#1
Hello fellow guitarists, I have a question and I'll try to make it short.

Basically I dont have years of experience playing guitar and my technique is still developing, and as I've heard that you MUST start from PROPER technique to avoid much trouble later on, it got me thinking.

When I play riffs across multiple strings, and I move from one string to another, instead of muting the string from ringing out with my picking hand, I do it with my fretting hand, by raising the finger off of it. Now I've played quite a bit of classical guitar and more often than not, I had to play riffs in shapes, where all the strings ring out, just like you would hold down a chord. Sorry if it's confusing.

So is it a proper way to mute strings from ringing out or should I also learn to mute with my picking hand?
#2
Quote by Celestus
Hello fellow guitarists, I have a question and I'll try to make it short.

Basically I don't have years of experience playing guitar and my technique is still developing, and as I've heard that you MUST start from PROPER technique to avoid much trouble later on, it got me thinking.

When I play riffs across multiple strings, and I move from one string to another, instead of muting the string from ringing out with my picking hand, I do it with my fretting hand, by raising the finger off of it. Now I've played quite a bit of classical guitar and more often than not, I had to play riffs in shapes, where all the strings ring out, just like you would hold down a chord. Sorry if it's confusing.

So is it a proper way to mute strings from ringing out or should I also learn to mute with my picking hand?


You should really learn to do both, especially if you want to get in to much more advanced playing. There are definitely some things that many players do that you have to use pick hand muting for.
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#3
if you are playing powerchords on the low E, you have to pick only 2 or three notes. you shouldn't get used to mute the lower strings in any way: you just don't have to strum them.
when you play power chords on lower strings, like in the A string, you should mute the upper note with the middle finger, especially for fast, distorted riffs. you wont hear any harmonic, cause it's completely suffocated by the ringing notes, so dont worry about that. you still have to worry about not playing lower strings though.

in fact, some chords (my favourites) REQUIRE you to mute strings with your fretting hand!

palm muting is a different way of playing: you palm mute cause you want to hear a particular kind of sound. in that case you need to find the best sounding position with your right hand, which generally varies from guitar to guitar. palm muting is used to actually mute strings only when playing lead guitar.

there's a lot more to be said though, depending which genre you like to play and what kind of distortion (if any) you use!
#4
Quote by astholkohtz
if you are playing powerchords on the low E, you have to pick only 2 or three notes. you shouldn't get used to mute the lower strings in any way: you just don't have to strum them.


OK, no. You *should* get used to muting notes you aren't planning to play, regardless of how accurate your picking hand is when strumming. Strings can sometimes ring out (even if it's only very slight) when you're not hitting them.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#5
Quote by astholkohtz
palm muting is a different way of playing: you palm mute cause you want to hear a particular kind of sound. in that case you need to find the best sounding position with your right hand, which generally varies from guitar to guitar. palm muting is used to actually mute strings only when playing lead guitar.


You're mistaken, your definition of palm muting is indeed accurate but that's not what TS is talking about. He's talking about muting with your picking hand, not palm muting, very different things. Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIEnzboW0Hc
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#6
holy shit that guy sure talks a lot. allright let's call it "muting with your palm" then. can you link a less horrible example of that? i really dont understand what it is, i'm curious
#7
Quote by llBlackenedll
OK, no. You *should* get used to muting notes you aren't planning to play, regardless of how accurate your picking hand is when strumming. Strings can sometimes ring out (even if it's only very slight) when you're not hitting them.


i played couple of riffs and i noticed i actually do that. weird... i guess you're right, lol
#8
Quote by astholkohtz
holy shit that guy sure talks a lot. allright let's call it "muting with your palm" then. can you link a less horrible example of that? i really dont understand what it is, i'm curious


He explains the exact mechanics of what's going on and shows closeups along with explanations, what's not to understand?

