Tension in arm when palm muting on an acoustic

When I palm mute on an acoustic guitar, I find that I maintain tension in my right arm/shoulder. If I just relax my arms and shoulders and let my right arm fall rest over the top of the guitar, my palm naturally sits parallel with the strings and about 2 or 3 inches away from the guitar.

This is fine for normal picking, but if I then want to bring my palm closer (touching) the guitar to mute, I bring my elbow forward a small amount and use my shoulder/arm muscles to do this and maintain it.

Its not so much of an issue when playing an electric with a slimmer body. I’ve tried rotating my wrist intead, changing height of my right leg etc, but can’t seem to get it tension-free. Has anyone else experienced this? Or is it just normal to have a bit of shoulder/arm muscle use when palm muting and I should stop trying to “correct” this?

Hi Sajid

Firstly it’s important for me to say that I am no expert in the ergonomics of guitar playing or guitar posture or anything. However, I have struggled with tension whilst playing guitar in lots of places you might not expect and have learned to maintain what I’ll call an “tension monitor” in my head whilst I am playing. I try to notice the tension, acknowledge it and intentionally relax the area that is tense without changing much about the way I am physically playing. Many times just noticing the tension and consciously trying to relax that area is very helpful. After looking at a significant amount of information on this topic I have come to the conclusion that while tension is not a good thing it is a natural thing particularly when you are teaching muscles how to do new things.

My advice would be to work by trial and error to see if you can find a position for your hand that reduces the tension in the area. Maybe you need change guitar position. Higher? Lower? Maybe it’s the angel of your wrist as it comes down on the strings, etc, Just work with the various aspects of your posutre and set up and see if you can make an adjustment that helps to reduce the tension. . .

Not sure if that’s been very helpeful, but it’s the approach I have come to rely on for myself when I get into new learning new techniques and find I’m tense! Wish you the best of luck on the journey adn hope you’re having fun!!