string dampening

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string dampening

Postby jazzyzebra » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:12 pm

Hey guys, hope all is well! I have a question regarding string dampening. Of the two tunings I employ, (four string equidistant D-G-B-E tining for jazz, Db-Ab-db-db with the top two strings coursed for my Hindustani Classical raga studies with my teacher), (and this happens especially in D-G-B-E) whenever I've playing a note or an entite tonal sentence, after pulling off the string I just played, the string "rings" out. Anything from playing one simple, sustained note @ 40 BPM to sweeping triad pairs and other arpeggiated material @200 bpm, causes "string ring."
Its happens on guitar too, and in fact, jazz guitarist George Van Epps invented a clip-on "string dampener," which mutes any open string from unintentionally ringing. . Consequently, I looked for mountain dulcomer string dampeners, and I stumbled across a "Jimmy Clip" and a "fret wrap." I then called up FolkCraft and asked Richard what he suggests, and he said that a capo would do the trick, but since I have a chromatic dulcimer, I never got a capo.
My question is whether or not any of you have any suggestions or experiences and advice for string dampening?
jazzyzebra
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Re: string dampening

Postby Sam E. » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:16 am

Sounds like you're into some fun music!

I'm not entirely sure that I understand what you mean by "ringing" here, but to me there's a big difference between the sound of a fretted string and an open string. If I don't want a D to be sustained into the next beat, either I'll fret it on a different string, or I'll mute it with one hand or the other.

On banjo, sometimes I'll loop a handkerchief over my 5th string (with both ends hanging down behind the neck) so I can strum 4-string chords. You could do something similar with a handkerchief or rag under and over the strings.

Sam
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Re: string dampening

Postby Ken Bloom » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:36 am

It sounds to me that you are speaking about sympathetic vibration. I used to have a Van Epps dampener on my guitar. It replaced the trussrod cover and had a simple arm that held a piece of heavy felt that you could flip down to dampen the open strings. You could achieve the same effect very easily by just having a piece of felt under the strings right up against the nut. The other alternative would be to develop the same sort of technique that steel guitar players use for damping. They use the little finger side of their palm to lightly touch the strings for damping leaving the fingers in position to pluck so that they can vary the amount of damping at will. If you need more info on either approach, just let me know. Hope this helps.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org
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Re: string dampening

Postby jazzyzebra » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:18 pm

Thank you so very much Ken! You know exactly what I'm talking about, and will heed your advice. I was born with an incurable, progressive connecyuvre tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes my body the inability to produce or synthesize collagen, the body's 'glue protein " that holds joints, skin, tissue and organ lining together, consequently, my joints, including my fingers, sublux and dislocate upon movement. Even when I wear my customized steel ring splints, my fingers hyperextension and popping out of socket, causes my fingers to unintentionally "pull off" the string of the note that I just played, causing the string to ring openly.
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Re: string dampening

Postby Ken Bloom » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:19 pm

Glad I could help.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org
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