You use the bits of your hand that aren't doing anything else to keep strings from sounding. Very simple.
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#9
yes, as far as the fretting hand is concerned. i thought you were implying a technique to stop unwanted strings when playing power chords using the picking hand. i went through the video and the guy doesn't mention that.
#10
Quote by astholkohtz
yes, as far as the fretting hand is concerned. i thought you were implying a technique to stop unwanted strings when playing power chords using the picking hand. i went through the video and the guy doesn't mention that.


You are being needlessly specific. You were the one who mentioned powerchords, this thread is much more general than that.
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#11
sorry, when i read the word "riff" i always think about powerchords. anyway: you do agree with me when i say
chords ===> fretting hand
lead ===> muting with your palm (or other thechniques nobody mentioned so far)

dont you?
#12
Quote by astholkohtz
sorry, when i read the word "riff" i always think about powerchords. anyway: you do agree with me when i say
chords ===> fretting hand
lead ===> muting with your palm (or other thechniques nobody mentioned so far)

dont you?


I would say you're being too prescriptive and the best guideline I've ever heard regarding this is very simple: any spare piece of flesh should be muting anything you don't want making noise.
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#13
he's a beginner. imho being prescriptive is necessary not to confuse him (that's how i've been taught). i think with some common sense he should be able to spot the exceptions.
#14
Quote by astholkohtz
he's a beginner. imho being prescriptive is necessary not to confuse him (that's how i've been taught). i think with some common sense he should be able to spot the exceptions.


He's played guitar enough to have asked the question in the first place with reference to classical technique, I really don't think he's so much of a beginner that doing so would be of any help.

Also I generally believe that relying on 'common sense' is a terrible idea; it's nowhere near as common as the name would have you believe.
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#15
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
He's played guitar enough to have asked the question in the first place with reference to classical technique, I really don't think he's so much of a beginner that doing so would be of any help.


well if that's not a beginner question to you i'd say we're done here.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Also I generally believe that relying on 'common sense' is a terrible idea; it's nowhere near as common as the name would have you believe.


that's the classic thing a catholic would say.

relying on common sense on something as simple as muting strings is the only way to avoid unnecessary (and potentially harmful) mental masturbation.
i've been playing 9 years and never been told how to mute strings (both lead and rhythm), and now i find out the techniques i use are the ones everyone (from instructors to self taughts) suggests. that's not cause i'm a genious, that's because it's as simple as that.
#16
Quote by astholkohtz
well if that's not a beginner question to you i'd say we're done here.


The technique of muting is a basic one. The presence of thought to ask it is not a beginner process at all.

Quote by astholkohtz
that's the classic thing a catholic would say.

relying on common sense on something as simple as muting strings is the only way to avoid unnecessary (and potentially harmful) mental masturbation.
I've been playing 9 years and never been told how to mute strings (both lead and rhythm), and now i find out the techniques i use are the ones everyone (from instructors to self taughts) suggests. that's not cause I'm a genius, that's because it's as simple as that.


Relying on what people think is a good idea has led many people to terrible technique and injury. I would hardly call analysis mental masturbation at all, obviously you would though so I suggest we never actually talk, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume we wouldn't get on.

It's good for you that you found you had good technique all along but a lot of people do not. Until you've spent a fair bit of time teaching people in the real world I suggest you don't presume about what is or is not obvious or 'common sense'.
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#17
let's just agree to disagree. plus, if you teach people i presume you know what you're talking about anyway.
#18
Quote by astholkohtz
let's just agree to disagree. plus, if you teach people i presume you know what you're talking about anyway.

That's not the best assumption to make as there are many teachers out there who don't know what they're talking about That being said, yes Zaph knows what he's talking about (as does Freepower).
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#19
i did not say i don't think freepower should be making videos. i just hate his approach to teaching (i watched a couple of videos by him, since you all love to link his stuff in this forum).
#20
Quote by astholkohtz
i did not say i don't think freepower should be making videos. i just hate his approach to teaching (i watched a couple of videos by him, since you all love to link his stuff in this forum).


