#1
Hi,

I recently learned about muting lower strings with the thumb rather than the palm from this article: http://www.myguitarworkshop.com/guitar_articles/general_music/how_to_improve_your_guitar_technique_part_2.aspx.

I've been trying it out but I can't seem to mute the string directly below the string I am picking without causing a pinch harmonic, due to my thumb being flat against the string. I've tried angling my arm differently relative to the strings, but it doesn't seem to be working. I can thumb mute fine if I don't mute the string directly below, but not otherwise!

If there are any thumb muters here can you explain how to avoid pinch harmonics?

Thanks
#2
It's technically bad form, but I have a grabby thumb. I like to mute the low E when playing A style bar chords or power chords. It's something I do without really thinking. Vary the amount of pressure you put on the string. Sound like you need less pressure. It's cliche but practice it. Just try playing the low E and make a note with your thumb and release pressure until it sounds right. Try moving away from the fret (linearly) too. This will get you away from the natural harmonic points on the string.
#3
Quote by SWilson
It's technically bad form, but I have a grabby thumb. I like to mute the low E when playing A style bar chords or power chords. It's something I do without really thinking. Vary the amount of pressure you put on the string. Sound like you need less pressure. It's cliche but practice it. Just try playing the low E and make a note with your thumb and release pressure until it sounds right. Try moving away from the fret (linearly) too. This will get you away from the natural harmonic points on the string.


Less pressure is good advice, but hold up... so thumb muting is considered bad form? If so, I guess this explains why I can't find any other resources on this method of muting. Could you please elaborate?

Thanks
#4
You shouldn't be picking the string you're muting, this seems a technique to avoid string noise rather than one to achieve a "palm muting" sound. Personally I mostly use my palm for that kind of muting, though sometimes I use my fretting hand too.
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#5
Quote by SWilson
It's technically bad form, but I have a grabby thumb. I like to mute the low E when playing A style bar chords or power chords. It's something I do without really thinking. Vary the amount of pressure you put on the string. Sound like you need less pressure. It's cliche but practice it. Just try playing the low E and make a note with your thumb and release pressure until it sounds right. Try moving away from the fret (linearly) too. This will get you away from the natural harmonic points on the string.


Wrong hand, I don't know how you got that wrong since it even says picking hand in the thread title.

Quote by andre09
Less pressure is good advice, but hold up... so thumb muting is considered bad form? If so, I guess this explains why I can't find any other resources on this method of muting. Could you please elaborate?

Thanks


See above, he clearly didn't read the thread title closely enough.

Quote by andre09
Hi,

I recently learned about muting lower strings with the thumb rather than the palm from this article: http://www.myguitarworkshop.com/guitar_articles/general_music/how_to_improve_your_guitar_technique_part_2.aspx.

I've been trying it out but I can't seem to mute the string directly below the string I am picking without causing a pinch harmonic, due to my thumb being flat against the string. I've tried angling my arm differently relative to the strings, but it doesn't seem to be working. I can thumb mute fine if I don't mute the string directly below, but not otherwise!

If there are any thumb muters here can you explain how to avoid pinch harmonics?

Thanks


Sounds to me like you're using the wrong part of your thumb to mute or you're putting too much pressure on the strings anyway.

If it's the first issue make sure you're muting with the fleshy part of your thumb where it joins to the palm, if that's what you're already doing I suspect it's worth considering switching to using the other side of your hand for the same job. You can easily use the same part of your hand as you do for palm muting to mute string noise, just use less pressure and move slightly more towards the neck area of the guitar. You shouldn't need to move too much at all but it's a good way of doing it in my opinion.


If neither of those things help then you're likely using too much pressure when you're muting so your hand is too close to the strings, leading to your thumb causing pinch harmonics. To remedy this I think the best thing is to move your hand ever so slightly away from the strings, just enough to lift your thumb that extra few millimetres away from the strings.

You really don't need much force at all to mute unwanted noise, a very light touch will do what you need so don't press in to the guitar, you might also find that this causes your hand to be less fixed to the bridge of the guitar which is also a good thing; you don't want any part of your hand to be fixed in a certain place on the guitar. Doing so is likely to lead to extra tension and anything that restricts your range of movement is generally a bad thing as well.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Nov 22, 2011,
#6
Im a thumb muter, harmonics will become your bitch once you get a little bit more control of the pick, the following advice depends on your picking angle and how close your wrist and hand is from the strings, try experimenting holding it further back (not in the tip of your index and thumb but further back the thumb) or holding it on the tips and playing around with the angle.. you can also experiment using the thumb muscle closer to the palm.

