Saturday, 1 June 2013

Confession #20 - Palm Muting! (Part 1)

Palm muting is a right-hand technique (i.e. your strumming hand) that allows you to dampen the strings a bit so that they don't ring on so much, and it also provides a chunkier sound.


As its name suggests, to palm mute, you use the palm of your right hand to mute or dampen the guitar's strings.  You're not actually using your whole palm to do this.  Really its just the edge of your palm below your pinky finger.

Rest the edge of your palm across all six strings at the bridge of your guitar.  The closer to the bridge your hand is, the less damping your palm will provide.  The further from the bridge your hand is, the more damping your palm will provide and the chunkier it will sound.  Apply some overdrive for full effect!

Try applying palm muting to this simple Chuck Berry rhythm.  In the TAB, palm muting is applied in the second measure only.  Try experimenting with and without applying palm muting.  Also try moving your palm closer to and further from the bridge.

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Using palm muting allows us to expand our ability to create interesting rhythm patterns.  Instead of palm muting for an entire measure, experiment with palm muting some but not all of the beats within a measure.

Here is a example of a common application of this technique:

Click to Enlarge

This palm muting pattern produces a sound like this:

                                        Ba - Da - Da - Ba - Da - Da - Ba -Da

You'll hear a variation of this common pattern in Bryan Adam's 'Summer of 69'.

You'll also hear this rhythm pattern at the very beginning of Chuck Berry's 'Johhny B. Goode', where Chuck is using slides (not palm muting) to get the 'Ba - Da - Da' effect.

Next Week's Confession - Back to the Major Scale!

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