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October 05, 2012

How to mute strings

Today's lesson tip is about muting with the left hand, and strumming with an "open/free" arm. This is what I suggest you do. Play a scale, or just chromatic notes, on the low E string, but let your right hand swing up and down like SRV often did. No palm muting, no resting the right hand anywhere. Let it go up and down, but DO TRY to hit only the low E string, which probably will mean A and D strings too. That's okay. That's what left hand muting is for.

Now, let your index finger mute the 5 strings you are not fretting. Just let it sit on top of the strings and nicely mute as you move the hand along the fretboard. Now, when you switch to the A and D strings and so on, you will need to use the middle and ring fingers to help mute the low E and A strings.

It is not easy, but have patience and keep this in mind:

  1. Swing up and down with the right hand, but ONLY try to hit the string you are playing single notes on.
  2. Use the left hand fingers as needed in order to mute the strings you don't want to ring. Take your time, and adjust your fingers as needed.
  3. Stay on one string at a time until you have the muting working well, before you move on to the next string.
  4. Practice with a metronome. Work on 8th and 16th notes, so that you are accurate with timing and rhythm. This is of utmost importance - don't play sloppy!

For more on guitar techniques, here is a very useful book that covers a lot of things. From bends and picking styles to multi-finger tapping and animal sounds, this book/CD pack contains loads of guitar techniques to learn and master.

Good luck!

Guitar Techniques

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on October 05, 2012

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