The guitar is perhaps one of the most widely used instruments around the world. There is hardly any musician who hasn’t played the guitar once. Although how popular it is, the guitar is certainly not the easiest to play. It has various playing techniques and methods to be able to play it correctly. It would help if you had a lot of practicing to gain control of this stringed instrument.
With definite control and techniques, you can make the volume fluctuate with different intensities. If you want your guitar to sound more lively and dynamic, you should try the palm muting technique. Palm-muting is used by many guitarists to mute the notes through their sides of the hands. It is used to smoothen out any string noises, which may lessen the music quality.
If you are a beginner and have no clue on how to conduct this technique, you have landed in the right place. Keep reading this article to learn how to palm mute. Learn how to demonstrate this method with your guitar but first, let’s know more about it.
What Is Palm Muting?
The Palm Muting technique is achieved by placing the side of the picking hand on the strings close to the bridge and plucking the strings. This way, the strings go through a dampening effect which produces a mild sound eliminating the extra noise. It can be executed on electronic, acoustic, and bass guitars. It is a very regular technique used by most classical guitarists. You can control how much dampening effect you need by changing your picking hands’ position between the soundhole and the bridge. The dampening still maintains the powerhouse of the strings and not distorts them completely. Musicians in the rock or metal genre know this technique by heart as they use it frequently.
Why Do You Need To Use Palm Muting?
As a musician, you are always in the lookout to make your music sound edgy, creative, and pleasant. Palm-muting factors to that notion. It helps to alter the way the strumming sounds on the strings and kind of conceal the other noises created. It is heavily used on music that requires more distortion and used in folk, country, and jazz. It also tightens up the rhythm and adds flares of new tones to your music.
Step by Step Guide to Palm Muting
1. Fix The Hand Placement
If you are playing the guitar, there is no doubt that your hand placement is very crucial to the way it sounds. The first step is to put the side of the palm with more flesh on the strings perpendicularly. Remember, the more close you can get to the fretboard during playing, the sound dampens more. Also, keep it as close to the bridge you can.
2. Pluck The Strings
If you own an acoustic guitar, you will be primarily using your fingers to pluck. You will place your thumb on the root note of the chord. It can be either low E, A, or D string. The rest of your fingers should be placed on the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings.
3. Relax Your Hand
Pushing too hard on the strings will not make the method practical. So it is imperative that you keep your hands relaxed. It is all about keeping a balance here to not lose the dampening sound or don’t achieve it all. Yes, it may be challenging to do this as you have probably built a muscle memory of pushing too hard.
4. Strum The Chord The Way You Like
You can strum the chords with light wrist movements and keep the strings muted. It is for a fact that you will be maintaining the same weight on the strings as you move them up and down. You can strum the chords by plucking the strings together or each separately. Do whichever you like best.
5. Mute With Your Palm
The next step would be to mute the chords. You will have to use the fleshier part of your hands just after plucking the chords. The key is to have your hands in a claw shape and keep your fingers on the guitar’s body. This claw hand technique works especially on acoustic guitars.
6. Change The Pressure of Your Palm
The amount of pressure you create on the strings affects the muting sound of strings. So if you are putting too much pressure, the sound will have a heavy muting effect and less distinguishable. However, if you put lesser pressure, then you will get fuller sounds because of light muting. So, play with the palm pressure to create different effects on the strings.
Tips to Follow
1. Make Use of Your Pinky Finger
The pinky finger, although it rests nicely on the side, can be handy. You can use it to give your hands stability and control so that they don’t fall outward.
2. Use A Good Guitar Pick
You will need a thick guitar pick to make the strumming noticeable enough to dampen. A light pick will not be able to achieve the same effect.
3. Be Consistent
If you are making inconsistent strumming sound with the strings, the muting technique will not sound right. So, you must keep the palm muting technique consistent. Although it is pretty challenging to do everything with one hand, so keep practicing.
4. Turn The Amp Up
Since you are muting the strumming sound, it may sound a lot more distorted than you intend to. Keep the amp turned on and connected so that you can create a better sound quality.
That was the step-by-step process for you to learn how to palm mute as a beginner. It can be a bit difficult to carry out this technique while keeping your hands steady. But with practice, you can achieve that. We hope that this article was helpful; make sure you follow the tips to amplify the experience.
You may like to read: Learn How to Transpose Music in 4 Simple Steps.