Unintentionaly muting the high E string when playing open chords

I’m a newby, only been playing for a few months. I feel that I’m doing pretty well so far. I find that I am unintentionaly muting the high E string while playing A, E and C chords. Seems that the palm of my hand is the culprit but am not having any luck consistantly keeping it out of the way. I have pretty small hands. Any suggestions?

Keep your thumb under the centre of the neck and keep the contact of your fingers on the strings as near upright as possible.

Hi @wterry8437

Check your hand, arm and body positions. It may be that it is your wrist position that makes the palm touch so check that especially.

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I can remember in one of Justin’s lessons, he describes teaching new players to think of the edge of the guitar neck as red hot, so you focus on keeping your fleshy bits away from the edge and hence away from the high E string.

I can empathise with the small hands, my fingers/hand is always very close to the high e string, so when practising playing the chords or even songs, I will intermittently pause and pluck the high e to ensure that it is ringing out, adjusting hand or finger position accordingly.

I’ll have a wratch, see if I can find the video lesson.

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I took ages, months and months to be able to play the A cord without muting the high e.

Now I have the same trouble if I am trying to play the A cord with my thumb muting the low E, so I think that is progress. Keep at it!

I think I will one day have the mute down, too.


Thanks for the tip…much better. Will take a little work to break that bad habit but I feel a lot better now.

Great help! Feeling much better now. It will take a little time to break that bad habit but I know the way now. Thanks.

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One person’s problem is another person’s solution. You may want to refine your muting and even perfect it.

Can you demonstrate your technique for muting the high E string? I like leaving it out for most of the open chords. It’s too brittle and harsh for my ears. I just try not to hit it for the most part. I do like the high E on major & minor 7th chords and the “Wonderwall” chord voicings.

Continuing the discussion from Unintentionaly muting the high E string when playing open chords:


I found that I was letting the neck rest on the palm of my hand at the base of my index finger. When I curled my fingers around to make the chord shapes for A, C, and E, presto, the high E would be muted. Let me say that I do have small hands and short fingers. That may not work for everyone.