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  1. #1
    Eruption smme5150's Avatar
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    Default Combating String Noise

    I am really struggling with open string noise while playing licks on the G-E string. I really struggle with this and I've been playing for 30 yrs. I've really noticed it a lot lately for some reason. I just don't understand how Ed can control string noise while playing with that gain and at concert levels? I know guys in the studio put tape on strings that aren't getting played for leads and I've seen devices of some kind on Michael Batio's guitar that fan off the nut.

    I just can't get it as clean as I want. Obviously turning the gain way down helps but then I'm not getting the tone I like. It's just a battle. When I lay more palm on it then it's too muted.

    Any tips or techniques anyone can pass along?

  2. #2
    Romeo Delight Tank2000's Avatar
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    Default

    Hair band all the way down by the nut works good

  3. #3
    Hot For Teacher
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    Default

    Or get a bud to mute like DLR did for Vai.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk Get The Show On The Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smme5150 View Post
    I am really struggling with open string noise while playing licks on the G-E string. I really struggle with this and I've been playing for 30 yrs. I've really noticed it a lot lately for some reason. I just don't understand how Ed can control string noise while playing with that gain and at concert levels? I know guys in the studio put tape on strings that aren't getting played for leads and I've seen devices of some kind on Michael Batio's guitar that fan off the nut.

    I just can't get it as clean as I want. Obviously turning the gain way down helps but then I'm not getting the tone I like. It's just a battle. When I lay more palm on it then it's too muted.

    Any tips or techniques anyone can pass along?
    God I'd love to be able to help and I was actually thinking about this when I was playing the other night. The only thought I was able to come up with is that sometimes I use some strange fingerings to mute the sttings. An example would be how I play Little Dreamer. In the opening riff I use my middle finger to fret the 8th fret on the E string and use my ring finger to mute the strings so they don't ring. Most people would play the 8th fretted note on the E string with their ring finger. This all started because I had a 5150 amp and the damn thing was uncontrollable so I tried anything I could to keep the unwanted strings from ringing.

    So I'd say to maybe try different fingerings that might allow you to use a different finger to help mute as opposed to your palm.
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

  5. #5
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Default

    I used to have real problems with it early on, especially with the high E, and B string. I never really had issues with the G personally.
    What I did was really focus on my muting technique in both hands. It's second nature now, and I don't really think about it much any more, but basically on my fretting hand, I just tend to flatten and kind of roll my hand on the neck if that makes any sense. It's a split second thing, and just comes down to timing, so it's not like you are contorting uncomfortably for extended periods.
    In other words, when I'm paying the E-A-D-G strings primarily, then I rotate my wrist, and edge my first, second, or middle finger (depending on the fingering) to mute the B and E.
    I kinda do a similar thing with my picking hand palm, as well as the knuckles of my pinky, and fourth finger, but it's a much more pronounced rolling method. If you look at how I play, my hand is always changing position, and rolling across the bridge to isolate strings, partially mute others, and also pull squeals, and squawks using my fourth finger nail.
    One thing is I don't use a pick, though I'm not a true finger picker either, as I use my first finger nail and callous as my pick.
    I think that's why I learned how to tame open strings the way I did because naturally a pick is a little more precise that a finger digging into the strings the way I use it.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk Get The Show On The Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    I used to have real problems with it early on, especially with the high E, and B string. I never really had issues with the G personally.
    What I did was really focus on my muting technique in both hands. It's second nature now, and I don't really think about it much any more, but basically on my fretting hand, I just tend to flatten and kind of roll my hand on the neck if that makes any sense. It's a split second thing, and just comes down to timing, so it's not like you are contorting uncomfortably for extended periods.
    In other words, when I'm paying the E-A-D-G strings primarily, then I rotate my wrist, and edge my first, second, or middle finger (depending on the fingering) to mute the B and E.
    I kinda do a similar thing with my picking hand palm, as well as the knuckles of my pinky, and fourth finger, but it's a much more pronounced rolling method. If you look at how I play, my hand is always changing position, and rolling across the bridge to isolate strings, partially mute others, and also pull squeals, and squawks using my fourth finger nail.
    One thing is I don't use a pick, though I'm not a true finger picker either, as I use my first finger nail and callous as my pick.
    I think that's why I learned how to tame open strings the way I did because naturally a pick is a little more precise that a finger digging into the strings the way I use it.
    This is a good point. For me it's not just one thing, but a combination of a lot of little things using both hands to deaden the unwanted strings. I had real problems when I first started playing, on a clean channel I was fine, but as soon as I added any sort of distortion it sounded like holy hell.

    The thing I noticed is that I use my fret hand as much if not more than my pick hand to mute the unwanted strings. A good example is the first lick in the Jamie's Cryin' solo where he hits the open high E and B strings. You can't really palm mute that for it to sound right so you have to use your fret hand to mute the other strings. At least that's what I do.
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

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  8. #7
    Atomic Punk japeape's Avatar
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    Default

    This was one of the issues that made me, ultimately, quit guitar.
    It was extremely frustrating, and my issues were in the same location as your's.

