Ghost notes, Oooooooo

Please could someone let me know what a ghost note is and how you play it?

I’m looking at this and it say’s the notes in the ( ) are ghost notes.

Thanks. :slight_smile:


I thought they were just when you hit the strings unintentionally whilst strumming :thinking:

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In this instance does it not mean that the notes in the brackets can be optionally played for embellishments.

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Always thought they meant that you don’t play it but the previously rang note is still ringing, but that can’t be true for some those notes.

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Yes and no. You could fret them but not pick them for that barely noticeable sound.

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In this instance I think because the bit in ghost notes is played by Flea on bass rather than John on electric, so it’s optional rather than a classical understanding of ghost notes.


I never hit an unintentional string, it must be ghosts! :scream::man_facepalming:t3::roll_eyes:


I am no expert as well, but I understand it this way… I think that It means that the notes should continue to ring out, by not taking the finger of.

So, when fretting the E on the D-String (2nd fret) you should leave the finger there until you take it off only to hammer it back on again. Same goes for the C at the end (3rd fret, a string) and the open d string.

The ghost note on the first c (3rd fret a string) seems to be just wrong, just play it normally and you should be fine. If it sounds weird, just compare it with other tabs, there should be enough for this riff :wink:

Leaving the fingers in the frets gives the riff a nice “flow”, you would not have when taking the fingers off; it would sound kinda “cut off” or “interrupted”.

But what do I know, I am no expert either :sweat_smile:

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If you can see the riff being formed around a C chord and an F chord then those tabbed notes are grounded in a harmonic setting. The notes in brackets will be (optional) percussive strikes of the strings shown. The chord is being held -positionally speaking - but the string is dead either due to palm muting or left hand muting attained by releasing the pressure holding down the notes.


Thank you for the replies everyone. You have made it make sense. :slight_smile:

Not bad- only seven responses till @Richard_close2u hits the Wikipedia definition :rofl:


You’ve got me there Brian … a head-scratching not-quite-figured-out comment.

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Hmmm…. I play this song.

Specifically this song/tab @adi_mrok is right, those are fleas bits that sound good when you’re playing solo.

So they’re not ghost in this one.

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In music a ghost note is a musical note with a rhythmic value, but no discernible pitch when played. In musical notation this is represented by an “X” for a note head instead of an oval, or parentheses around the note head…
On stringed instruments this is played by sounding a muted string. “Muted to the point where it is more percussive sounding than obvious and clear in pitch. There is a pitch, to be sure, but its musical value is more rhythmic than melodic or harmonic…they add momentum and drive to any bass line.”

There is a little bit of info on this page

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