Watch the Muting online guitar lesson by Andrew Ford from Blues Bass Survival Guide
Muting is a very useful tool for blues bass playing as well as many other styles. I use the muted effect to control dynamics, give my notes more punch, clarity, tone versatility, to dampen or limit the ringing of a note, and to replicate that round upright bass sound that I love and that is so appropriate for blues bass. There are a few different ways that I use muting when playing blues lines. The first is a left hand technique used when playing a shuffle where I raise the finger slightly off the string when playing the second note of a two note shuffle triplet figure as in the first example. I sometimes use the other fingers of my left hand for an even tighter muted effect creating ghost notes. Example two is a technique with the right hand where I play a note with my index finger and use my middle finger to stop whatever notes I choose to mute. These two muting techniques are ones that I use but they are only a means to an end, find whatever way that is comfortable for you to reproduce the appropriate sound for the style of music you are playing. I also use a right hand technique with my thumb in conjunction with these other techniques to get that round, thumpy sound.