Forearm Aching When Playing Power Chords with Palm Mute

I can finally get through the whole of Rolling in the Deep by Adele in a fashion, it’s taken months but I am struggling with my forearm aching in my right arm when palm muting the strings and hitting just the strings for the power chords. Is this normal and will it go the more I play power chords? Or am I just old and falling to pieces.

I am really struggling with the power chords so probably holding loads of tension in my shoulder so guess this won’t be helping, but I feel that my hand is a long way back on the guitar when palm muting which isn’t the most comfortable position, but this is probably because I am not used to it.

I’ve been finding the same as your experiences Emma, I think it’s just playing with and finding the right positioning. Sometimes I end up using my little finger as an anchor which seems to help a bit.

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Funny you should say that, because I do that and was wondering if that was the problem. I must admit I am holding loads of tension in my shoulder, so that can’t be helping.

Surely we can’t both be wrong then!! :rofl:
If you’re aware of holding tension in your shoulder then I agree it’s probably contributing. Out of interest how long have you been practicing the palm muting & power chords?

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I had the same problem when practicing palm muting and alternate picking. I would tense up my right shoulder and arm to try and hold the perfect hand position. I ended up having a really sore shoulder.

In time, I learned to relax the right shoulder. To fix the shoulder pain, 4 trips to a massage therapist and I was good to go again!

Take Care,


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I just started the Rock module on Saturday so don’t have any pain yet (at least not in my right arm, power chords are hurting my left thumb a lot), but for what it’s worth I also use my little finger to anchor the muting too!

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Palm muting on fast songs does require building a bit of endurance. However that might not be all of it.

Check are you:

  • Relaxed? Hard when playing fast.
  • Palm muting with minimum pressure to get the effect?
  • Just strumming the 3 strings for the power chord?
  • Being efficient with your strumming? Minimal movement needed

Have you tried doing it standing up? I find palm muting easier that way.


FWIW I don’t anchor when palm muting, I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

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I’ve found that when I don’t use an anchor I’ll often inadvertently let go of the mute for a very brief moment on the 2nd and 4th beat when I’m accenting them. It doesn’t sound bad but not exactly what I want. Not sure if that a good thing either lol.

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@VirtualM are you standing or sitting? Power chord are easier to play standing. The angle of you shoulder and arm fit the guitar better. It’s also a stamina thing and will get easier with practice.

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At least a month, most likely two. I feel like I have been on Module 12 forever.

Glad you got it sorted, and holds out some hope for me. I know I am not relaxed because sometimes I don’t even breath. :rofl:

Have fun with the module. I really hated it when I first started it because I just could not move up and down the neck and keep the shape. But now I have two songs that I like that I work on and it’s getting better. At least you can tell what they are now. I did get some criticism off my husband when I was trying to play Cocaine in the beginning.

I haven’t stood up at all yet to play anything. I will have to give that a go because I am guessing the guitar might sit a bit lower. Definitely not relaxed so need to work on that. I think my strumming is efficient and only the three strings.

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Yeah I’ve taken a while on 12, definitely a good 2 months. Power chords I found are not that straightforward! I’ve just moved on to 13 but still plenty of refining to do with some of the mod 12 pieces.

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Forearm pain is more likely to be caused by too much tension in the wrist and hand. (Of course, you should do what you can to reduce shoulder tension as well)

Can be treated by trigger point massage with a hard rubber ball.

My experience with trigger point treatment:

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Interesting topic. I find I have severe wrist pain if I spend too long playing power chords in general. I think it must be related to the angle of my wrist. It got so bad I went back to open chords for a while to take a break. I am interested to hear how the discussion continues.


I had some fretting hand wrist pain as well…a few days ago. Resolved for the moment by massaging the muscles in the forearm that move the wrist.

I believe that it was caused by my switch to thumb muting. Either too much pressure, or too much wrist angle probably, but I’m still figuring it out.

I’m glad you backed off on your practice - repetitive stress injuries are no joke.


I’ve started to work on playing standing, mainly because my seated posture is really bad (as demonstrated on any of my AVOYP’s :rofl:). Strap adjustment will get it sitting at a good height for you although the way the guitar neck feels / moves is a little odd.

Having said that it really shows that your fingers really do know where they need to go regardless so would really recommend giving it a go. Plus it truly unleashes your inner rock god!! :wink:

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Skipping forward to Justin’s lesson on playing standing up is probably the easiest way to get the details on how to do it effectively.

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