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When I play a certain note like the 9th fret on the G string or the 8th fret on the B string (it is more prominent with higher notes) it seems to ring out almost like reverb but I have no reverb on my amp. It is only annoying when I play single notes (like a solo) and it rings out after I've lifted my finger off the note or even tried to mute it. I guess it's almost like a harmonic being played but my finger is on the space in between the fret. It only stops ringing if I put my entire palm on the string. My guitar is an Ibanez GRX70QA and my amp is a Blackstar V3 10W. I would say there's something wrong with the amp (even though it is like new and working perfect) but I've tried this with other amps and it still happens so I think it might be my guitar or possibly because I have distortion on?

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    It’s more likely your technique than anything else. When you go to stop the note, are you muting all of the strings? Aug 17, 2022 at 2:50
  • Probably linked : music.stackexchange.com/questions/104170/…
    – Tom
    Aug 17, 2022 at 5:32
  • It would help a lot if you can post an audio clip (video even better) of the issue occurring. Most people are telling you it's an issue with your technique but it would be good to rule out other things.
    – helveticat
    Aug 22, 2022 at 12:22

4 Answers 4

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Muting guitar strings is a bit tricky, especially if you use lots of distortion, and is a significant part of playing technique you need to learn.

Whenever you play a note (or even a note is played by another source close to the instrument), other strings may also resonate with sympathetic vibration.

What might not be obvious is that strings can and do vibrate with many frequencies besides the fundamental frequency: there are also harmonic components an octave above, octave + fifth, 2 octaves and further up. Various frequencies of the note you play can excite various harmonics on other strings. E.g. the note on 9th fret of the G string is E4, and it can excite harmonics on both E strings, and also the A string. The note on the 8th fret of the B string is G4, and will excite G string, maybe also A string. The only solution to this is to make sure to mute all strings. There are various ways to do that, using both hands.

I guess it's almost like a harmonic being played but my finger is on the space in between the fret.

Touching a string with a single finger might be insufficient to mute it, especially when the finger is close to the harmonic node. As you noticed, you need to use whole palm or several fingers touching at various points. This is particularly tricky because depending on the part of the neck or specific notes you play the same muting technique may or may not work.

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In addition to sympathetic resonance from other strings, on guitars with vibrato tailpiece the vibrato springs can resonate too. You can tell this from strings resonating by muting all strings for a short moment. If the sound comes back after you free the strings, it's the vibrato.

If it's the vibrato, there are tricks for muting it like piece of foam in the cavity, rubber tubes around the springs or just changing the tension a bit to change the resonance frequencies to some rarely used key.

On some guitars the piece of string between nut and tuner can vibrate too, and some guitarists like to mute it.

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  • wondering if some occurrances of the word "strings" in the first paragraph should read "springs"?
    – Yorik
    Aug 23, 2022 at 19:00
  • @Yorik yes, fixed now
    – ojs
    Aug 23, 2022 at 19:18
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    Good point. In tune-o-matic also the part of the string between the bridge and the tailpiece can resonate. Aug 23, 2022 at 19:53
  • The string section between Jazzmaster-style vibrato and bridge is on the other hand awesome and should not be muted.
    – ojs
    Aug 23, 2022 at 20:52
  • I stuff little tubes of rolled up paper into my springs to dampen this effect. Aug 28, 2022 at 0:19
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Guitarists all have to learn at some point to mute the strings not being played, particularly when using high volumes or distortion.

The reasons are exactly as user 1079505 states, and are a part of guitaring.

We all have to find our own way of muting the unplayed strings - palm of playing hand, fingers of each hand, very careful playing - and there is no one way that works for all. Keeping a good distance from the amp also helps.

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maybe you are not releasing the fret in a clean way? try to do it slower and in a 90° angle away from the neck, do you know what pull offs are? Maybe you are accidentally doing that?, also, try muting strings with your left and right hand, by resting your right hand palm on the bridge and bringing it onto the string you wish to mute, it is very far away from harmonics there but still very accessable and works for me when i play stuff from (Enter any thrash, power, glam or groove metal band name here)

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