When playing tapping licks that involve string skips or lots of movement between strings, how are you supposed to mute the other strings? The strings above the note being played can be muted with the fretting hand, but below that note I no longer can use my palm for muting.
I've tried using the unused fingers to mute but this only works with very specific patterns.

Is there any way to mute with my hands or do I have to keep hair bands around the neck?

  • This is something that I've struggled with from my bass. Hair bands are not big enough to mute for the bass as effectively as I'd like. This product seems promising and at the price point, I may just give it a try even though I don't tap very much. reverb.com/item/… Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


Fret wraps (or hair bands, basically anything that can wrap around a fretboard and mute the strings) are used to mute the open strings while performing a tapping passage. They are placed around the strings near the nut of the instrument to prevent the open strings from sounding. This limits the use of open strings during performance.

A sponge mute can also be placed, either under the strings at the nut or bridge. This is used more commonly with bass players to achieve a more "thumpy" sound.

  • Isn't the OP aware of this, as mentioned in the question?
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 11:17
  • "is there any way to mute with my hands or do i have to keep hair bands around the neck." I guess my answer boils down to, use hair bands/fret wraps, consider sponge. Muting strings in the manner the OP asks is nigh on impossible. :)
    – Kyle
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 11:19

I think I've (almost) found a solution, at least for situations involving just one tapping finger. it involves using the palm to mute similar to normal playing. the trick is to instead aiming for the very tip of the tapping finger and pulling off towards the adjacent string, hammer-on very slightly below the string and pull of upwards. i got the idea from andy mckee talking about how some acoustic players pull off more upwards than side ways. as a side benefit the tapping finger now has no chance of bumping the next string with the pull off.

the only problem is it doesn't seem to work for the string right next to the tapped note as that puts the tapping finger at an odd an uncomfortable angle. this also doesn't work with tapping for 2 or more fingers nearly as well as it works with one. but for situations were it can be used it drastically improves string skipping runs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.