String stopping (palm muting) is a technique that allows you to mute or change the sound of some notes / strings. This technique also contributes to your personal style after you master and experiment with it.
This effect is achieved by pianists in general by using the expression pedal. We, the guitarists, must use palm mute guitar technique.
The most common method to stop the strings is with the palm (palm muting) and is very useful for rhythm guitar parts. Put your right palm perpendicular to the strings near the bridge. The sound produced will be smaller, less expansive and will fit better in the mix. Some guitarists describe the notes played with palm muting as percussive and with a deeper sound. If you want an example of successful intro made with palm muting, listen carefully “Every Breath You Take” the band The Police.
Your palm should be as close to the bridge as possible, but some guitarists even put it over it. You can experiment with different positions to see what sounds you like the most. Also, try to apply different levels of pressure on the strings. The secret is to apply the same amount of pressure on all strings to stop them from vibrating freely.
Palm Mute Guitar Tips
- If you have an electric guitar, practice this palm mute technique with the distortion switched on. This will emphasize the sound and you will quickly figure out if you are getting close to the desired result.
- Listen carefully to your favorite tracks and try to figure out when is the palm muting technique implied. Also follow the way other guitarists alternate between string muting and free notes.
Warning! If you’re just starting out with palm mute technique it will not be easy. Do not get discouraged! Although it can be frustrating at first – with perseverance, palm muting will become part of you! Start with power chords, then move to complete chords.
Problems Concerning Guitar Palm Mute Technique ?
If your strings buzz, this means that you do not apply enough pressure.
Does they sound too open? It means that your not uniformly stopping one or more strings. Try to change your hand position, or practice your palm muting on each string individually, so you can get the feel of it.
Fret Hand Muting
If you want to mute the sound of specific string you will have to use your left hand’s fingers. This technique is called fret hand muting and involves stopping the string with a finger tip or the side of it. The ides is to stop the strings that you are not going to use in a specific chord.
If we take C major for example, you don’t need the 6th string, so you can use your 3rd finger to silence it.
Suggestions about palm mute guitar technique
- Do not apply to much pressure. In time you will get to know and feel what is the right amount of pressure to get the desired result concerning the palm mute guitar technique.
Warning! You’ll notice that when the strings are stopped it will be harder for you to play them with a pick. You can compensate by trying to hold your pick more relaxed when it comes to playing the muted notes.
Palm and fret hand muting are 2 necessary techniques that will improve and clean your playing a lot. Experiment with them and if you run in any problem at all, just leave me a comment.
I wish you all the best with your palm mute guitar technique.