Thumb Muting

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View the full lesson at Thumb Muting | JustinGuitar

How do I avoid muting the high e string with the base of my index finger when wrapping my thumb around the top of the fretboard?


The key is to hold it really tight like a bat, you just need to play around with your palm to try to make it work.

I was having the same issue at first but found that moving my thumb to an angle helped.

At first my thumb was coming straight up, like parallel to the frets, but making it at an angle like Justin’s thumb in the video (look at the tip of his thumb) shifts my hand a bit. So now it rings out while keeping that firm grip.

I think my thumb has grown longer, since I started muting thicker strings. Now I even mute the fifth string when I play D chords.

When I started playing open chords the thumb position felt natural near 6th string, now I’m working on its accuracy while changing the chords.

Out of context I first thought… a bat like :bat: and was wondering if fingers make a wing shape until I watched the lesson again and realized like a baseball bat :baseball: . :rofl: In my defense… it is October. Glad to see other people struggling with it. I did made so much progress in grade 1 & 2 and now feel like I have to relearn the chords a bit before going on to 3.

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The way my hand is shaped, I have a VERY hard time not muting the high E string when thumb muting the Low E. I searched online and talked to a few people, the trick is REALLY bending the knuckle closest to the fingernail. When I do that, I have better success with thumb muting. Hope this helps someone.

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This is really just impossible to do with an A chord with my specific anatomy… and theres no adjustment to fix it, no way. My acoustic fender just won’t let me. I am a 5ft6 man with hands that are smaller than his 5ft1 moms hands… never happening, no adjustment will fix the issue of my pointer finger muting the high e string because my hand simply isn’t long enough to create the wrap around properly

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not for me. my hand is just too small to wrap around my acoustic fender neck without muting the high e string… my hands are smaller than my moms and shes 5ft1, to put it into perspective

I used to say that about open chords. :). it just worked ok after a bit. Keep working on it. For one, your hand needs to stretch out since playing guitar isn’t something it is is set up to do yet. This can take many weeks!
Also, you don’t need to wrap your thumb around the top, just the tip of it to brush the string.
I usually play the muted E for the open A this way. thumb just resting on the side of the E string. I have kinda medium sized hands but plenty of length to do this - in fact it is a little cramped. I also prefer to mute the little e string because i like the sound better, so I don’t worry too much about that. It is resting on the pad of the knuckle of the first finger.


Thank you. I am glad you mentioned the high e string not ringing because unfortunately i will never be able to not mute it while using my thumb just because my hands to small

Aaron, my hands aren’t small. They aren’t big either. I have a lot of trouble not muting the high e string when thumb muting.

I also do not think it is possible (for me) to mute the bottom E string during A chord, without also muting the high E string. My hands are simply too small. I can mute for every other chord (including Amin).

So I’m not to module 14 yet but I’ve been trying to start muting the Ds and As. I’m finding, like others, the high E string getting muted while attempting As.

And another thing is the amount of muscle use it takes to keep my 1,2 and 3 fingers perpendicular enough while stretching to barely graze the low E. It’s kind of tiring in the hand and forearm. It’s even a little tiring on Ds, but on As I am really having to use muscles to hold the shape while stretching.

Does the hand really somehow stretch over time in a way to make thumb muting easier? I’m hoping at the very least the muscle tension gets to where I don’t even feel it anymore eventually.

When you start thumb muting, it can require some fairly big changes to your technique. I changed my whole seating position - from classical to casual with strap - and it took weeks to feel comfortable with it.

There should not be a lot of tension - it’s good that you are aware of it and working on reducing it.
As for your specific issues - posting some pictures would be really helpful.

Yeah, at least it did for me. Although I do a few minutes of hand stretching exercises on guitar most days as well. It’s also a technique thing as you change grips getting more relaxed on the guitar.

Might be stating the obvious here, but it’s easier on a thin neck electric (e.g. a strat) than a chunky neck guitar.

Tonight when playing my Strat, I noticed my thumb hovering over the neck more often than usual. I was playing some pentatonic licks and triads on strings 2-4, and I found myself either muting the low E string with my thumb or just reaching over the neck with it so that the angle between my forearm and hand decreased. It wasn’t a really conscious decision to try it, but I think the neck shape of this guitar lends itself more to this position than thos eof my other guitars. However, the muting of the other strings suffered a bit despite some riffs becoming easier, so I’ll have to keep on experimenting a bit.

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I never thought much about muting the 6th string before. If I hit it I just lived with it. Now that I’ve tried the muting, it sounds better. My hands are big enough that I can use my thumb to cover the 6th string on barre chords. I don’t do this all the time, but sometimes it helps me to get to the chord faster than if I try to do the regular bar. This was an I tried it and I liked it momoent.