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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Bye Bye Blues/BuddyWachterTape/1stString/Help!!

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banjopocolypse - Posted - 10/11/2008:  11:05:26

So I was watching the Buddy Wachter tape again yesterday and I'm stuck. HE was going through all of his crazy strumming techniques and used Bye Bye Blues to demonstrate them.

My question is how is he muting the 4th string? with his chord-making left hand or his strumming right hand? he moves so fast I can't figure it out. I want to play like he can but he never explains how he is silenting that little string.

I suppose it is possible that he is just not actually hitting that string with the pick, but as far as I can tell when he uses the "peabody" style he is hitting all the strings.


Edited by - Banjoman on 03/30/2009 11:56:25

tenorbanjoguy - Posted - 10/11/2008:  13:48:22

Well, that is an interesting question. I use two appraoches. The first one is I don't hit the string while strummimg and you are right, it is pretty impractical at full speed. Usually the left hand is muting the unwanted string. So if you are ommiting the forth string, you can finger the 3 that you want to ring and lightly touch the forth with a convienent finger. Or you can form the whole 4 string chord and release the pressure on the finger responsible for the 4th string just enough to mute it. It is interesting but there was a time when I had the same question and now muting unwanted strings is automatic for me. I just don't think about it anymore but there was a time...

I hope this helps, I will have to watch the tape again to see exactly what he is doing but I can almost guarentee that the muting is happening with the fretting hand an not the strumming. That is a great tape for right hand! It is where I got mine exclusively. Not many teachers here in Alaska but Buddy does a good job on that video!

Ken Olmstead
Anchorage, AK

Compass56 - Posted - 10/12/2008:  10:13:30

Where in "Bye Bye Blues" (Key of C) is muting the 4th string necessary? I'm going through that tune in my head, and I can't see a spot where muting the fourth string is necessary.

banjopocolypse - Posted - 10/12/2008:  12:18:57

The second note of the frist c chord, right before it switches to A flat 7. And also the A flat 7 for that matter.

This song is killing me though. I guess I don't really know how to mute strings very well. I can still hear them, which i guess is to be expected, but still, it sounds awful to me. I suppose it would help if I had a teacher.


Compass56 - Posted - 10/12/2008:  13:23:41

Those are spots when the first string (the A string) must be muted. In your original post, you asked about muting the 4th string.

When you make that (as Wachter calls it) Ab7 junior chord at the fifth fret, let the underside of your ring finger of your left hand mute the A string. After a couple of tries, doing so will become automatic.

Edited by - Compass56 on 10/13/2008 04:29:00

tenorbanjoguy - Posted - 10/12/2008:  15:18:00

I made a little demonstration video for you. See if it is worth a darn!

Ken Olmstead
Anchorage, AK

Compass56 - Posted - 10/12/2008:  15:39:50

Ken, you did a nice job of explaining how the muting is executed. Buddy would be proud.

banjopocolypse - Posted - 10/12/2008:  20:59:44

That was SO awesome.

You have no idea how much I appreciate that you took the time to make that video. And the picture and explanation were super clear too. Just perfect!!

Congrats, you are my mentor now, whether you want me or not!

tenorbanjoguy - Posted - 10/12/2008:  21:20:21

banjopocolypse - Only too happy to help! Sometimes you just have to see it. I think it is cool that you are learning this style and I will do anything I can to help get you there!

Thanks Tony!

Ken Olmstead
Anchorage, AK

Mirek Patek - Posted - 03/30/2009:  11:26:34

Thanks for that video, Ken!
Do you also mute the thick string by your left thumb wrapped around?



Compass56 - Posted - 03/31/2009:  12:48:23

Mirek, I don't know about Ken, but sometimes I mute string 4 with my left hand thumb. Other times, I mute that string with the tip of my second or my first finger of the left hand. It depends upon the chord shape that I am making at the time.

tenorbanjoguy - Posted - 04/12/2009:  22:06:26

Mirek, I guess my answer is, I am not sure. At this point I am muting unconsciencely. I know that I use many different techniques to mute but that one in the video is by far the most useful. I think I mute with my thumb more when I play guitar. I will watch when I am playing banjo and let you know! Thanks for the compliment on the video, yours are great!!

Ken Olmstead
Anchorage, AK

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