Can I ask why? I really don't see anything wrong with it...
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#21
i'll give you an example: this is the video I would have linked
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eGbr3e9P-Y
he basically said everything that should have been said about the topic in less then a minute, giving a small but powerful introduction on what he was gonna teach, and why, and he even suggested an exercise.
freepower does almost all those things, but in a much messier and still somehow boring way.

plus, there's a psychological reason too. i dont get the feeling that he's good enough to be teaching, i simply dont trust him. don't get me wrong, he probably is, but that's the impression i get.
#22
Quote by astholkohtz
i'll give you an example: this is the video I would have linked
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eGbr3e9P-Y
he basically said everything that should have been said about the topic in less then a minute, giving a small but powerful introduction on what he was gonna teach, and why, and he even suggested an exercise.
freepower does almost all those things, but in a much messier and still somehow boring way.

plus, there's a psychological reason too. i dont get the feeling that he's good enough to be teaching, i simply dont trust him. don't get me wrong, he probably is, but that's the impression i get.


The problem with that lesson is that at no point does Paul actually talk about fret hand muting in terms of noise control. He talks about staccato using the pick and palm muting in the tonal sense but he doesn't mention the crucial muting with the picking hand, at least not in any kind of detail. FP's lesson contains all the information you will ever need about controlling excess noise, apart from maybe for crazy Michael Romeo tapping lines but even that's just an extension of the principles in it.

I'll give you that Freepower's lesson is a lot more dry but that's just a question of style, if you don't like that there's nothing anyone can do.

I don't know why it's not up any more but FP used to have a couple of videos of him just messing around over some other tracks... wish it was still there, I enjoyed it Ah well, for now you'll just have to work with the assurance that he's a better player than 99% of the people who populate this forum and is a professional teacher so more than likely people who get lessons from him at least learn, if not enjoy his teaching as well.
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#23
muting with the picking hand is a far more advanced technique, and people learn one thing at once. if your chords sound like a mess, muting fast legato runs should be the last of your problems.
#24
my point is: there's a reason why paul gilbert did not mention picking hand muting in that video
#25
On the internet, no one can hear you scream.
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#26
If you can have total control and mute any string anytime you want than that's great. I try to make a habit of muting every string I'm not playing as much as possible. When I powerchord I'll mute the rest and sometimes I'll also use the left thumb to mute the top strings if playing on D-e. It's a string ringing thing, I mean just try some simple tapping without muting anything and soon everything vibrates and sounds terrible.

Just mind your strumming/picking also when muting, for instance avoid hitting the unnecessary dead notes to improve accuracy as well
#27
^ I took it down because it was a bit shit.

The muting vid I recorded about 4 years ago, just before I started teaching professionally, I hope it's pretty clear that I didn't consider myself an expert , I was just passing on stuff I learnt from my betters.

It's funny you'd link Paul Gilbert because he would be one of my teaching idols - he's concise, very funny and you still actually learn a lot. If you check my more recent vids you'll find my communication is a lot better, and possibly I'm a little funnier than I used to be. >.>

Also, anything you think about people having "common sense" regarding learning the instrument goes out the window after you teach a while. One teacher I talked to had a student who didn't realize you actually made contact with the strings with the strumming hand. She just waved her hand at the strings and asked him why it didn't work.

Maybe 1 in 5 students do a decent amount of muting before it's explained to them but it's not the majority. Maybe you're just a little brighter astholkohtz.
#28
4 years can be a lot of time. what i do appreciate about you is your passion for giving advice and to pass your knowledge, and it's great to know you've been working on your teaching skills. we have the same taste in guitar lessons too, and that's probably the reason why you perfectly understood all my points. also, it's a big relief to know there's still someone in this world who doesnt take criticism as an insult.

about the "common sense" thing... what can i say? you guys know much more than me about teaching, since you both teach.

