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To mute or not to mute

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Gchord
(@gchord)
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I've just started to play slide on a regular basis nw.I know some players mute,but I can't seem to get a hold of it.I love the sound of the slide and the resonator combo.Is it neccesary to mute while playing slide? How many of you slide players mute and how many of you don't? Is there a reason why you would have to mute the strings?


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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If you're in an open tuning it's usually not necessary to mute individual strings with your picking fingers. If you're sliding in standard tuning that's a vital skill to learn and with the weird tunings lap steel players use pick muting is essential. Muting behind the slide keeps the string segments between the slide and nut quiet, and keeps down the confusing sounds that can result. Sometimes it sounds a lot better to mute behind the slide. It's a lot smoother and quieter. Sometimes you want to let that ring. Lots of the old Delta and country blues players seem to have never muted behind the slide. Check out "Mississippi" Fred McDowell for example. He let it all ring, at least most of the time. Had lots of buzzy slide noise, too. And he was awesome!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Gchord
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Ok,thanks. I watching a dvd instuctional and the guy was talking about the importance of muting.I also din't like the tuning,DBDGBD,a little too high for me.I reckon if I had a square neck,it would be easier to raise the tuning.


   
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Ricochet
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He probably meant DGDGBD. (Low to high.) That's standard Open G. It's not a raised tuning, but has three strings tuned down from "Standard" tuning.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Gchord
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No,it was DBGDBD.I recently bought a bluegrass tuner and it had the same tuning for resonators.I think some square neck players tune theirs to this tuning.But since I have a round neck,I will not,or use an Open E for the same reason.


   
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Crow
 Crow
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Muting iMO is an important slide skill. If you play slide with other musicians, esp. electric, you may well find that those extra sounds from the unmuted slide don't harmonize that well with the overall mix. To put it bluntly, it can sound sloppy. (Ability to mute behind slide also is good preparation for other techniques, like fretting notes behind the slide.)

I mute by default & think of unmuted slide as a special effect. The contrast between tightly focused/muted notes/chords and the splash of unmuted color is nice. Look for places where you need some extra drama in your part, then lift mute and make those backstream harmonies really stand out!

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Ricochet
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GBDGBD is the standard bluegrass dobro tuning. Also known as "High Bass G" tuning. I've never heard of anyone tuning to DBGDBD, and Googling it only turns up this thread.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Steinar Gregertsen
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No,it was DBGDBD.I recently bought a bluegrass tuner and it had the same tuning for resonators.

That must be a misunderstanding. The mainstream tuning for squareneck dobros is GBDGBD, on weissenborns and flattop guitars it's common to use the low bass version of the same tuning, DGDGBD.

Regarding muting,- learn how to do it properly, both behind the slide and with your right hand, then you can choose when to mute and when not to, for those special effects. Personally I mute all strings 'by default' and open up those I want to play.

Here's a couple of pics where Sonny Landreth demonstrates his right hand muting technique:

"Play to express, not to impress"
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Gchord
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Topic starter  

GBDGBD is the standard bluegrass dobro tuning. Also known as "High Bass G" tuning. I've never heard of anyone tuning to DBGDBD, and Googling it only turns up this thread.

I'm pretty sure I got the right tuning. Like I said before,even the bluegrass tuner I have has resonators as the "standard" tuning for them.It's a multi-instrument tuner which also features mandolin,fiddle,banjo and guitar.I'm not trying to start an argument or anything,but honestly,that is what the tuning reads when you punch in the instrument button to resonator(reso).It has either the voicing of the string pitch or the number and string.I believe it's called the resonator Open G.


   
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Ricochet
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I'm telling you, this is something very familiar. The bluegrass resonator (squareneck dobro) standard is the high bass G, from the lowest to highest string GBDGBD. Steel guitar folks often "spell" tunings from high to low, in which case it's DBGDBG. There are plenty of places you can check it out. Here's a good one: http://www.well.com/~wellvis/tuning.html Note that Brad, a lap slider, just refers to High Bass G as "Open G." Most bottleneckers will understand "Open G" to mean "Low Bass G" or "Spanish Tuning," DGDGBD.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Gchord
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Topic starter  

Ok,maybe it's me that read it wrong.But the guy on the dvd did tune his that way.Maybe it's his own tuning.I heard that some guitarists tune theirs in unsual tunings.I agree with the dobro tuning you mentioned. Maybe I assumed that the G was a D.Never heard of a low E tuned high before.


   
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Crow
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Who did this DVD?

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Steinar Gregertsen
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I heard that some guitarists tune theirs in unsual tunings.

Yeah, it's not unusual to tweak your preferred tuning(s) to fit a specific arrangement. One example is to use the highbass-G tuning with an E on the 6th string, which gives you a G6/Em7 tuning and easier access to more advanced harmonizations than the standard major chord tuning.

Here's Greg Booth playing "I Will" in that tuning (EBDGBD, low to high):

"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube


   
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Gchord
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GBDGBD is the standard bluegrass dobro tuning. Also known as "High Bass G" tuning. I've never heard of anyone tuning to DBGDBD, and Googling it only turns up this thread.

Yes,you are absoutly right.I apologize for being ignorant to the tunings.I dug out the video and sure enough it was the high bluegrass dobro tuning.I guess my mind refused to believe a guitar could be tuned that high.Man,do I feel like a dolt.Again,guys I apologize.My bad. :oops:


   
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Ricochet
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No problem. We're just trying to help, not criticize.

High bass G is usually used on squarenecks, which really are acoustic lap steels. They're stiffer and stronger than roundnecks.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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