Palm Muting

Palm Muting technique is essential for any guitarist that wants to rock out!

View the full lesson at Palm Muting | JustinGuitar

Definitely having a bit of a tricky time with this one! I can get one note palm muted ok, but having all 3 notes of a power chord equally palm muted usually end up with 2 of them deadened in order to get the other to sound correct.

Also, when switching from a 5th string power chord to a 6th string power chord, my strumming hand leaves the 6th string note to exposed and it rings out instead of being muted.

The pinky muscle of my strumming hand forms a curved shape, whereas the strings are flat, making it hard to get equal pressure on them all. My guess is at least one of the angles in my strumming hand is wrong, though I am having a hard time knowing which one.

OK you need the fat part of your palm on the bridge , vertically and your hand bent round a bit to strum

practice slowly with no muting and gradually shift your palm until you have some muting on all strings

You should be muting all the strings regardless of if its a 5th string or 6th string power chord

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I don’t know why but when I palm mute and/or play power chords , after a few strums I start to feel the pointer finger on my picking/strumming hand sorta hitting the strings before the pick does. I’m not sure its actually making much of a noise, but can’t figure out why its happening.

@AP_28 Hard to say based just on the description, Adam. My guess would be that in order to palm mute you are changing the angle of your hand which is influencing the position of the pick and pointer-finger, and causing the finger to connect with the strings. I’d suggest studying your hand position when strumming normally and palm muting, perhaps make some videos that you can examine, and then experiment making adjustments until you sort it out.

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Is palm muting possible on acoustic guitar ?

@Manos98 Yes, Manos. It is widely used in acoustic blues, by way of example, to mute the low strings and change the tone of the bass notes.


Most fingerstyle players also palm mute the bass notes that way the melody stands out. As @DavidP mentioned its used quite often in blues to mute between the pairs of notes in the shuffle riffs or to lightly mute each note. I recall one of the community members using palm muting when playing Dakota on an acoustic guitar and it sounded really good. So a technique worth learning on both electric and acoustic.


Anyone have experience how to go about muting upstrokes?
I have a 16th note song that goes DUD in the end, but either it’s getting unmuted or my pick is caught.

Hi Christoph,
Hmmm… not really, only with power chords or single notes (like palm muted 16th notes on the 6th string). I just had a go at fretting an open chord and palm muting with my strumming hand whilst playing an upstroke of all strings and that’s pretty tricky and perhaps not overly practical, if that’s what you’re attempting? Although my experience is limited so it might be common amongst more proficient players. However I am wondering if the song you’re playing just requires a fully muted DUD strum? i.e. not playing a chord but muting with the fretting hand and strumming all (or most) strings with the other, so not palm muted as I’ve tried. Would that be correct? If so, muting with your fretting hand should do the trick whilst playing the DUD. Otherwise, maybe try playing a 6th-string palm muted power chord instead? For that, leave your palm resting on the strings and rotate your wrist to strum the 4th, 5th & 6th strings (or just 5th & 6th which would be easier :slightly_smiling_face:).

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Actually thinking about this, rotate is the incorrect term, I do more of an up down movement of the wrist, parallel with the strings, with the pick firmly held and the heel of my palm (the fleshy bit that leads up to the little finger) resting on the strings just in front of the bridge. Having the pick angled slightly helps too by preventing it catching (kinda cuts through instead I guess).

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Tanks for the elaborate answer!
Actually it’s about power chords, but I was curious how far it can be taken and if it’s something experienced players do. It feels possible at least, but awkward, so I don’t know whether that’s worth pursuing.
What does though is muted power chord up strums by what you say, and three strings are way more manageable.

Got here by the uncertainty of transcribing, but that should do the trick anyways!

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No experience myself Christopher but on an upstroke could you not use your fingers on your fretting hand to mute the strings by lifting them up slightly but still leaving them on the strings, to do the mute?

No worries :slightly_smiling_face: That’s a cool song, hadn’t heard it before, definitely need to check out more of Sir Chloe! Thanks for sharing! :sunglasses: :+1:

I find that my shoulder on my strumming arm tends to get sore when I’m palm-muting aggressive down picking patterns - i.e. a 16th note pattern with one open hit per beat, if that makes sense. But my shoulder really starts to get sore. I’m going to slow down in order to try to force myself to relax, but if anyone happens to have any advice on this it would be much appreciated! I’m trying to just use my wrist, but some motion of the arm is necessary because I’m alternating between palm muting and not.

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Hi, I am having a huge problem with this. The strings just stop making listenable sounds the moment I put my palm on them. I have seen a different video where the guy says that I should put the palm on bridge instead, which works well on my acoustic, but my palm gets “scratched” by bridge on my electric and it starts to hurt very soon. Putting the palm anywhere else on the strings just makes them not sound, even when I try to do it very very lightly (then it either sounds like I am not muting at all or completly muted, usually alters between the two :D)

What am I possibly doing wrong?

It’s been a while but I don’t fully rest my hand on the strings while palm muting. I just keep it very close so the motion of strumming naturally causes my hand to very lightly brush against the strings to dampen them. If I need more damping I pull my hand closer to the strings if I need less I move it farther away.

It’s kinda hard to describe as it’s become a natural motion for me.

As far as palm placement… it’s easier to learn with your hand resting on the bridge as rolling it toward the headstock will add damping but you can palm mute anywhere… so hand placement is more about desired timbre. I find planting my hand while trying to strumming (especially quickly for rock songs…) to be very uncomfortable.

I also find tunomatic (Gibson style) bridges to be rougher on my hands while chugging.

From an amp standpoint it also helps a lot to up the gain, (set to crunch or brown, use boost). Otherwise, as already stated - rest lightly, light touch, close to the bridge.

How do we know when to do palm muting for any given song? Is it strictly from ear, like we need to learn to hear that it’s played that way, or is there some indication on tab? Or do we just pretty much want to do it on all rock songs and we’re playing on an electric guitar?

Tab may have muting indicators or not. I have seen several methods. If you have purchased a songbook, there is typically a page showing what the various marks in the tab mean.

frequent indicators I see are either “PM” or “M” above the notes on the tab.