How To Palm Mute on Guitar

Palm muting is a guitar technique that is often associated with rock, metal and punk playing. Although this technique appears in pretty much any genre you can think of, these are the genres where it is primarily used, especially when creating heavy, chunky rhythm sounds.

The technique involves resting the heel of your picking hand on the bridge of the guitar at the point where the string comes over the saddle.

This produces a muted, but still pitched version of the notes that you’re playing.

To accompany the video demonstrating this technique, here are 4 exercises to help your palm muting take shape.

Palm Muting Exercise 1

This exercise is all focused on one string. The notation shows it on the Low E, but you can apply this exercise to any string on the guitar. You’re going to be palm muting single notes, playing two notes per beat. You can downpick or alternate pick this whole exercise.

Palm Muting Exercise 2

This exercise uses the name root notes as the previous exercise, but this time you’re playing three string power chords from those notes.

You can also do this with two string power chords and leave out the D string if you struggle with three.

This exercise lends itself well to being picked with all downstrokes, but if you can palm mute and alternate pick three strings and it works then that’s also fine. Downpicking works well because you can get an even attack on all the notes.

Palm Muting Exercise 3

This exercise plays the same power chords as the previous exercise on the first beat of each bar and palm muted root notes from the second beat (Two per note).

The key here is to get used to lifting your hand for the non-muted chord and putting it back in the right place by the next beat to play the muted notes.

Palm Muting Exercise 4

This exercise uses two string power chords rooted on the A string, but alternates between the A and D strings.

You can downpick, or alternate pick this whole exercise.

When you've mastered Palm Muting and incorporated these exercises into your practice schedule, go ahead and click Next to find out more about using Alternate Picking. Go Back if you want to brush up on String Vibrato before moving on.

This PMT College lesson was brought to you in partnership with, and written by experienced guitar teacher Leigh Fuge. Leigh works as part of a community of guitar teachers based across the UK. Click here to find a teacher near you.