If you want to know what palm muting is, how it works. And how to do it to make your guitar sound awesome. Then let me give you 10 palm muting tips. These tips will take your playing to the next level once you have mastered them. Here’s what every beginner must know for palm muting a guitar.
So if you want to learn how to palm mute guitar. Here’s 10 Palm Muting Tips you must know.
Palm Muting Tips
- Right hand technique
- What part of your hand to use
- How to palm mute
- Tips on dampening the strings
- How to strum and mute the strings
- Muting the strings playing power chords
- Changing the tone of muted strings
- Differences between muting and palm muting
- How to practice palm muting
If your ready to finally master palm muting then grab your guitar and lets get started.
What is Palm Muting?
Before you can do something you need to know what it is. Maybe you already know what it is and you can move to learn Right Hand Technique. But for everyone else palm muting is: Dampening or softening the sound of the guitar. By Dampening the sustain or vibration of the strings with your strumming hand.
In music there are different dynamics from very very soft, to very very loud. And everything in between. And there are different symbols placed on the staff to indicate how you are to play and articulate the music. Like (mp) means moderately soft. Source If you were to see (mf) This would mean your playing it moderately loud.
So when you are strumming your guitar it is going to be played with different dynamics. This can be seen or heard when you listen to songs. If they were all the same dynamics then they would all sound the same. Each song would be played soft or every song would be played strumming all out and loud as can be.
But this is not the case. In order to have different articulation on a guitar you can mute the strings. This will give you a softer and cooler sound when you need it.
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What Part of Your Hand to Use Palm Muting?
We call it palm muting, but really you are not using the palm of your hand to dampen the strings. It is more the fatty part of your hand that is used. If you are looking at the palm of your hand. And you were to draw lines down to your wrist.
You would have 3 sections. Section one is where your thumb and index finger is. Then section two is where you second and third finger sit. And then there is section three. This is from your pinky to the edge of your hand. Take a look at the photo to see what part of your hand to use to palm mute.
From the line at the third finger and up and down where the blue arrows are. This is the section of hand to use to palm mute. That’s easier said then done. Like everything It takes time. Doing it again and again to get comfortable with muting the strings.
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Right Hand Technique Muting the Strings
Let’s discuss how you are going to palm mute the strings. You can palm mute with a pick or without holding a pick. But for now let’s put the pick in your hand. If you need to know the proper way you should be holding the pick. Then click this link for 10 things every beginner guitar players needs to know.
Next your going to want to take the fleshy (fatty) part of your hand. And lay your hand across the strings. At the bridge of the guitar. Now if you dig in to the strings and then strum the guitar you will notice that the strings are muted.
How to Strum and Mute the Strings
When you strum you are moving your arm like a pendulum up and down. Your hand is floating or hovering above the strings. You want to be consistent with the width of your strumming. From top to bottom of the strings. When you are palm muting your hand is anchored on the strings. So the strumming motion is all in your wrist.
You can also change dynamics when you are strumming and all the strings are ringing out. Then you are going to palm mute the strings by basically for lack of a better term. “karate chopping the strings with the palm of your hand. This will deaden the strings.
You will find a lot of palm muting when your playing specific genre’s of music. When your playing the blues for example. You get this chunky sound when you palm mute the strings. And that sound is synonymous with the blues.
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Tips on Dampening the Strings
First thing your going to want to do is get comfortable with palm muting. What I would recommend is place your hand across the strings and strum. You can make a simple chord with your fretting hand. Or just don’t worry about that hand and concentrate on strumming the muted strings.
At first you will notice that the harder you press on the strings with your palm the more muted the strings are. That’s fine just work on strumming the strings.
You are also going to want to try strumming while your hand is close to the bridge. Then you can practice lessening the tension on the strings with your strumming hand. This will change the way the strings sound when strumming.
Also you can take your strumming hand and move down towards the sound hole. And towards the neck of the guitar. Move a little and strum to see what it sounds like. The closer to the neck of the guitar the more muted the strings are. But practice moving that palm mute to different positions between the bridge and the neck of the guitar. Until you find the sweet spot. This spot is where it sounds good to you and comfortable to play.
