Total Guitar



I always introduce palm muting in the first few lessons because it’s part of every electric guitar genre. It’s a fairly easy technique, so it’s worth starting early. And you can practise it on an open string, so it’s useful when your fretting hand is tired. The art is in shifting between muted and unmuted picking. Every great palm muted riff, like Master Of Puppets or Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, uses that shift. You need to find a position for unmuted picking that’s similar to the palm muted position, so you don’t have to move far between them.

Paul is already having trouble finding time to practise – a common problem in today’s busy lifestyles. We’ll look at that next month. For now, I’ve kept the exercises brief so he can practise whenever he has a few seconds spare.

When Jenna refers to my “fretting-hand struggles” she’s not kidding. This is the greatest challenge for me as a beginner. When playing chords I have found it very difficult to achieve the correct finger placing without choking a string. That said, I have really enjoyed getting to grips with palm-muting after Jenna showed me what it’s all about - by playing an 80s classic, Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams. Imagining that you’re doing a karate chop with the picking hand is a perfect way to illustrate this technique - and that part of it has come fairly easily. The problem is with the other hand, which is what I will be focusing on when practising. I am still a long way from nailing Master Of Puppets, but with all due respect to Bryan Adams, a lovely man whom I’ve interviewe­d many times, I feel that Summer Of ’69 isn’t too far out of reach even for me.

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