Most of the model updating techniques do not employ damping matrices and hence cannot be used for accurate prediction of complex frequency response functions (FRFs) and complex mode shapes. In this paper, response function method (RFM) is extended to deal with the complexity of FRF by updating damping matrices along with mass and stiffness matrices. The effectiveness of the damped FE model updating procedure is demonstrated by actual laboratory experiments of an F-shaped test structure. The updated results have shown that the damped RFM model updating procedure can be used to derive accurate model of the system. This is illustrated by matching of the complex FRFs obtained from the updated model with the experimental data. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.