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Muting the Strings Playing Power Chords
Some of the most fun you can have when palm muting. Is when you play the blues. Now you know how to palm mute. The best way to practice palm muting is by putting it into action. So lets play some 12 barre Blues Boogie Woogie. And you will need to put your palm muting into practice.
First you are going to use 3 chords which are the E5 A5 and B5. If you are not familiar with those chords, don’t worry. Check out the chord diagrams to see what you are going to be playing. If your interested in the blues, check out my course easy blues composition on sale now!
Okay so if you look at the diagram it shows you where to place your fingers. First we are going to mute the strings as you learned earlier. And then on your fretting hand. You are going to start by playing the E5. Place your first finger on the A string at the second fret. The A string is the 5th string. Then using your pick and palm muting the strings. You are going to pick the E string and the A string at the same time.
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Before you go any further practice on the sound that you are hearing with the palm mute. You want that chunky sound. You can obtain this by moving your palm mute up towards the neck or back to the Bridge.
Okay once you get that tone you are looking for. Then we are going to play a boogie woogie. So take that same E5 chord and the palm mute. Pick strings 5 and 6 at the same time, 2 times. Then you are going to use your third finger to fret the A string at the 4th fret. Once you have fretted at the 4th fret. Pick strings 5 and 6 two times. Then remove your 3rd finger off of the string.
And pick strings 5 and 6 two times again. So in this way you are going to toggle back and forth. Start off slow doing this. The beat should be like this when your playing. 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4.
Then you are going to play the A5 chord Boogie Woogie style in the same way. It is the same except you are moving everything down a string. So now your first finger is positioned at the second fret on the D string. See the chord diagram on how to play the A5 chord. You are still playing the same rhythm. This time just play it two times through and then go back to the E5 chord.
Play the A5, 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4. 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4. Then back to the E5; 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4. After that Your going to play the B5 chord. Remember you are muting the strings while you are playing these chords with your palm mute.
Okay to play the B5 it’s a little bit trickier. Check out that chord diagram for the B5 chord. You want to position your first finger at the second fret on the A string. Your third finger is positioned at the fourth fret on the D string. The way to play this is to pick the A and D string 2 times. And then here is when it gets tricky. You want to stretch your pinky way out to the 6th fret on the D string. So you are going to toggle back and forth. 12 34, 12 34. On the 3 4 your pinky is down.
The next chord is the A5 again 12 34, 12 34. And back to E5 12 34, 12 34. And a great ending is open A string. Then fret the first fret of the A string pick the 5th string. Fret the second fret of the A string and play the B7 and end with the E7 chord.
The whole time you are muting the strings with that palm mute. When you get to the B7 and E7 you can let the strings ring out. To know How to Play B7 on Guitar Easy Beginner Tips.
How to Practice Palm Muting
A good way to practice palm muting is by palm muting. But you can use a scale and practice the scale. Practice the scale with sustain. Which is letting the strings ring out. Then practice the same scale, but this time palm mute the strings. And don’t be afraid to move your hand around, up and down the strings. Until you find the place that is comfortable for you and sounds great. If you need a scale to practice with check out: Beginner Guitar 5 Pentatonic Scales the Ultimate Guide.
How to Change the Tone of Muted Strings
To change the dynamics when palm muting you have a couple of choices. First the sound of a strings palm muted at the bridge VS closer to the neck sounds different. What you can do is practice palm muting in different positions between the two locations. You will be able to hear the difference. What ever sounds good to you is the right location on the strings you should practice playing the palm mute at.
Another way is by simply having a lighter touch of your palm on the strings. Of course how hard you pick the strings and hold the pick is going to make it sound different also. Try different things until you find that unique spot and sound.
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What is the Differences Between Muting & Palm Muting
When you are muting the strings you are muting them with your fretting hand. When you are palm muting the strings you are using your strumming hand. You are deadening the strings with your palm.
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