    I would do fast pull-offs, even typical pentatonic runs, the repeating one's,
    and i'd get endless string noise after jumping off one string and hammering the
    one below.

    I tried muting with my right hand, but that made it sound too staccato.
    Then i used the left hand fingers to dampen, and it just never felt natural.
    I sucked at slide, too, with that dampening technique.

    That extra noise just aggravated me to no end, especially magnified through
    a loud amp.

  9. #8
    Atomic Punk Get The Show On The Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by japeape View Post
    This was one of the issues that made me, ultimately, quit guitar.
    It was extremely frustrating, and my issues were in the same location as your's.

    I would do fast pull-offs, even typical pentatonic runs, the repeating one's,
    and i'd get endless string noise after jumping off one string and hammering the
    one below.

    I tried muting with my right hand, but that made it sound too staccato.
    Then i used the left hand fingers to dampen, and it just never felt natural.
    I sucked at slide, too, with that dampening technique.

    That extra noise just aggravated me to no end, especially magnified through
    a loud amp.
    Heh, heh, I'm gonna go play a little right now because this talk has got me curious about what I actually do to eliminate the unwanted noise. I really don't pay attention to what I'm doing, and I know this was a frustration when I first started playing too, but I obviously figured it out, even if it was subconciously.
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

  10. #9
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Default

    Pfft. Don't listen to all these guys who can play, listen to a hack like me.

    Just use open tunings and barre chord everything.

    Fixed.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

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  12. #10
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Using instruments that aren't actually plugged in, can also work wonders!
    This "technique" can also be applied to video cameras. A classic band I once heard of, used to make crowds think they were being filmed...
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

  13. #11
    Eruption smme5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by japeape View Post
    This was one of the issues that made me, ultimately, quit guitar.
    It was extremely frustrating, and my issues were in the same location as your's.

    I would do fast pull-offs, even typical pentatonic runs, the repeating one's,
    and i'd get endless string noise after jumping off one string and hammering the
    one below.

    I tried muting with my right hand, but that made it sound too staccato.
    Then i used the left hand fingers to dampen, and it just never felt natural.
    I sucked at slide, too, with that dampening technique.

    That extra noise just aggravated me to no end, especially magnified through
    a loud amp.
    The best example I can use is the outro to "Bark at the Moon." That lick incorporates the g- b-e. I can get it going through the first two licks but the third just causes everything to get loud and unclean, actually the last lick as well. Then it starts over of course and I got a mess on my hands.

    This is the best example I can think of that every one will know. It's not one lick in general. It's the continuous licks up or down the neck.

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  15. #12
    Romeo Delight erasetheprocess's Avatar
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    Default

    I guess I have just learned to mute with both hands. I'm a heavy palm muter to begin with, but if you place your fingers, or the sides of them on the strings you don't mean to pluck as you are in your proper position, it might help. I guess I have longer fingers though too, so for me, it might happen naturally.

    As for those "hair bands," I see Andy James use them all the time, and have heard about their popularity over the past few years, but I think they get used more for recording than playing live. I bought some just to see how much of a difference it made, but in my opinion, they will help hide sloppy playing, so I don't like to practice with them on. I honestly used them for about 10 minutes, took them off, then never put them back on. Nothing is going to replace good foundations and technique, and the only way to get that is keep practicing.

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  17. #13
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Pfft. Don't listen to all these guys who can play, listen to a hack like me.

    Just use open tunings and barre chord everything.

    Fixed.
    Don't sell yourself short DD. You're a pretty damn good bass man!

  18. #14
    Atomic Punk japeape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smme5150 View Post
    The best example I can use is the outro to "Bark at the Moon." That lick incorporates the g- b-e. I can get it going through the first two licks but the third just causes everything to get loud and unclean, actually the last lick as well. Then it starts over of course and I got a mess on my hands.

    This is the best example I can think of that every one will know. It's not one lick in general. It's the continuous licks up or down the neck.
    That's a great lick to get down.

    The third one in the sequence, i always played it using a string skip (instead of a huge stretch).
    I used to blaze through that one, when i was sixteen or seventeen.
    I can still picture the shapes of the lick in my mind.

    Another great, fast repeating lick is the one in "Lightning Strikes."
    That entire solo just builds like an orgasm.

  19. #15
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    This is a tough question for me, because if forced me to think about what I'm doing subconsciously. I mainly palm mute the top strings, and for the bottom strings, it's a combination of using the back of my pinky and the tip of the ring finger on my picking hand, and muting strings below the fretted note on my fretting finger. I also find myself muting the string above the fretted note with the tip of my finger. I've never really evaluated how I accomplish it before, but that seems to be what I'm doing.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

 

 

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