Power chord string muting

Is it appropriate to use the middle finger to mute the low E string in a fifth string power chord instead of the first finget


Sure, I think is what I do but then I am not a guitar teacher

I would be more inclined to mute the low E with my thumb, then you can mute the unwanted higher strings with your unused fingers.


Hello @Hgitter !

I would stick with what you have learned from Justin. You definately don’t want to muting the low E with your thumb while playing power chords. You kinda need your thumb in behind the neck to hit the chord properly. Doing that would be very awkward and odds are going to a road you don’t want to head down. Especially if you are just getting the hang of it. Practice perfect, because that makes permanent!

Not only that, but if you are a beginner, you don’t want to start muting with your thumb until you have a good stretch happening and have been at it awhile. Even then, the thumb doesn’t come into play using power chords, from the legends I have watched anyways. You want to build up that thumb muscle really good!!

Practice it slowly at first, making sure your first finger is muting that 6th string low E. It takes a very small touch. And that’s only on your root 5 chords. If you use your middle finger it tends to put your positioning of your hand out of whack a bit. But the most important part is, that you will inevitably mute your 5th string, and this you do not want. So, no…I would not put that in practice.

Unless your saying, use middle finger instead of first finger. But if you do that, again you would have a larger stretch and your finger positioning is also out of whack. The middle finger is not used because there is a fret in between first and third finger. Keeps your fingers aligned and that middle finger is ready at standby if needed. With power chords, it will more than likely, just sit there.

Once again, I would say no. Don’t put that into practice. You want to have a really solid foundation. I believe doing this, will put a block out of place. Especially when in comes to Scale Patterns, as most guitarists will want to use. Keeps your fingers aligned to a position that makes it easier in the end. I hope that is not confusing. Keeping it short as possible.

If I am wrong, once again, official “peeps” please correct me! :love_you_gesture::slightly_smiling_face:
@Richard_close2u @LievenDV @LeeMB @DavidP

Hope this helps.

Rock on!

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Hi Henry @Hgitter, welcome to the community! I’d second what Darren @Dman74 said above - follow Justin’s advice. I’ve deviated from it in the past, only to find I had to unlearn my hack. Needless to say, I don’t do that any longer!

Regarding the Root 5 power chord: my instincts say that it’s easier to mute string 6 with the first finger, because it’s already there. It seems like more “work” to involve the second finger, especially as it has to reach so far to mute the string. I also expect doing that will make chord changes more difficult - for example when you want to move directly from a Root 5 to a Root 6 power chord. I think Justin calls this “crossing power chords”). I’m glad you asked this question, because I’ve been putting off reviewing this module. I’ve been distracted by too many holiday songs!

While you’re here, maybe write a short (or long!) introduction over here! You’ll likely receive many warm welcomes. :smiling_face:


Hi @Hgitter

I use whatever is handy. I can’t remember doing more than trying the middle finger and deciding I didn’t need to do it that way. I am not thinking of a reason to avoid it right now other than it is a long way from the next likely string you will want to use it on. I consider it a bit awkward and I’d be more likely to press too hard and it would ring out.

For the A power chord, string 5 is open, so I would use my thumb. For the B, C, etc on string 5 as the root, then finger 1 is very easy to scoot up and mute string 6.

Using the first finger is definitely the best way to do that. I also use my thumb from time to time, but it’s not something I’d suggest doing, because 1) everyone’s hands are different 2) those muscles won’t develop themselves.

I may be a Mod but am not an advanced player or one of the Approved Teachers. That said, based on my knowledge and experience I agree with Darren.

Simplest, most economical way to mute low E for a power chord with root on the A string would be with the tip of the index finger. That said, it may still take some practice to get the finger position just right, the lightest of touch sufficient just to mute without making noise and ensuring the root note is clean. The bottom part of the index finger would/could/should also be muting the B and e strings. Then you can strum any which way without any concern. Similar would apply for power chords with root on the E string, the index finger muting the G B and e strings. As you progress and depending on the guitar tone you dial up, it can become crucial to mute all the unplayed strings if going for super high gain and distortion. In that case those open strings can begin to sound a pollute your sound even if not touched.

Henry, is there a particular reason why you asked the question or was it just out of curiosity? If just curiosity then I think you have your answer and get practicing that muting with the index. If more to the question please share the details.

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This ^^^^ simples, why make life complicated. Its already there.

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Hello Henry and welcome to the Community.

The long answer is going to be ‘it depends on context’.

if you are playing a power chord for several bars and it doesn’t need to move anywhere then you can employ as many muting options as you feel you need for the best sound. If you’re playing (for example) a D power chord, you really don’t want to hear the low E string. Index finger, thumb over, 2nd finger reach, palm mute. Give it all you’ve got if it works for you.

If, on the other hand, that D power chord is part of a quick set of chord changes where you are sliding up and down the neck from power chord to power chord, in a song at a fast tempo, you need to ensure you can move your fretting hand fast. Therefore, you need to hold chords with the least grip and contact and that cause the least friction. Thumb over is going to be a hindrance, not a help.

If you are playing a chunka-chunka part where you are playing a two finger power chord and reaching up an additional two frets with your little finger, you need a relaxed grip with fingers 1 and 3, keep finger 2 out of the way and hold your thumb behind to allow the stretch. That only leaves your index finger to touch the 6th string for muting - or a bit of palm mute too.


Is this really a thing? I have never heard of it before and it seems very difficult to play a 5th-string power chord and mute the 6th string with the thumb.

BTW, the OP never asked about this, but rather about muting with the middle finger.

Difficult, yes. Especially if moving and sliding between power chords.
Possible, yes. As I stated, it is perhaps something that can be used ina static power chord situation.
Thumb over may be exaggerating the extent to which the thumb has to be pushed up and around, it only needs to touch, not press, the 6th string.

Thanks for all your opinions I’ll continue to practice using first finger to mute

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