Rock Chugs: Palm Muting for quieter Power Chords

Backing Track



Video Transcription

This next technique is all to do with the Right Hand (pick hand). It gets us a gentler, more muted sound out of the guitar. A kind of ‘chug’.

We’ll practice with the backing track just using the G5 power chord. The left hand isn’t that important for this technique.

You’ll have heard this sound many times. It’s basically a ‘chugging’ sound. It’s obviously very different to hitting the chord out loud. It’s a much softer sound, quieter, and with a less harsh tone.

You can see how useful that is as a dynamic tool. You can use power chords to play loud and fuzzy. You can also use them to be reigned back in. This is brilliant when you’re playing a song that has the same chord pattern in the chorus as the verse, but you want to make it the two different.

How to do the Palm Muting Technique

The way we do it is similar to the ‘Palm Stop‘. It’s just a little more precise in where we place our palm.

Again, we use the fleshy underside of our palm. Where is a bit tricky – it’s a knack. We rest the fleshy bit of our palm both on the strings and on the bridge saddles.

Finger the G5 in the left hand and pick – keeping the palm in contact with the strings, lightly.

This gets you the softer ‘deadened’ sound. It’s called a ‘Palm Mute’ or ‘Palm Muting’ in other textbooks/lessons.

Troubleshooting your Palm Muting

If you have your palm too much on the bridge saddles metal, nothing happens at all. It’s just playing at full volume.

If you have it too far over towards the strings, you pull the note out of tune and overly deaden it.

The trick is to find just the right amount of pressure.

To do this, I tend to roll my palm. I rest the fleshy bit on the bridge saddles – then roll it in.

You’re keeping that flesh in contact with the string all the time while you strum.

When you’ve got the knack – it’s easy. When you’re learning the knack – it’s a bit more tricky :)

Power Chord Palm Muting Practice Track

On this next backing track, we’ll have a ‘pumped eighth note bass’ playing G, floaty keyboard (why not?).  We’ll keep chugging eighth notes on a G5 Power Chord until you get a good feel for Palm Mutes.

Keep the tempo and rhythm as steady as you can.