Saturday, 3 August 2013

Confession #28 - Palm Muting (Part 2)

In Confession #20 - Palm Muting! (Part 1) we learned about palm muting and how it can be used to get a chunkier sound and to create rhythm patterns by selectively muting certain beats in a measure.

In this confession, we'll learn about another cool application for palm muting, percussive slaps.

Percussive Slaps 

If you strum a chord and mute the strings with your palm of your strumming hand at the same time, you get a percussive sound from the guitar that has very little tonal content.  The resulting sound is different from the percussive sound produced when using fret hand muting (see Confession #25 - Fret Hand Muting!).

This technique is very useful when you are strumming your acoustic and singing a song.  You can use palm muting on beats 2 and 4 to simulate the percussive accent that a snare drum provides when playing with a drummer.

It takes a little bit of practice to get this right.  Strum the chords normally, but when you get to beat 2 and 4 rotate your hand outward a bit so that your palm comes down on the strings near the bridge at the same time that you strum them.

Strumming a "1 and 2  3 and 4" pattern like the first part of the video below should come without too much difficulty.

The challenge comes when you switch to a "1 and 2 and 3 and 4" strumming pattern like the second part of the video.  Because you have to change your hand position to apply the palm muting on beats 2 and 4, its a bit tricky to get a proper upstroke on the "and of beat 2" immediately after applying the palm mute.  Like all things with the guitar, it will come with practice.

In the third part of the video, I play through the G-Em-C-D7 chord progression from Confession #5 - Use a Metronome!  and Confession #7 - Use Pivot Chords! using a "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and" strumming pattern, and apply this technique.

(Sorry for the crappy video. WinXP patch KB 2834904 was released by Microsoft on July 10th and has spawned numerous complaints.  Among those complaints is the top half of videos being black, which is exactly what happens when I create the movie in Windows Movie Maker.  Once Microsoft fixes this problem I'll redo the movie.)

Next Week's Confession - Finger 3-4 Independence! (Ex. #3)

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