How to Mute Guitar Strings (Electric or Acoustic Techniques)

When you first start to play guitar the furthest thing from your mind is how to mute guitar strings. But then as you get a little further a long into playing. You want to get that same sound that you hear from your favorite guitar players.

If you want to learn how to mute guitar strings. I have 6 good tips that will help you learn how to mute guitar strings: Mute guitar strings with your left hand. Right hand muting, Using one finger to mute guitar strings. Release and damping strings.Use the Fleshy part of your hand to get that chunky blues sound. Using your thumb to mute strings.

If your ready to learn how to get your guitar to sound better and stand out. Then grab your guitar and lets get started.

Guitar String Damping

When you are strumming a chord, but then you want it to be a little quieter. You can use your right hand or your left hand. Meaning your fretting hand. To stop the ringing out that you would hear when the string is played completely open.

What you can do is for example. Say you are playing the D chord. But this will work on any of the open chords. What you do is release the tension off the strings. Don’t completely remove your fingers off the strings.

You can practice this by making the chord. Start with the A chord. If you need help with chords check out the guitar bootcamp. Where I cover the 11 essential chords and lots more.

After placing your fingers on the strings to make the A chord. Strum the chord. Then release the chord, by removing the tension off of the 3 strings. Then place tension again on the strings. And strum again. Do this several times then move to the E chord and then the D chord. This is a great way to practice guitar string damping.

Right Hand Muting on Guitar

A lot of the time when you are playing guitar. You may not want all the strings to ring out. What you can do is mute the strings. Not completely mute them but just dreading the sound. One of the most effective ways is by using your right hand. Your strumming hand.

What you want to do is use the side of your hand. The fleshy or fatty part of your hand. See the image below.

If you were to make your hand like you were going to Karate chop the strings. The side of your hand and below that towards your palm is what you want to use. When you mute the strings. Place this part of your hand across the strings. You are going to lightly cover the strings that you want muted.

This take some time and practice. It is a little tricky at first. Because it is all in how and where, you place your hand on the strings. Of course you want to place them close to the bridge.

What Part of the Hand Do you use to Get that Chunky Blues Sound?

Your Pick is held between your first finger and your thumb.

When practicing muting the strings place your fatty part of your hand across the strings. Lightly at first then playing a couple of strings. The harder you press against the strings. The more muted the strings become. And the sound becomes more distinct.

Try playing a 12 bars blues boogie woogie, and start muting the strings. Like I just explained. You will see when playing the strings that the more you mute the strings the deeper and crunchier the sound. Also when you mute the strings right after the bridge the sound is at a higher pitch. (Don’t Know the Blues? Try my Blues Composition Course).

Then moving that picking hand. That is muting the strings. Moving towards the pickups, or the sound hole. If you are using an acoustic guitar. You will notice that the sound gets warmer and thicker.

There is no science when muting. It is really depends on the muted sound that you like to hear. When you are muting the strings.


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Related Article: Best beginner electric guitar song & Easy.

Related Questions

How Do You Mute One String on A Guitar?

There are certain chords that you want to play that do not involve the 6th string. Like a 5th string root barre chords. You just want to play the first 5 strings. If you were to play the low E string. It wouldn’t sound good. So what you want to do is use your finger to mute the string.

A good example to this is playing the B chord. When your strumming the B chord. You don’t want the Low E string. Or the 6th string to ring out.

As you can tell by the chord diagram. Your first finger is like a bar across the first 5 strings. Then your third finger is barring the D G and B strings. At the 4th fret. Look at the 6th string see the X over the 6th string. This indicates do not play the 6th strings.

So what you want to do to make sure your not playing that string. Place that first finger against the 6th string. Just barely nudge it against the string. This way if your strumming away and you do accidentally strike the E string. No one will know. Because that string will be muted, and it will not ring out.

How Do I Mute My E String?

Another way to mute the E string is Jimi Hendrix Style. That’s right with your thumb. This can be difficult for a couple of reasons. If you have smaller hands. To reach around the neck of the guitar. Place your thumb over the E string. While also keeping the rest of your fingers firmly planted on the strings. They are supposed to be fretting. Well that’s hard.

I don’t recommend if you are a beginner to reach over the top of the guitar. This will make it almost impossible to play chords. And it is going to be frustrating enough. Learn the proper techniques then when you become a rock star you can act like one. Meaning muting the E string with your thumb.

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Learn How Do I Stop from Muting Near By Strings?

To stop other fingers from muting strings. It is imperative to learn proper technique. Especially at the beginning of your guitar journey. Without the proper technique you will struggle learning how to play chords.

Not just play the chords but to actually play them, and have them sound great every time. There are several things to stop muting the near by strings. “Your Left hand has a lot more to do then just fret the notes”. source

A few of these techniques are:

  1. Thumb position low towards the middle of guitar neck
  2. Space between guitar neck and hand
  3. Play on the tips of your fingers
  4. Play right behind the fret.

To learn these techniques and more take a look at 10 Things Every Beginner Guitar Player Needs to Know.

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