How to Play Ghost Notes


How to Play Ghost Notes. Ghost notes most often appear in bass music and may also be called "dead notes." They're essentially muted or very soft notes. A listener doesn't so much hear them as feel them. Ghost notes can add to the fullness of a piece of music, or change the feeling of a riff that's repeated.

  • Look at the sheet music you're using. If there's a note between parentheses, it's probably a ghost note. However, such notes may be additional but optional notes. Make sure you know what is meant before you choose to play them as ghost notes. An "X" can also indicate a ghost note.

  • Put a finger from your left hand, or fingering hand, very lightly on a string, but don't push it all the way to the board. Then pluck this string. The resulting sound should be rhythmic, not musical, and should be as loud as a played note.

  • Alternate between playing a note and playing a ghost note on the same fret. This helps you learn to tell the difference between how much pressure you apply to the string with your left hand for each type of note.

  • Develop the practice of switching the fingers with which you pluck the ghost notes. Doing this should improve your ghost note technique.

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