is palm mutein just like a softer version of the note or is it supposed to sound totally different
It is a just keeping the string from vibrating, giving it a staccato-like sound.
UG RPG - Big Band Jazz Group
Buckethead4Prez - String Bass

PM me to Join
Yeah, its not supposed to change the note but it makes it short and snappy and i guess softer since it the strings arent vibrating. Once you get a feel for it its very easy to do. If you have a strat or strat copy, the volume knobs get in the way but its not so bad.
it fills the song with a chunky like effect, makes it a little bassier so to speak... and it also make a song much cleaner (for punk like music). imagine not palm muting and playin a green day song... noiseehhh
It usually gives a heavy 'chug' sound for metal or, a groovy sound for blues and such. Its a useful technique.
Crappy Gear:
Ibanez RG350DX
Ibanez RG7321
LTD F-10
Dunlop Jazz III's (Black)
D'Addarrio .09-.46's