Are you tired of playing the same bass patterns? Would you like to add some hot stuff to your grooves? Let’s give the left-hand muting technique a chance!
If you’re a left-handed musician you will perform this technique with the right hand. To perform this technique all you have to do is to press down a string with your left hand (with the tip of one or more fingers), but not all the way, and then pluck the string with the right hand. That’s it! You’re getting a muted sound.
Figure 1 is a Samba bass line. If you have the chance to see the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, you will notice how percussive this culture is. The muted notes make it! They help to emphasize the rhythm.
Figure 2 is a funk bass line in the style of Rocco Prestia and Jaco Pastorious. Check out how the muted note adds a lot of energy to this groove. The use of the sixteenth notes is essential for this style of music, so let’s take advantage of this.
Figure 3 is a blues bass line. The blues music is one of the most influential styles in music. The use of muted notes is part of the style of many blues bass players like Tommy Shannon (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double-Trouble). Feel the groove established on beats 1 & 2 and check out how the muted notes decorate beats 3 & 4.
Figure 4 is jazz bass line. Here we have a walking bass with a lot of attitude and personality! Be careful with the rhythmic variations on each bar.
The left-hand muting technique gives you a percussive sound to your bass lines. This technique consists of playing dead notes. You must take care with the muted notes. They deserve to be heard. The cool thing about this technique is that you can apply it to any music style like disco, funk, rock, blues, jazz, Latin, etc.
Remember, there are no limits in music. Feel free to experiment and enjoy the magic of the left-hand muting technique.