Damping

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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HansDeMoor

Damping

Post by HansDeMoor » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:46 am

I am lost when it comes to damping. Most guitar method books don't give any kind of systematic approach and I'm not able to get a teacher, so any help would be appreciated. For example, if I do an ascending scale in any key from the low E string to to the high E string, by the time I'm playing on the B string, the low E, A, and D strings are ringing away. I can mute a single string with my thumb but how do I keep them all quiet when I'm playing on the two highest strings?

Hans

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Damping

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:31 am

You play and you mute. Right hand: place i-m-a on 3, 2 and 1st string. Play i and place i back, play m and place back, etc. Then do the reverse: a-m-i or try a-m-i, or i-a-m

If you get bored, try playing different chords and start with your thumb: play p and damp, play i and damp, etc.
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Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Damping

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:13 pm

Sympathetic ringing will always be there. If notes ringing over other notes are an issue, then you mute them. Everyone is different when it comes to this. Some people don't mind the ringing of the lower strings while others are very sensitive about it.

To me, it depends on the situation, I'll mute ringing strings when the harmony changes. The sympathetic ringing (the ringing of the overtones) helps the guitar sustain.
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Alicia
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Re: Damping

Post by Alicia » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:37 pm

I generally let them ring - unless a hefty bass note spoils a melody not supported by that harmony note - nor where it's written in the sheet music emphatically as a rest.
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benessa
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Re: Damping

Post by benessa » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:51 am

Hans, in your example you mention playing an ascending scale starting on the 6th string and going towards the first string. You can lightly mute each ringing bass string as soon as you've left it. The thumb just moves down the strings one at a time following the fingers. The thumb can also mute several strings at once. In some pieces where the thumb is very busy I use a free left hand finger to quickly touch and mute a ringing string. Any sort of muting at first takes careful practice, but I find now it's quite automatic. And it's very important for the clarity of a piece, especially one with a lot of contrapuntal activity.
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Richard Judge

Re: Damping

Post by Richard Judge » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:25 am

Have a look at the D02 posts in the online lessons forum, I have learnt alot about damping following these.
You only need to damp the open strings, fingered notes can be damped by removing your finger. Similarily notes played on the same string stop each other.
Use a finger rest stroke to damp a lower string. (eg Play B damp G)
Use a thumb rest stroke to damp a higher string. (eg play E damp A)
Roll the thumb back onto the previous string to damp a lower note (string) (eg Play A damp E)
Use a flattened left hand finger to damp the previous string (eg Playing C on the second string damp the 1st E string)

Sympathetic ringing I tend not to worry but you can rest the side of your thumb against the bass strings.

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bergmann
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Re: Damping

Post by bergmann » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:08 pm

RichardJ have mentioned a lot of possibilities.
There are guitarist who play a 10 stringed guitar (or lut) where the resonance of the extra strings gives a special sound. So it also a matter of taste how much you damp the strings. If you are concerned about performance practise from different periods, you could argue that renaissance and baroque music should be played with less damping than romantic music. Personally I like to play Bach without much damping and at open strings whenever possible. Often the dissonance is round a pedal point. And most works of Bach is written for the church - and churches and deep resonance goes hand in hand. But you could argue for other practice as well.

One thing I find that is ignored by many players is playing staccato,legato and portato with full control. In my opinion it is a must in classical and romantic music. I find many guitarist spend more time playing scales fast than to play with fully controlled staccato/legato ect. Can you play a full scale up and down in staccato without missing the damping in a single note? (I can't). This seems to be more a problem for guitarist than for other instrumentalists.

I often have to tell myself: "How on earth can you get such a stupid idea that you can control this or that in up-tempo, when you can't control in half tempo?"
This question is often asked while trying to play a fully controlled mix of legato/staccato.

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Hany Hayek
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Re: Damping

Post by Hany Hayek » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:14 pm

Richard Judge wrote:Roll the thumb back onto the previous string to damp a lower note (string) (eg Play A damp E)
How do you do that ? I am working on D01 Ricercar. What I do to silence the E when I have to move to A is use the side of my thumb (at first joint) to damp it. Is this correct.

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Re: Damping

Post by 2handband » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:35 pm

I'll admit... this is something I struggle with a little. Coming from a background in electric guitar I've been steeped in the practice of always deadening every string you are not playing no matter what, but I'm starting to get the feeling that in CG it is slowing me down unnessecarily.

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markodarko
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Re: Damping

Post by markodarko » Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:59 am

I think it depends on how you're dampening them, Mr. 2hand. If you're using your palm a la electric guitar then I'd agree, it's going to slow you down considerably, but if you use your RH thumb with a combination of LH muting then it shouldn't slow you down at all.

Can you post a small vid of how you're currently dampening? It may help shed light on things.
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2handband
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Re: Damping

Post by 2handband » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:39 pm

Well yes, what I'm struggling with is avoiding the use of my palm but it's hard to find a good alternative in some cases. For instance if I'm using my thumb on the third and fourth strings, trying to keep the lower strings silent. I'm really anal about it; if I didn't deliberately set the string in motion it HAS to be damped.

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markodarko
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Re: Damping

Post by markodarko » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:44 pm

Most of the time though, unless it's a run or a ringing note which would clash with the one you're just about to play, sustained notes are quite desirable in CG. They give a certain "ambience" to the sound through the sympathetic resonances. Take Leyenda for example. You wouldn't want to dampen the notes you're not playing as they all add to the "reverbyness" of the sound - which is more or less pronounced on different guitars, of course.

I'd definitely stop muting with your palm, though. It does tend to compromise your hand position.
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2handband
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Re: Damping

Post by 2handband » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:08 pm

markodarko wrote:Most of the time though, unless it's a run or a ringing note which would clash with the one you're just about to play, sustained notes are quite desirable in CG. They give a certain "ambience" to the sound through the sympathetic resonances. Take Leyenda for example. You wouldn't want to dampen the notes you're not playing as they all add to the "reverbyness" of the sound - which is more or less pronounced on different guitars, of course.

I'd definitely stop muting with your palm, though. It does tend to compromise your hand position.
Yeah, I get that. Its just hard to adjust my thinking after so many years of playing mostly electric. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks I suppose...

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Hany Hayek
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Re: Damping

Post by Hany Hayek » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:28 pm

Okay gentlemen, back to my question since I revived the thread :)

Roll the thumb back onto the previous string to damp a lower note (string) (eg Play A damp E)

How do you do that ? I am working on D01 Ricercar. What I do to silence the E when I have to move to A is use the side of my thumb (at first joint) to damp it. Is this correct.

robert e
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Re: Damping

Post by robert e » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:30 pm

I'm coming back to classical after years of rock, blues, pop, etc. Muting in classical is something I never studied much, let alone mastered, so I've been attentive to it when I go to recitals and concerts. (Really, to all aspects of right hand technique, which deteriorated horribly during my time away.) So I've been freshly amazed at how agile and precise the thumb of an elite classical player can be around the bass strings, as it dances around sounding, muting, resting, hovering. That the classical thumb is expected to be as active and agile as any other finger is a recent realization, and especially with regard to precise muting, this is simply a facet of technique that's new to me and that I'm just going to have to buckle down and build from scratch.

A few observations to share with my fellow re-beginners, and beginners: 1) A string only has to be touched for an instant to be damped, so a quick thumb (or finger, or whatever), can do much in a fraction of a beat. 2) There are frequently opportunities for a LH finger to quickly touch a ringing string. 3) Some people can damp more than one string at once with their RH thumb; size, and the tip joint, can help here.

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