do the 'palm heel on the bridge' type of muting naturally. Recently I started muting strings when going for a longer bend (whole tone or more). For this I just use my pinky directly on the exposed strings. Works well.

 

Sometimes during practice I will deliberately slowwww righttt downnnn and concentrate on note crafting; meaning making the clarity, length and vibrato of the notes just exactly right. It very useful practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Learn to play the beginning of this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfjXp4KTTY8

 

SRV is playing in an up/down fashion, picking the bass notes and "clucking" (semi-muting) the top notes. It's the perfect example of learning how to play clean. He makes this look so darn easy but it took me several weeks to get it down.

 

There is a similar analogy in piano playing. My teacher assigned my to learn Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 Pathetique Mov. 2. The next week I thought I played it perfectly. It's very easy to play, or so I thought! After I played it he explained to me why I was doing it all wrong. He said that I needed to emphasize the melody with whatever finger was playing it while keeping all other lines soft. It's easy to make your left hand play softer than your right, but try to get other fingers from the same hand to play softer than one of them. That took me a month of practicing. Here's how it sounds done right (the right hand at 3:24 and onward is especially hard to do right).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly1iTD0zB1Y

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At age 12 ( 64 presently) I started lessons on the Ukulele. One of the basics for strumming was to palm or silence the notes between strums to get a chukka chukka effect. Probably not explaining it well, but anyway it teaches you to mute between up down strums or up, up, down etc and gives a nice effect. From there I progressed to electric guitar and I adjusted pretty quickly to muting strings picking or lead solos, eventually incorporating this into slide guitar.

 

You may want to try muting your rhythm playing for practice to get the 'feel' and then progress on to individual strings.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
during a recording session....tie a sock around the head stock at the nut and have it ever so slightly touch the strings.

 

If your one of those cool dudes that doesn't wear socks, ask your vocalist if you can use her panties. A silk thong will mute flatulance and has optic appeal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your one of those cool dudes that doesn't wear socks, ask your vocalist if you can use her panties. A silk thong will mute flatulance and has optic appeal.

 

Girls hair scrunchies are the ticket there - though the panties sound fun too.

 

 

However, I think Dave's concern is more to clean up his picking all around. Unfortunately I don't think there is a trick there - just lots of playing.

 

Back to the scrunchies... Reggie Wooten uses them very well

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great way to eliminate the random notes and sloppy playing is to play the scale/chord prog/part etc..., as slow as you have to so that every note or chord rings clean and true. Even if it's 10 times slower than what you ultimately want, do not speed up until you can play the part perfectly and cleanly through. Only when you can play it clean should you start to speed up. If it's for recording then you can always try a little trick that a double juno winning producer from Canada here taught me many years ago during a recording session....tie a sock around the head stock at the nut and have it ever so slightly touch the strings. It kills sustain but instantly cleans up any unwanted string noise/sloppy playing. A quick fix for sure, and certainly not as good as proper technique and practice, but it'll get you through a session.

This is the real key in my experience (after some enforcement by teachers and professors alike).

 

There's a thought I've found to be true that what you're messing up at full speed stems from a problem at a slower speed.

 

Halve the speed (take it with a metronome), and play it with excruciating attention to detail. It's the best way I've found to iron problems out of a piece in the crunch time before performances/juries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

There is a similar analogy in piano playing. My teacher assigned my to learn Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 Pathetique Mov. 2. The next week I thought I played it perfectly. It's very easy to play, or so I thought! After I played it he explained to me why I was doing it all wrong. He said that I needed to emphasize the melody with whatever finger was playing it while keeping all other lines soft. It's easy to make your left hand play softer than your right, but try to get other fingers from the same hand to play softer than one of them. That took me a month of practicing. Here's how it sounds done right (the right hand at 3:24 and onward is especially hard to do right).

 

 

Interesting. When playing double stops or while using a pick and fingers, I struggle to get finger picked notes to sound the same as those played with a pick. I guess, to be a virtuoso, you must be able to play each fingered and/or picked note so that it has the intended character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I will never be a virtuoso, I just want to clean up my playing… Just the simple act of taking my fingers off the strings makes tons of noise on electrics… I'm gonna buy a hair scrunchy... [thumbup]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try a different pick and practice like hell.

 

I use a small Dunlop Jazz pick and hold it backwards which gives me better control.

 

pick%20002_zpsskfwnp6w.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Practice, practice practice. Scales, arpeggios, chords, and don't speed up until they're consistently right. I saw a great statement a while back (not sure if it was here or Facebook) - "The difference between an amateur and a professional, is that an amateur practices until he gets it right - a professional practices until he can't get it wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that might work if I wasn't all thumbs... ](*,)

 

THERE'S your answer - thumb picks!

 

Hey, it worked for Johnny Winter.

 

I used to own a motorcycle dealership and a customer watched me take all of the tools that I'd need for a job and put them next to the bike before I started working on it. He mentioned that was similar to what he told his guitar students - minimize your finger movement; move the pick as little as possible and keep your fingers as close to the fret board as possible.

 

I'm not sure what you're doing but that's good advice that I took to heart in my own pathetic endeavors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I will never be a virtuoso, I just want to clean up my playing… Just the simple act of taking my fingers off the strings makes tons of noise on electrics… I'm gonna buy a hair scrunchy... [thumbup]

 

Millions play at stupid volumes without hair scrunchies. Playing the guitar is a whole lot more than than the notes you want, the larger part is keeping the rest of them quiet. Practice, lots of practice, getting your two hands to each do two things at once, playing and not playing at the same time.

 

rct

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cheat sometimes. For example, in the solo to YYZ there are a lot of pull offs, and I use my two fingers to mute the strings around the one I'm playing. I don't know how Alex does it so cleanly considering he's got large fingers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Just the simple act of taking my fingers off the strings makes tons of noise on electrics...

Smooth, perpendicular moves of the fretting fingers will help. Muting same time with the picking hand allows for very fast movements of the fretting hand with very little noise.

 

I guess at least half of playing guitar is muting strings. On the bass it's minimum three quarters I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Dave, I'd be glad to help out if I can depending on exactly what you're looking for but I don't feel like typing everything out. Maybe a chat over Skype sometime with our guitars?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...