TeCh­nique Fo­Cus

Down-stroke pick­ing and palm mut­ing

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: ROCK -

The riffs and rhythm guitar work in this month’s track will re­ally test your down-stroke pick­ing and palm-mut­ing tech­nique. Down pick­ing adds uni­for­mity to the at­tack and im­proves the tim­ing. Ob­vi­ously, there is a tempo when down pick­ing is no longer re­ally pos­si­ble, but with some prac­tise it is pos­si­ble to get up to a fair head of steam (My Sharona is a fairly brisk 146 bpm). It’s best to prac­tise down-pick­ing quavers (eighth notes) with a metronome at a slow tempo at first, and only when you can ex­e­cute the part ac­cu­rately should you raise the bpm. Re­mem­ber, speed is a bi-prod­uct of ac­cu­racy and you should strive to ex­e­cute the riff cor­rectly at a slow tempo first. With this solid foun­da­tion es­tab­lished, it is eas­ier to raise the tempo up to a per­for­mance grade.

The palm mute helps to thicken the sound, and also adds a per­cus­sive at­tack to the notes. In My Sharona the dy­nam­ics used are very ef­fec­tive and a light palm mute is of­ten em­ployed. Adding a palm mute to the notes does, how­ever, change the po­si­tion of the pick­ing hand slightly and anchors the heel of the hand in one po­si­tion. It is, there­fore, a good idea to prac­tise al­ter­nat­ing be­tween a heavy palm mute and then slowly re­leas­ing it. If you have a float­ing vi­brato style bridge, be care­ful not to push the strings out of tune when you ap­ply the palm mute.

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