What is palm muting?
"Palm muting" is a guitar technique, executed in the picking hand, used to muffle the strings slightly, while simultaneously hitting the strings with the pick. It is a technique used primarily on electric guitar but can also be useful when playing acoustic guitar. It is also one of the most common methods used by rhythm guitars players to silence strings rather than letting the notes ring out. Palm muting, when done correctly, can produce an almost percussive, deeper sound. Guitarists in the metal genre use palm muting extensively, particularly when using power chords. The use of distortion on an amplifier greatly accentuates the percussive sound made possible by palm muting. Metal guitarists who use palm muting often employ down-picking (as opposed to alternate picking) in order to achieve a chunkier, heavier sound.
*The palm mute is most effective when you can turn it "on" and "off." Most metal guitarists will not palm mute and entire riff but rather select notes.
*If your strings buzz, this means that you did not apply enough pressure with your palm.
*If the sound is too open, it means that your are not uniformly stopping one or more strings. Try to change your hand position, or practice your palm muting on each string individually, so you can get the feel of it.
*HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT A "PALM MUTE" LOOKS LIKE:
1) To execute a palm mute, you have to allow your picking hand to lower itself down against the bridge. Only the side of your palm should touch. It's the "karate chop" part of your hand that should touch!
2) You will notice that if you pick the strings while in this position -- palm halfway on the bridge and halfway on the strings -- the sound will muted and chunky. This is the sound of a successful palm mute!
3) Most of the time the low strings only need to be palm muted. Don't bother trying to reach your palm across all the strings! Besides, you hardly ever have to palm mute the thin strings anyway!
4) How hard should a guitarist press down when palm muting? Though it depends on the song, the music will give directions, i.e., slight P.M., or heavy P.M. but more often than not, a good medium pressure will work.
*Here Is An Example of What Palm Muting Looks Like In Notation*