I'm fairly new to the electric guitar and currently learning about string muting (as in noise reduction) while soloing. The usual advice is to mute the lower strings with your right hand and the higher strings with your left index finger.

However, I saw a video of Petrucci where he talked about muting all strings with the right hand by forming a little notch where the pinky meets the palm. In there, one string can ring while the others are muted (by pinky and palm). I guess the idea is to always move this notch along while picking. I tried this today, and it seems like I can get this to work if I put enough effort into it.

Now before I do that, I wanted to ask if you guys think this is a feasible muting technique to get used to for a beginner. I'm not experiened enough to tell whether this technique is to be applied to normal melody playing or only for certain situations. I guess there's a reason why this isn't the gold standard of muting.

So I just wanted to get more professional judgement on this. Thank you!

2 Answers 2


Use whatever you can - left hand fingers that are free, right hand free fingers, palm, as much as possible.

Using left hand fingers can work quite well, with the exception that there's always the possibility of producing harmonics. And let's face it, damping/muting is needed more when playing at higher volumes, which is when harmonics are trying to escape.

Right hand palm muting is what worked for me. Playing with an 18 piece band at often loud gigs, I had to develop something, otherwise solos in particular sounded so messy. So it sort of developed along the way - no internet to guide me, and having that gap between palm and little finger was the answer, along with any additional damping from left hand fingers. Also, the right hand being closer to the bridge meant less chance for harmonics to escape and sound.

We all have to find our own way, and it often reached a point with students when I would say "tell Mom and Dad that you have to practise really loudly (on occasions), in order to learn your own way of muting all those extraneous noises from strings that want to play themselves."

An afterthought: putting a scrunchie at fret 1 works pretty well... I sometimes cheat that way when playing octaves. Not as good as Wes - yet.


The only way to not be a beginner is to try and practice these techniques. The technique you describe is one of many and no technique IMO is a purely beginner technique while others are "advanced". All techniques require diligent practice to master so just try and take your time.

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