First of all: hello bass forum. I've been lurking for a while, but decided to finally sign up to ask a question and perhaps contribute sometime.

I made this thread to ask about muting in general whilst playing fingerstyle. I see so many bassists making videos on youtube and the like of them playing whilst always anchoring either on just a lower string or a pickup - I was just wondering:

a) how bassists that do this mute strings as they go up a scale at higher speeds, for example (i.e. the string that they leave as they go up a string, e.g. from the D to the G string.

b) how they stop the sympathetic vibrations from the thicker strings if they're playing higher up (especially with 5 or 6 strings)

I've been playing for just under 2 years now, and recently moved from a 4 string to a 6 string. On a 4 string I always used a moving anchor, kind of like Mr. Nitti here does in Skitzo ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoLqaQmlx1Y ). Now I use a floating thumb method instead to mute the strings. It just keeps bugging me as to how other people don't seem to need to do this?

I can think of various ways in which to tackle this problem - e.g. with left hand technique such as having some of your finger sticking out over the string and touching the next (thicker) one down to mute it - but this seems kinda sloppy to me.

I guess you can also follow through with your finger and hit the next string down to mute it, but again this seems a tad sloppy and makes a thumping sound.

Am I missing something here? Please, enlighten me as to decent muting methods other than my own, bass forum!

(Example of someone just anchoring on a pickup or lower string: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtOZW4Sc8Ks )
Left-hand muting is indeed a big part of it. Everybody has their own way of doing things, though. Personally, I have fairly long fingers, so I can comfortably use both thumbs to mute, in addition to my left-hand fingers.
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If I understood this correctly;

I anchor my thumb on the string below the one I'm playing, unless it's chords or something similar. It's the "rake" technique, but a lot harder to get used to. It was impractical at first, but now it works really well for things like, well, muting.

For scales though, I tend to use my left hand to mute.
But when you mute with your left hand as you go up the scales, what exactly do you do?
Well, when im doing scales i unconciously let the last finger on the string im doing the scale go up a bit without leaving the string so it mute it. When im playing normally just doing random stuff or unprepared things (yep i mean to say jamming but everyone does so lets use another expression), i use either hand to mute the strings, the one that i feel will get the job done in a better way.

I like left hand muting, right hand muting not that much but i use them both. With the right hand i just put a finger or two over the string in the moment i want to make it stop ringing, since im playing with my hand im the air lately i use the thumb to mute most of the time instead of using it for support. With the left is just one of the methods your already described but doing it cleanly is something i just seem to have known even before starting to play. If i didnt read this and examined myself i would not had known i do that lol.
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when you lift your finger from a fret, you often successfully mute it. if not, you usually have a free finger on that hand. use that to deaden it. if you still are having trouble, you have your thumb, pinky, and ring finger on the plucking hand (depending on technique, you may not have those though).

I usually use my ring, pinky, and left hand to mute. you don't need the thumb, it makes stuff easier for many people.
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I guess it's just getting it precise when you're playing fast - kinda hard to lift up your finger slow enough to mute it fully, especially when it's a place with a harmonic node. I think I'm gonna try not using floating thumb for a while just to try and hone the other techniques for muting, because it somehow feels like I'm cheating. ¬_¬

Yeah, I use my ring finger sometimes for muting the string below too, Humanity.

Thanks for the replies, guys. ^_^
If your having loats of trouble a hairband or something at the top of the neck would also mute.
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Here's the thing, I've always anchored on my pickup on all of my basses, (apart from acoustics and ones with pickups that I can't anchor on, so I anchor on the body) and I never really have issues with muting. I don't really do anything to stop it.

I just don't need to
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So when your B string starts humming like hell you don't do anything about it?
It's all in the left hand. Even when you're going fast it's not really a matter of how fast you lift your finger up, but how smoothly. A light stutter-step in lifting your finger, even very quickly, will effectively mute the tone.
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So when your B string starts humming like hell you don't do anything about it?

The only time my B string hums is when I want it to.

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Surely your fingers are over those when you're playing lower strings though?