By Ryan Williams
If you've seen a Victor Wooten Band show, you've seen Wooten, his brother, and his bassist moving what look like hair scrunchies up on down the neck. And indeed, those are scrunchies used to dampen unwanted string noise during two-handed tappings runs and other high-impact playing.
Gruv Gear now offers their own product intended to replace those scrunchies with something a little more versatile - the FretWrap. Much like these scrunchies, the FretWrap uses a spongy fabric on the inside of the wrap. However, this material is attached to a Velcro strap used to adjust the tension to the player's preference. Wrap it around your bass neck, tighten and fasten the strap, and you're good to go.
Just as advertised, the FretWrap dampens string noise when playing, either tapping or plucking. Depending on the tension and placement on the neck, you get an abbreviated note or a more dampened note with fewer overtones (placing more emphasis on the fundamental of the note). You won't get a full-on capo effect, but you do have a range of options available with FretWraps that you wouldn't get from the hair scrunchies.
FretWraps aren't a replacement for learning good left-hand muting techniques, but they do give you another option for cleaning up highly percussive playing. No matter what the tension, I didn't have a problem moving it back over the nut when I wanted it out of the way. Aside from having to remember that open strings don't ring out when the FretWrap is on (the fault of my memory more than anything else), it's been an easy adjustment to using the FretWrap. It's got a permanent home on the neck of my main bass.