If you are a dedicated guitarist, then you are most likely always on the lookout for different sounds and styles. That’s why probably most guitarists experiment with palm muting to achieve more aggressive sounds.
Palm muting means to use your palm of the picking hand to mute or dampen the string’s vibrations. Although you might find this technique used in some folk and country forms of music, its general application is in music styles that are heavier, played on electric guitar and full of distortion.
It doesn’t really matter if you play acoustic or electric guitar – it is good to know how to palm mute either way. The success of this technique comes from the diversity coming out of it. It is the thing that creates a certain dynamic in your rhythm, thus allowing you to achieve all sorts of variations in a piece.
Contrary to popular belief, the technique isn’t complicated; it involves slightly resting the palm on the strings that are found near the bridge. After this, it all comes down to how much pressure you choose to apply and how close to the bridge you choose to play. However, there are all sorts of tips and tricks to help you do that as best as possible.
Here are some:
Look for the Palm Muting
Trying to recognize the palm muting done in other songs can help you learn even better and faster how to master the art of muting. By doing this exercise, you will begin to understand how muting can be done and the numerous ways in which it can change the sound.
Mind the Hand Placement
Being comfortable is important in accordance to this technique, even a simple adjustment of your leather strap can make a difference. Playing with the hand’s position on the guitar can result in different types of sounds. That’s why you should experiment with different positions and pressures. You may begin by placing the heel of your hand against the strings near to the bridge. If you go very close to it, the notes will be more sustained. If you distance yourself a bit from it, they will likely sound a bit unclear and without definition.
Recalibrate on Different Guitars
If you like to experiment a lot, then you will probably play on different kinds of guitars. Now having to relearn how to palm mute on every guitar can be quite a hurdle, and honestly, also a bit unnecessary. Instead, try recalibrating until it gets the sound that you are used to.
Play with Pressure
There is no manual that can teach you how to achieve certain results. Ultimately, it all comes down to practice and experimenting. Usually, to mute the strings you only need a light touch. If you try to apply a too heavy touch, you will notice that you will deaden them. Another aspect is the fact that you are required to play the strings with the same hand. Since there are so many aspects that you need to consider, the key is to experiment until you find your balance.
Change between Strings
Now this is the hardest part because you must move between strings, without changing the hand’s position. In this situation, the only things changing are the joints from the fingers that are holding the pick.
Don’t Give Up
Muting is a thing of finesse, so don’t expect of getting it right on the first try. In fact, you may sound terrible in the beginning, but that shouldn’t discourage you. You need to start noticing the pitches of the notes that you are playing. To do that you should pick one string at a time. This way, you will hear every single pitch and not that awful dead plucking sound. You must do this all over again until your muting goes perfectly.
Sometimes you try all the above tips and something still isn’t quite right. If this happens, first try to move the hand. After you start playing with the hand resting on the bridge, slide your hand down a bit, and try to catch the difference in the sound. Keep sliding until you reach the end, and then slowly turn back. Somewhere along this “journey”, you will find the right spot.