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LH Position and String Muting

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#1 EastCoast

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:03 PM

I've been taking lessons and playing an electric for a few months. I've been playing simple 1st position solo / melody stuff along with learning open chords for strumming rhythm playing.

Most of the time I try to keep my left thumb behind the fretboard and fingers curved for fretting notes. That works fine, but I'm confused about what I should be doing when it comes to strumming away at open chords and dealing with muting unwanted strings.

For example: G C Am progression.

The G is no problem since I want to hit all 6 strings. I can switch to the C chord and use my finger playing the root C on the 5th string to touch and mute my low E string. When I switch to the Am chord, I have a problem. I play the root A on the 5th string but it's open so I don't have a finger there anymore to mute the low E string! I don't know how to handle this.

Are experienced players actually good enough that they can strum away and just not hit those low strings? (I do know that in this example an E is OK for these chords, but it's not the right root and that's not always the case anyway).

OR- I realize that I might bring my left thumb up and over and use that to mute the low E string, and I see lots of people playing that way. Is this the answer? If so, it feels like I'll have to constantly shift my left hand (which isn't that big) thumb position up and back as I shift from chord to chord. Is that normal?

Thanks for any help with this frustrating problem... I just want to know what most people do, and I really don't want to develop a bad technique.


#2 mattz196


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Posted 21 March 2012 - 01:42 AM

Hi Eastcoast
I think you have answered your own question there, you just have to not play that low E sting.
The people wrapping their thumb over to the low are not muting it , they are using their thumb to fret an F in the bass , which is for some people and some chords easier , like if you want a D chord with an f# bass note or even just playing an F using your thumb instead of a full F bar chord.
What's Rangoon to you is Grafton to me

#3 mset3

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:19 PM


With practice you will learn to skip and not strum the low E string. Keep at it and you will soon get it. As far as using your thumb when playing. When I first started playing, instead of making a full barre chord I would just reach over and catch the E string root note with my thumb. I still catch myself doing it every once in a while.


#4 EastCoast

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

Thanks for the info. It does seem kind of obvious- but at the same time I do see some of these guys just banging away at the strings and can't imagine them being very precise doing that. And, I have heard people talk about using their thumbs for muting (not just fretting) that low string... so that's where I was getting confused. I'll work on trying to just miss those one or two low strings for awhile!

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