Damping/Muting When Using Slide


Blues Newbie
I downloaded the ADBSG course in early January. I've been working on the standard tuning song (Up and Gone Blues). I have the notes down as well as the rhythm. I'm amazed that this single song has many, many blues licks that are both familiar and seen in other songs. Getting this song down will provide a nice inventory of acoustic Delta blues licks that can be added to other songs. Nice choice for a starter.

At this point, I'm trying to smooth it all out into a presentable performance, but, I think I need to improve my muting skills. I use my palm as well as individual fingers to mute strings after picking, but what I need to master is muting all the unwanted strings when I move the slide up or down. Sometimes, I get it right and things sound good, but mostly I create a good bit of unwanted noise even when I pick only the notes I want.

Mostly, I think this comes from behind the slide (between slide and nut). I attempt to rest a single finger behind the slide but get inconsistent results.

Is this just a matter of practice or are there some tips and techniques that you might suggest.

Thanks, folks.


Blues Newbie
I think it's mainly just practice. A couple of things to consider, start with a light glass slide, they are easier to control to begin with than heavy brass ones. Worry about tone and different slide materials later. Sometimes the noise is caused when you lift the slide up and replace it on the strings, try and get one of your trailing fingers to touch the strings first, that kills the noise, and just be gentle. That's where a light slide helps. You have to get in the habit of leaving your fingers resting lightly on every string but the one you are picking and let your thumb rest on the three bass strings.

The second song in the course, in open G, I found easier than the first, it requires you to maintain a constant bass with your thumb but it involves less slide movement than the first song. So you might want to try that for a change.

Good luck.


Blues Newbie
Thanks glynnd.

I'll give your suggestions a try. But, I think you're are right, it's a matter of practice of the right things. I've got several pyrex slides of different sizes. I'll play around with them instead of the brass.

I've looked at the second song. I do like the sound of open G, but told myself I needed to get the first one under control instead of jumping around. I don't mind working on the first song since it contains so many good licks. I'll give it another week, then take a break and try the next one.

It's a good course if you look past the fact that there are only four songs and realize there are a ton of things to be learned from them.

Thanks for the suggestions.........


I play 'err' guitar.
For behind the slide muting, you could consider using a scrunchy. One of Griff's buddies was selling these at BGU Live a couple of years ago and I haven't taken mine off the neck since. It's not that I don't mute, I do, but it's a great safety net for when I screw it up!

You don't have to use an official fret wrap... a hair scrunchy will work.

It is cheating? Maybe, but I wouldn't dig a ditch with my hands if I had a shovel.

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Blues - it's in me and it's got to come out.
I've just started tinkering with a slide and I keep the finger immediately behind the slide resting across all the strings as often as possible.

See you down the road :thumbup:


Blues Newbie
Very interesting idea Marv. I checked around the net and found several different designs. I may have to hit the drug store to pick up some hair products.
I can see how Velcro hair would damp the strings but I don't see how to easily go from damped strings to fully ringing strings. I'll give it a try and see how it sounds.


Blues Newbie
Thanks Hotlks. That is what I'm currently practicing. It works well when I get it right, but I need to develop a more gently hand. In the end, it's seems to be about hours spent practicing.