It’s not uncommon for guitar players to struggle with unwanted string noise when performing phrasing techniques such as bends and vibrato.
In the video lesson provided, I’ll demonstrate effective techniques to help you minimise unwanted string noise in your playing. The key technique you’ll learn is left hand muting, which proves to be one of the best ways to address this issue. Below I have summarised the tips from the video for your reference so you can achieve cleaner, more professional phrasing!
Left Hand Technique
There are multiple methods in which you can employ left hand string muting. Here are just a few tips for you to consider in general practice:
- Always touch the string above! Most often with your first finger, but also sometimes with your third. Make sure you touch the string above with the flesh of your finger, not the nail.
- If you’re playing chords or arpeggios, you should ensure that the fingers on your left hand are arched to allow room for the strings to ring out. You can achieve this better by moving the thumb down on the back of the neck. If you’re playing a melody however, you’ll want to keep your fingers relatively flat. For this, you’ll want to bring the thumb high and almost over the top.
- Use your third finger as the leading finger for bending, while the second and first fingers provide support. Ensure that the first finger is slightly higher than the other two, lightly touching the string above to eliminate noise. By maintaining this finger formation, you can achieve cleaner bends with less background noise.
- When performing vibrato with the third finger, make sure to keep your first finger stable and flat so that it is muting the neighbouring strings. The first finger does not need to press down on a fret, but instead it should rest gently on the strings.
Right Hand Technique
Now let’s look at the right hand. It’s good practice to use the palm of your hand to mute the strings above the note you are playing. So, for example, if you are playing the G string, try to rest your palm on the E and A strings. It’s better to use the left hand to mute the D string.
I hope these tips and exercises help you improve your string bending technique and eliminate unwanted string noise. Remember to practice regularly and pay attention to your hand position and finger formation! By incorporating these techniques into your playing, you’ll achieve cleaner and more controlled bends and vibrato.