Reply to Thread
Posts 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Like many jazzers I play either with my thumb (right hand) or with a pick near the front pick up. Either way I struggle to stop the bass strings resonating and causing annoying background sound. This has ruined several recordings and drives band members nuts. I have a Godin nylon that is unplayable due its manic bass string resonance.
    This is nothing new. G. VanEpps developed an ungainly string damper that was attached where the truss rod cover goes. Gretsch developed dampers that worked under the strings near the bridge. Neither system was popular for various reasons.
    I think I have a simple and cheap solution that works well.
    I've fitted some rubber band under the strings at the nut. about 2 to 2.5 mm width. I used a double layer. This is cosmetically invisible and takes minutes to do without any glue or attachments.

    Results +ve 1/ kills all unwanted resonance from open strings. 2/ Surprisingly no significant effect on intonation and my digital tuner works even better without resonance interference. I think the vibrating string length remains about the same despite the rubber. 3/ No restriction to the 1st fret as with the G V E damper.

    -ve 1/ the guitar sounds a bit.....dead at first after fitting. I think this is because it kills the resonance behind the fretted note. ie the length of string between the finger and the nut. After a while it sounds normal as you get used to the pure note. 2/ Open strings sound a bit dead. (jazzers dont use open strings much Ha Ha)

    I'de be very interested to hear what you guys think about this. Give it a try if you have the same issue as me.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    eaasier non invasive way to curb some of the open string overtones, without using a damper type device is to wrap more string around the tuning post... so that the angle from the nut to the tuner is more severe..works like a charm


    cheers

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    The edge of the palm of my right hand tends to mute any strings lower than the one I’m picking. Always seemed natural to me to do it this way.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    The rubber band approach sounds good, as long as you don't use open strings.

    I use open strings a lot, so I have to damp with a combination of the heel of my right hand, the proximal portion of my left index finger all my left hand fingers sort of leaning against strings I don't want to have ring.

    This is far from perfect, but I don't know a better way.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Solution to a major problem? (unwanted resonating string noise)-img_8961-jpg

    If I could find one of these that mounts using the standard 3 screw Epi truss cover holes, I'd be interested in trying it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    1/ I always put plenty of turns around the string post and the string sits pretty much at the bottom. Makes no difference to the issue described.

    2/ Most guys from a rock background use the heel of the Rt hand to damp but play too close to the bridge for me. Like most of the older jazzers I like to have my Rt arm free above the strings (watch Jim Hall) and pick near the neck pick up. I also tend to arch my wrist forward away from the strings with a pick and if I play Wes style (thumb) my Rt arm is miles from the strings. So this is a real problem for me.

    3/ Thanks for the string damper picture. I'm pretty sure George VanEpps invented it. However you can see from the picture that it pretty much makes any 1st fret activity near impossible. Also I don't think anyone makes them now.

    So it's rubber under the strings for me!

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Another option is to use some Velcro. Just slide a piece of the loop Velcro under the strings in front of the nut. A half inch or less works fine. It deadens the strings and still allows fretting at the first fret. It's easy to remove if needed, and easy to reinstall. I don't have a problem with bass strings, but on some guitars the treble strings ring sympathetically from playing other strings, especially the G and B strings. My hand mutes the bass strings easily enough, but it's harder for me to mute the treble strings when playing single notes. I've tried hair scrunchies, which are commonly used, but the Velcro works better for me. You can also buy a string damper that wraps around the neck and strings with a Velcro closure, but it's bigger and more expensive than I want to deal with.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Solution to a major problem? (unwanted resonating string noise)-velcro2-jpg
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Velcro..... never thought of that. I'll try it.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I've seen same thing done with a strip of thick felt under the strings by the nut on Chapman Stick. Then tapping guitarists and bassists will use a hair scrunchies. The nice thing about using hair scrunchies is when you don't need them you can push them to other side of the nut.

    I saw Herb Ellis play a number of times live and he had one of those Van Eps string mutes on his guitar and only once did I see him flip it down for the intro of a tune, then he flipped it back up. Most the time he just muted strings as necessary using his hands like everyone else.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    You're correct, Brian. The loop side works, the hook side not so much. I originally used both sides, with the loop on the bottom and the hook side on top, zipping the strings inside. That works well, but I found that the top strip really isn't necessary, and gets in the way more.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    You're correct, Brian. The loop side works, the hook side not so much. I originally used both sides, with the loop on the bottom and the hook side on top, zipping the strings inside. That works well, but I found that the top strip really isn't necessary, and gets in the way more.
    Thanks. I thought that was the case...

    I know there's some velcro about the house somewhere, from some "crafting" endeavour the missus has done in the past. I'll have to go looking about this weekend.
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  14. #13
    just be careful putting velcro or similar plastic stuff on an expensive guitar. Maybe check some of the string dampeners that are available these days. Playing with a low position on the picking hand, benson wise, i have the same problem, and mostly try to work around it by developing a muting technique with the fretting hand.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    The string dampers are mostly Velcro, which is made from nylon, and very stable. I don't think it's going to hurt the fretboard at all, and that's all it touches in my case. But use whatever you're comfortable with.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    How does anyone play for any length of time and not naturally solve it with damping from both the left and right hands/fingers?

    Right hand damping does not need to be based on having the hand close to the bridge (unless you want the damping to be part of the tone of the string when sounded)... no more than the idea that left hand damping must be placed close to the nut. Both left and right hand damping are done exactly where positioned when playing anything, both contributing.

