Guitar Palm Mute - Simple Exercises To Improve Your Technique

If you listen to any kind of music, then you've heard a guitar palm mute before. (Seriously) It's really as simple as that.

Guitar palm mutes are everywhere in different tunes and genres and it's a pretty fundamental skill that every guitarist should know how to execute well to perform any genre of music with a shred of competency.

If you're a beginning player and want to know the basis of a guitar palm mute, please visit my post:

How Palm Mute - Learning To Control The String Vibration

...before attempting the exercises mentioned here.

The main thing to palm-muting is knowing how to comfortably change between regular (open-strumming) and palm-muted notes or chords.

Exercise 1.

We're going to try a palm-mute on open strings, but we're going to completely disregard the tones we hear by muting the strings with our left hand.

Left hand mute: Place your 4 fingers (of your fret hand) on the strings without pressing them to the fret board. Use should hear a rigid tone (the opposite of a clean pitch) when any of the strings are struck.

The '*' will indicate palm-muted notes or chords from now on.


This guitar tab starts you on the low 'E' string with 4 open-struck notes, and then 4 palm-muted notes. Then it's repeated to the 'A' string.

Go through each of the strings from the lowest to the highest:

E - open then palmed
A - open then palmed
D - open then palmed

Exercise 2.

Repeat Exercise 1, but release your left hand from the fret board. (un-mute the strings)

You should hear clear tones and short ones during the palm-muted sections. Even though the strings are muted with the right hand, the pitches should still be very clear.

Go again from the low 'E' string to the high 'E' string.

Exercise 3.

We're going to double pick now at this point by using down-stroke
s and up-strokes with our picks WHILE we palm-mute the strings.

So... instead of putting only 8 notes to a pitch, we'll use 16 this time.

Do this exercise going slowly first and try to keep the down-strokes AND the up-strokes to be more consistent.

You probably don't need to mute the strings with your left hand. That was only to realize in the beginning whether your palm-muting was executed correctly or not.



Start with the low 'E' string, then to the 'A' string and so on until you've covered all 6 strings...

E - 8 open, 8 palmed
A - 8 open, 8 palmed
D - etc.

Exercise 4.

For this exercise, we're going to do the same work as Exercise 3 but with a faster tempo.

When you transition from doing slower palm-mutes to faster ones, you'll notice that the motion needs to be more fluent and automatic with double-picking.

Let one note move smoothly into the next with each stroke.

Exercise 5.

Now the next thing to take a stab at is palm-muted chords. With chords, the only difference is keeping more than one string palmed as you strum them.

You can use any chord of your choice for this exercise. (preferably one that's comfortable for you and without too many fingered strings like D or A)

I like to palm-mute the E Minor (Em) chord for instance.

So I'll form an Em with my index finger on the 2nd fret of the 'A' string and my middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 'D' string.

For this chord to sound correctly, I can actually strum all of the strings if I want. Check that you're not strumming more strings than you need for this exercise. (so your chord doesn't sound ugly)

I'm only going to strum the first four strings for this exercise to make things easier (realistically, you won't need to palm-mute all 6 strings very often)

Just like Exercise 2 we're going to do 4 slow and open down-strokes on our chord, then 4 slow palm-muted down-strokes. We'll repeat that action 3 more times after the first.


This is what it would look like for me when I do the exercise with my Em chord.

Exercise 6.

You guessed it. This time we'll take that palm-muted chord and apply it to double-picking.

We'll be playing 16 total chords with 8 open chords and 8 palm-muted chords.

Again, try to keep your picking consistent and fluent between each chord strummed. Even though some chords are open and others are close, we still want them to sound like they belong together.

This exercise would look like this with my Em chord:


Remember you're going down and up with your pick. Repeat this 3 more times.

Exercise 7.

Now, take those chords you just played and speed them up to a faster tempo. You're still going to do 16 total strokes, but just with a slightly faster tempo. Then repeat the process 3 more times.

Make sure you're doing a good job of controlling the strings' tone with your palm-muting hand resting on the strings down near the tailpiece.

Run through these exercises and you should be tightening up your ability to switch between palm-muted and open notes and chords over time.

My important guitar supplement links:
How To Guitar Play- Important Tips For Beginning Guitarists
Fast Electric Guitar Learning Course
Best Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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