Muting strings when playing scales

I have started to learn some lead guitar. I recently watched a lesson on muting strings. I watched Justin’s lesson on it. He suggested placing the finger so that I mute the string below the string I am playing. I watched a lesson on another site that suggested using the palm and fingers on my strumming hand to mute the strings. I am more comfortable with Justin’s technique. Right it feels awkward to mute the strings while playing a scale. I have to play the scale pretty slowly to be able to mute the strings right now. Do a lot of players mute the strings when they are playing scales or solos? Does it take long for it to stop feeling awkward when I play? I have asked a few people who play guitar about muting. They only had vague advice and it sounded like they didn’t really use the technique much.

Here is the video I watched from Justin Guitar.

Best thing is to use the method you feel most comfortable with and start slowly even v e r y slowly…… and then gradually build up. The important thing is accuracy not speed initially.
Playing Solos is about accuracy to sound good, it takes time and patience to get it really good so take your time and don’t stress yourself about it; also don’t practice the fun out of it, take rests and go back to it if it becomes a chore. Good luck, you will get there :love_you_gesture:t2:

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Hi Daphne20,

Sting muting is a work in progress for me, but I started out with many of the same questions as you, so here are a few thoughts.

When I ask experienced players about this, they usually say it’s something they never really practiced and they don’t really think about. It’s just evolved naturally as they have improved. That seemed very strange to me, but I do find it happening to me, at some level.

I am working on learning blues soloing and I find myself muting the lower strings with the palm of my picking hand (like the final part of Justin’s video). I’ve haven’t really dedicated any real practice to the technique, just started trying it. (Sometimes I mute the note I’m trying to play!) I also tend to lay the fingers of my fretting hand flatter as Justin describes, which mutes the strings higher than the one I’m playing. This just sort of evolved naturally, also.

I liked Justin’s advice about it: it’s something to be aware of and start thinking about, but not something to stress out about. If you play an electric with a bit of gain, at some point you’ll find you need to control the string noise. That’s what happened with me and blues soloing.

BTW, if you play with high gain, string noise is a bigger problem and you may have to implement muting earlier than you otherwise would have playing a clean(ish) tone.

None of this might be useful to you, it’s just how I’m gradually introducing string muting into my playing.


I’ve incorporated Justin’s suggestions which are a combination of muting strings with the fretting hand both ahead and behind the string(s) being played and using palm muting when the lower strings get out of range of your fretting hand. As @jjw and Justin have said: be aware of it but don’t fixate on it. I try to incorporate it when practicing scales, melodic patterns and improvs. Sometimes I increase the gain to make the extra string noise more apparent as a reminder. The goal being that it becomes something I don’t have to think about much when my brain is busy thinking about what I’m trying to play.

Hi Daphne

Muting needs to be done with both hands. Use your fretting hand to mute the thinner strings below the string you are playing and use the palm heel of your picking hand to mute those above. I know Justin say its something to be aware of and will happen naturally but that is not always the case. Certainly not for me.

I was not only aware but patiently waited for it to happen automatically. It didn’t and after a number of years (too many) I have spent the last year consciously working on it and as @DarrellW said slowly. You only need to gently touch the strings with your picking hand to mute and some times use more than one finger to mute the thinner strings. Your picking movement should be economical so the muting should not much interference but you will have to move hand across the strings when playing the thinner strings and not stay static in one position. Fretting fingers also need to be flatter unlike how you are first taught to play scales on your finger tips.

To practice this I would play a scale one string at a time, checking strings above and below as appropriate, adjusting position and checking again, slowly and deliberately. Then when playing a scale or lick “normally” I would randomly stop and again check above and below.
I am happier than I was but its still work in progress. For example when bending the G string the B or e will sometimes ring out and I made need my pinkie to cover them.

My 2 cents but just take your time.