It is hard to explain in words without showing it to you, but try around for around 100 hours.. if you still have troubles with it, tell me and ill make a a video for you. (do not anchor the thumb hard against the strings, just let it "caress" them)

I also mute higher strings with the right hand like him, but with a huge difference.. i advice you to pull your fingers in (fist like but without tension) you can still mute with the joints, it feels more free, more tight and comfortable at high speeds.
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 22, 2011,
#7
Hi guys,

Thanks for the responses guys, I'll definitely try a lighter mute (though I feel I am muting pretty light already). To Zaphod, I have always been a heel/palm muter for electric guitar and rest my right on the bridge, so when I saw this article I contemplated switching to a thumb muting style, as I thought it would allow more flexibility in my picking hand position (especially when standing), as affirmed by you.

That being said, do you think it is actually worth switching from muting style to a thumb mute? Or should I save myself some time and continue muting with my heel.

If you think it is worth it, I'll make a video of me showing exactly how I am muting with my thumb, and my experimentation with different parts of the thumb/picking angle (I still always pinch harmonic), which I would greatly appreciate if you critique.


To Slashpie, after 100 hours I may take you up on that offer I actually think that an in-depth video of thumb muting is painfully needed on youtube, as there are very little resources on the topic (I guess because 99% of people palm mute). Also, regarding your 'joint' mutes, I agree that that joints is preferable to fingers, especially since I keep long finger nails for classical!

Thanks!

*EDIT*

Okay... so after a couple minutes of experimenting I realized that you guys were right in that I had an incorrect angle of the thumb (before I had all the entire thumb flush against the string, now I slightly pivot my thumb so that the area holding my pick is elevated). So that seemed to solve that!

But now, the big question remains:

Is muting with the thumb preferable to muting with the palm technique-wise? So much that palm muting players should look into the switch?

Thanks!
Last edited by andre09 at Nov 22, 2011,
#8
Actually, I have an additional question as well. I read in a sweeping guide that the entire arm (or at least hand) should be moving up and down following the direction of the strings picked. I was wondering, should this apply to traditional picking as well? As in keeping the hand shape, and thus angle of the pick, the same despite string changes, rather than 'arcing' the wrist to change strings. I would assume that constantly moving your enter hand would sacrifice some speed in the sake of maintaining an ideal picking angle, but I want to know what the general consensus is!
#9
Quote by andre09
Is muting with the thumb preferable to muting with the palm technique-wise? So much that palm muting players should look into the switch?


Really, no, if you're comfortable with the palm style and you can keep strings quiet as it is there is absolutely no reason to switch. Personally my hand is rested in such a way that when I'm playing the upper strings both my thumb and my palm are resting on the strings.

Quote by andre09
Actually, I have an additional question as well. I read in a sweeping guide that the entire arm (or at least hand) should be moving up and down following the direction of the strings picked. I was wondering, should this apply to traditional picking as well? As in keeping the hand shape, and thus angle of the pick, the same despite string changes, rather than 'arcing' the wrist to change strings. I would assume that constantly moving your enter hand would sacrifice some speed in the sake of maintaining an ideal picking angle, but I want to know what the general consensus is!


Yes and no. The idea is that the wrist should stay at a consistent angle to the strings, this way your can maintain the same wrist motions for picking any string and just concentrate on the hard things. The way you do this is by using your elbow to keep your wrist at that angle with whatever string you're picking. What that means for sweeping is up to you but for my money it means this: smaller sweeps can be done easily with just the wrist but for anything four strings or bigger I need to involve the elbow.

Your mileage may vary of course, depends on the size of your appendages and how much you can comfortably move.
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#10
Quote by andre09

Thanks!

*EDIT*

Okay... so after a couple minutes of experimenting I realized that you guys were right in that I had an incorrect angle of the thumb (before I had all the entire thumb flush against the string, now I slightly pivot my thumb so that the area holding my pick is elevated). So that seemed to solve that!

But now, the big question remains:

Is muting with the thumb preferable to muting with the palm technique-wise? So much that palm muting players should look into the switch?

Thanks!


Wow thats exactly how i do it, im glad you got it down so quickly
You should choose what is more effective and comfortable for you, palm muting has never been comfortable to me, so if felt natural to mute with my thumb..

if they get the results and sound they want from palm muting they do not really need it, but it is always worth checking out alternate techniques, the more one knows the better .
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#11
Thanks guys, I guess I will spend a few days with thumb muting and then decide which I like best.
#12
Can someone write there who else uses this technique: right hand thumb muting ? i search over the net and i only find George Bellas and Tom Hess. who else ?
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#13
Quote by Sabbath_84
Can someone write there who else uses this technique: right hand thumb muting ? i search over the net and i only find George Bellas and Tom Hess. who else ?


1 - This thread is nearly 2 years old.

2 - Probably plenty but I don't know off the top of my head. Does it matter that much?
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“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#14
There is barely any thumb muting advice out there. Surprisingly.

Oh yeah... the corpse of this thread has been ****ed already. It feels.. warm.
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