i remember learning muting. my first teacher would make play pentatonic scales on a metronome, and when it sounded messy, he would just tell me "cleaner", or "mute the strings", and i would slow down and just do that. it was kind of automatic to realise when and where to apply the same muting technique. a couple of years later i started practising alternate picking a lot, and again: my second teacher told me i sucked and that i should mute better. he showed me how he did that (he was a "thumb muter"), and i didn't like it. i sticked to palm muting, i just had to focus more on the muting and less on the picking. at the times i noticed that the problem was me being too self indulgent, which didnt have anything to do with muting. that's why i did not change technique (this is a perfect example of what i mean by "common sense").

and that's the story of how teachers taught me muting (they basically didn't). i just thought that's the standard way to do it.
Last edited by astholkohtz at Nov 12, 2012,
#29
Quote by astholkohtz
(lots of stuff including something about not liking thumb muting)

Just curious but what did you not like about thumb muting? I have recently been trying to thumb mute, however I have found that on its own it's not effective enough. It works well to mute the string just below the one you're playing but my thumb is pretty bony and if I play the high E string, the slight arc in my thumb leaves the A string (and only the A string) open which can start to ring out. I still do thumb mute a bit but have found it's only really effective if I also use a bit of palm. I'm finding now though that, much like you've said, rather than explicitly thinking "I'm going to mute like this" I just think "I'm going to mute" and my hand does what it feels like it has to do to mute the strings, and it works really well.

I get that you don't always want to just do "what feels natural" (or at least should sometimes question/analyse how you're doing things) but to some people some things work better than others, and I'm sure a lot of people have got into far worse situations looking at other players and copying them, forcing themselves into positions that their body doesn't like rather than simply doing what feels natural and working from there. Then again (Hey, I do a lot of self contradiction eh? Guess I like conversations with myself. Or not.) sometimes you have to do things that feel unnatural for a while in order for them to feel natural.
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#30
Quote by llBlackenedll
Just curious but what did you not like about thumb muting?

nothing in particular. i just never felt the need for it.
I have recently been trying to thumb mute, however I have found that on its own it's not effective enough.

that's probably a good reason not to learn it, if you already know how to mute with your palm.
It works well to mute the string just below the one you're playing

i do that with my fretting hand. both with chords and with legato/alternate/sweep picking.
funny thing: i realised it in this post, by talking about it... i guess i always focused more on picking accuracy, rather than just muting strings i shouldn't be playing anyway.
but my thumb is pretty bony and if I play the high E string, the slight arc in my thumb leaves the A string (and only the A string) open which can start to ring out.

well, as i said, muting is really crucial, but i'd focus more on playing just the E.
I still do thumb mute a bit but have found it's only really effective if I also use a bit of palm. I'm finding now though that, much like you've said, rather than explicitly thinking "I'm going to mute like this" I just think "I'm going to mute" and my hand does what it feels like it has to do to mute the strings, and it works really well.

i'm happy to agree with you here and i'd like to emphasize once more that those are very basic techniques (at least for me) which i do completely uncounsciously.
I get that you don't always want to just do "what feels natural" (or at least should sometimes question/analyse how you're doing things) but to some people some things work better than others, and I'm sure a lot of people have got into far worse situations looking at other players and copying them, forcing themselves into positions that their body doesn't like rather than simply doing what feels natural and working from there.

if you always do what feels natural to you, especially if you are self taught, the odds are you'll learn loads of wrong habits. i remember feeling very uncomfortable when first learning alternate picking, because of the small movements, which i didn't feel natural at all at the times. not only now i got used to it, but when i want to play really fast i imagine myself playing a tiny guitar with tiny strings (!), just to get even smaller movements.
on the other hand, there are a couple of thing there's not much to say about, you just do them the way that feels the most natural to you.

you need to be sensible enough (i was tempted to say "common sense" again) to decide which of those two approaches to apply to every situation. this, apparently (as i've been informed on this thread), can be very hard, so don't do it and always ask for a second opinion.
Last edited by astholkohtz at Nov 12, 2012,