Was not sure where to post this, hopefully this is the right place.
I am learning a lot of punk rock and I am encountering a problem with the faster songs with palm muted parts: when I play along with the record the muting sounds ok(ish) but when I listen back to the recording it’s just muddy and doesn’t sound palm muted at all!
For example in the verse here its 4 bars repeated once, first with palm muting and the second time without:
I tried different combinations of amps / gain settings / palm positions but it always sounds either the same as normal strumming or too weak.
or is it all In my head and I sounded terrible all along? any tips?
I suspect the answer will be “slow down and work back up” but maybe someone else had the same issue
pozz, that sure is an intense high-speed workout. I can’t hear much difference in the sound from start to finish. And it soudned pretty good to me.
One thing to be mindful of would be muting the E string when playing the power chords with A string root note. If you catch that low E string unmuted that low E note would not help the sound of those chords. But my ears are not acute enough to say if that has happening.
And don’t be hyer-critical, I’d say that soudned pretty darn good.
Firstly let me say that I agree with David. It sounded pretty good to me. I’m not a Blink182 fan but I think that’s their style and sounded pretty close to it.
As for the palm mutes, I’m not expert and I play a different genre, but when I palm mute power chords, my right hand doesn’t move as much as yours.
I think with this movement maybe there isn’t enough pressure on the strings to mute them.
Hey pozz, I know the song… yeah you’re not palm muting properly. Not enough mute on this. And you’re right on the slow down and work back up part. It’s not amp settings or anything, just technique.
The song is a bit too fast for you right now I think, so you’re getting tense.
Can you palm mute going much slower? It sounds like chug, chug, chug. Slow it way down and try it. It’s smaller hand movements which makes it easier to go faster as well. Do this song slower if you want, or do something slower like When I Come Around. Practice slow will get the palm in the right spot. The hit should be a chug but you should hear the chord sound, not a muted hit.
Dammit has an accent (unmuted stroke) on the first hit of each chord.
BTW - Not sure if you’re aware but some timing issues on the riff - try all downstrokes, it will be easier to get the timing tight.
Also, what David said about chugging with a 5th fret power chord for the A instead of an open A power chord, it will chug better.
Palm muting requires the palm of your strumming hand to stay in steady contact with the strings. This necessitates that you use much, much less forearm in your strumming technique. For fast rock pam muting, it is very often all down strum eighths. Stretch your 4th finger out more, less curl on it. Rest your fleshy outer of the palm and even a bit of your little finger that extends from there on the strings just beyond the saddles. You need to find the ‘sweet spot’ where the level of mute is just right for the sound you want. Get your wrist going with a very relaxed, fluid motion.
Check here: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/all-down-strums-palm-mute-technique-sd-015
Note - Justin teaches on an acoustic and it may seem he occasionally lifts the mute between eighths, even if just a tiny amount. An acoustic is more forgiving on this score. An electric with high gain is less forgiving. Keep the mute down.
I think @jkahn and @Richard_close2u are on the money with their advice. I just wanted to chime in as someone who initially felt like palm muting was impossible for me and now feel like it’s pretty much second nature at this point.
The key is practicing slowly and making sure your technique is right. It’ll feel really awkward at first and almost like you’re doing it wrong because it doesn’t feel natural to you, but rest assured that with enough practice your palm will just do it.
One piece of advice I have is to find slower songs with palm muting to practice with. A lot of punk rock songs, especially blink 182 have that really fast palm muting that imo is too fast to start with. At that speed it won’t encourage good technique and If you slow it down, it will barely sound like the record and is no fun. Maybe find some metal or metal adjacent songs that you like cause the slower chugging (Especially on the Open E power chord, lol) is really common in those.
Hi Pozz, first up just got to say nice choice of t-shirt buddy! Joy Division’s one of my favourite bands
Also, love your energy! You’re smashing those strings like a beast! They appear to be all down strokes too, right? That’s some solidly fast action you’ve got going there! Are you into any 80s thrash at all? If so, you’re well on your way… just need to get those palm mutes sorted
I guess the thing with punk vs thrash is that punk tends to play lots of strummed un-palm muted chords whereas thrash is all about palm muted chugs. However, Blink 182 are utilising them here more as a quiet vs loud contrast thing I guess? Which works great! Such a cool song, looks really fun to play! Not a massive fan of 90s/00s pop-punk in general but Blink 182 is probably an exception (along with The Offspring’s early stuff).
So, as the others have said above, I think your focus on speed (although not a bad thing imo ) has meant your forearm is moving too much that palm can’t rest on the strings to mute them. The key I think is to strum from your wrist so your forearm stays more still and your hand just moves. This will restrict motion and therefore strumming multiple strings with a palm mute is tricky (or at least I find it is).