    Hands and fingers naturally figure out how to damp all the strings not being sounded, this being done by a combination of left and right hands/fingers; then one never has to think about it again ever for a single moment. That is to say, you can't learn it because it is too complicated; the fingers just learn themselves automatically by noticing the problem from you listening and hearing when it happens. Over time the hands and fingers learn how to damp all unwanted sounds.

    It works without any conscious effort or attention, but if you look and test it, you can verify that for every chord, double-stop, string skip, and single note, at every instant of playing both hands are doing what is necessary so that only what strings you want to sound are free to vibrate - all else is damped. This is done transparently and effortlessly in conjunction with whatever level of effort you are experiencing in your conscious playing.

    This is part of the fundamental mechanical understanding of the guitar (by the hands) as a musical instrument. The guitar needs to be approached as a guitar, without scrunchies or other dampers at the nut, or the hands won't learn to do this.

    Maybe this is a modern problem because people are using a more "ballistic approach" to playing? As in, a perspective of timing the coincidence of picking and finger placement at string/fret intersections without understanding how much the touch and feel both at the instrument and in one's mind influences the sound of the result...

    This "issue" is on the same order as playing out of tune - you outgrow it early on. It is like learning not to pull a trumpet up to your face so fast that you bump your lips between the mouthpiece and your teeth, or releasing the piano pedals so fast they knock and sound all the undamped strings of keys still down during a soft passage, or any of the peculiarities that come with every instrument.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Have you tried to put the bass eq dial on the amp all the way down?
    if the resonance occurs on one specific note a notch filter helps.
    ... but it may also be the case that it is just overall too load for that guitar.

    i never could play my Godin nylon with the rock band I am playing with since it would feed back like crazy. Ended up selling it since it wasn‘t that useable and both, the electric and acoustic tones were lacking IMHO.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank67 View Post
    Have you tried to put the bass eq dial on the amp all the way down?
    if the resonance occurs on one specific note a notch filter helps.
    ... but it may also be the case that it is just overall too load for that guitar.

    i never could play my Godin nylon with the rock band I am playing with since it would feed back like crazy. Ended up selling it since it wasn‘t that useable and both, the electric and acoustic tones were lacking IMHO.
    ]

    I have a Multiac SA nylon. Thin body guitar, almost as loud as a full body, and fed back like crazy.

    I stuffed the body with foam. The acoustic sound became muffled, but the electric sound remained almost the same.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by md54 View Post
    ... I'de be very interested to hear what you guys think about this. Give it a try if you have the same issue as me.
    Thanks for the tip . I use available fingers on my left (fret) hand to dampen as well as the palm on my right hand. Some of the transfer of vibration goes trough tailpiece/bridge to the top and back to strings so hollowbodies of any kind are more exposed to this than solid or centre block bodied guitars. And it is not necessarily the root notes of strings that are most easily excited but also higher harmonics. In bass playing damping is a core discipline.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    There are three places for sympathetic string vibration: between the nut and the tuner capstans, between the nut and the bridge, between the bridge and the tailpiece. The more acoustically responsive the instrument, the more likely this is. Other sources of unwanted resonances are the pickups and wiring, pickguard.

    For strings, the cure is to damp the strings that are ringing. On my archtop, I would get some ringing between the bridge and the tailpiece. For a long time I wove a strip of rubber through the strings behind the bridge. Replacing the bridge saddle stopped the resonance, interestingly enough. A hair boinger around the strings above the nut would stop ringing up there; just below the nut should stop strings ringing along their speaking length; velcro or felt under the strings will do, too- I have never tried a rubber band, but that would have to he installed with the strings off. The technique of damping strings with both left and right hands becomes second nature, as was addressed above- using the sort of perfect textbook technique advocated in music schools is more likely to result in problems compared with the real-world technique used by guitarists.

    However, some resonance is part of the sound of the guitar just like finger squeaks are. It's fine. Just like the sound of trumpet valves clicking or saxophone pads thumping are part of the sounds of those instruments. Non-players of those instruments tend to not understand this and are overly picky- "that clacking pad ruined the take!" No, it didn't; stop being OCD, man. Same as with some string noise. Now, if by "resonance" you mean unwanted feedback through the amp the that is a different story. In the recording studio, put the amp in a different room and mic it there, or put it in an isolation box. On stage, positioning and EQ are the best tools (along with using the right guitar- sometimes an amplified archtop is just the wrong instrument for a loud gig).

    If the ringing or rattling is coming from the hardware (pickguard, pickups, knobs, switches, etc.) then that is often a case of making sure that the screws are tight, etc. These sources can drive you nuts.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Get a Fret Wrap
    Review | Gruv Gear Fret Wraps Guitar String Dampeners

    However, I learned to mute the strings with my fret fingers and right palm in my 74' Howard Roberts, which has a serious string ring problem. When I learned to mute the strings with my hands, my playing became a bit more articulate and precise.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I put a piece of leather behind the nut. It is less wide on the side of the thinner strings, to reduce the effect.

    Solution to a major problem? (unwanted resonating string noise)-damp1-jpg

    Robert

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    eaasier non invasive way to curb some of the open string overtones, without using a damper type device is to wrap more string around the tuning post... so that the angle from the nut to the tuner is more severe..works like a charm


    cheers
    I'll have to try this - can others confirm this works? Thanks

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    i like the idea of the leather, thanks!
    White belt
    My Youtube