I did a quick YouTube search on covers of this song and the first couple that came up showed them playing the palm muted section with an accented first note (as @jkahn mentioned) and with up/down strumming on the palm mutes. I’m still learning a lot of this stuff too but had a crack anyway and found it pretty tricky tbh (and highlighted some things I really need to sort out myself!!! ). However I did try a brief recording to see if I could demonstrate the idea of what we’re meaning (even if it is a bit rough). First time through I played the A5 in the open position and second time I played it at the 5th fret like was suggested above. Also, sorry, I’m sure totally butchered the rhythm on this!
In saying all of that, we’re talking punk here right?! So play it fast, loud and with aggression and you can’t go wrong!
Thanks all for sharing your tips and experiences! lots to take in here
I’ll definitely go back to slower songs, previously I had a go at “All the small things” and I think I can get a bit more “chug” there (but still not like the record)
When I come around" seems a perfect one to work on, metal I am not a super expert on the genre, I thought it was mostly on the faster side? But maybe some Black Sabbath is doable…
@nzmetal Yes all downstrokes, I also saw some videos mentioning that Tom uses up and downs but I found it super hard to palm mute with upstrokes, and hey if downstrokes are enough for James Hetfield surely they can be enough for me? (and thanks for taking the time to record the video!)
Seems I have my homework set for the next weeks/month/years…
Don’t really have any useful advice to offer, just popping by to say that I feel your pain! Palm muting is much harder than it looks. I bounced off it in the early lesson where Justin introduced it, couldn’t get a good sounding mute at all. Noted it down as something that needs work, but haven’t invested the time to improve it. I’m sure one day, I’ll find a song I want to play that uses it and then I’ll have to pay the piper.
I have heard people talking about rock power chords as though it’s a kind of cheat, a lazy person’s work around for a proper barre chord. But getting the exact sound you want on those chuggy muted power chords, and keeping it consistent through the song, is by no means easy. Much respect to the rock guitarists who do this well.
Nice improvement I’d say if you’d like to “chug”, then you should play more from the wrist so that the side of your palm can maintain contact with the strings.
Speed really varies a lot in metal. Here’s a short example of the kind of palm muting I’m talking about. First slower chugging and then switching between palm muting and open notes faster. Doesn’t even have to be a song, you could just practice chugging an open E power chord and switching between palm muting and not as practice just to get the right hand feeling comfortable.
Excuse the bad audio quality, I filmed it quick.
Also think your palm muting sounded way better in all the small things. Maybe it’s that your palm is moving less there and so your mute is staying? In the end, the more you do it the more comfortable you’ll get and the better it’ll sound.
As others have mentioned, technique is probably the most important thing to work on. Now honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your palm muting in ATST, it sounds good to me in the context of the song.
Maybe you could try a few of these suggestions to see if it improves your sound:
The position of the strumming hand. My palm muting sounds better when my strumming hand is closer to the bridge. It also seems to make my arm relax a bit more and make the wrist movement tighter. You’ll need to find that sweet spot right before the sound becomes too thin - which generally happens when you’re TOO close to the bridge.
This may sound obvious, but you’ll get a heavier chug-a-chug-a sound when you really dig in. I have a tendency too hit the strings with less force during verses or quieter sections in the song, but often I shouldn’t. When you rest your palm on the string that alone will dampen the sound, so you can use the pick to increase your attack.
In addition to technique, gear also plays a major role.
Heavier strings will make your palm muting sound heavier (duh!), so make sure that the string gauge you’re using is appropriate for this style.
If that’s an option for you, you might want to try playing this style on a Les Paul type guitar. Now, before the gear police turns up : it’s perfectly possible to play heavier music on Strat type. Many heavy bands, and even Blink 182 themselves are known for using Strats. Plus, technique > gear in my opinion. All I’m saying is: experiment as much as you can. You’re definitely on the right way!
Apologies for not answering everyone but I did my best to try all the suggestions!
(except I didn’t buy a new guitar… at least not yet )
Anyways, not sure if this is the right place for progress updates but here is where I am now:
Still need to work on staying relaxed AND put enough energy into each strum AND keep the timing consistent but at least it sounds a bit more like muting now
Nice work @pozz! Definitely getting the palm mutes in there now and that chunkier sound, practice has certainly paid off. Great stuff! Keep it coming mate
Latest video is sounding great @pozz !! Really clean compared to the first vid. Such a classic jam
I just want to give a big “thumbs up” to this community!!! So great how so many people have jumped in to help & I think that’s so cool!
Love all the technique help provided for Pozz… makes me want to try palm muting again… 1st round was pretty dismal…