Whenever I palm mute some notes, it always sounds really soft and weak -- almost like a "blump" kind of sound. I've been wanting to get the metal and shorter palm mutes (like this). Even if I use more distortion or change the drive, it almost always stays the same. What exactly is the problem?

  • What gear are you using and what settings do you have dialed in?
    – Anonymous
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 19:27
  • You might add compression on top of the overdrive. Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 19:32
  • I have an RGA7 + Boss GT3 + headphones. I'll try adding compression.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 20:27
  • @Kevin - there are some really beefy tones on the GT3 - and with the standard pickups you should be getting decent levels. What is your picking style?
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 22:52
  • I usually pick with the tip... just average pretty much.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 23:09

5 Answers 5


In addition to Raymond's comments, you could try:

  • Use thicker strings or drop your tuning - this will give a chunkier sound
  • Lower the action or raise your pickups to increase signal levels
  • Some pickups - eg Dimebuckers - give an excellent frequency response which works well for this kind of thing
  • Sometimes a mid pickup selector position can help, combined with more treble on the amp
  • Using really hard muting or combining left and right hand muting can beef up the sound
  • I definitely agree with the thicker strings. Guitar strings need sufficient tension (typically 15+ pounds force) to hold their pitch when plucked. For a given pitch and length, thicker strings will have more tension. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 6:03

well there are a lot of things that can make your mutes sound harder, i think first off using a pick with a nice pointed tip helps, round edged tips tend to slide across or brush over the string also where you place the palm of your hand, either towards or away from the bridge makes a huge difference, the further you get from the brigde, the tighter it'll sound using a good noise gate helps to eliminate any ringing in between chugs too lastly, i think if you want to get a beefier mute, for instance instead of playing the low E on its own, play an E power chord and it'll sound fuller

i hope this helps!

  • 1
    I'd say that right-hand positioning is 99% of the sound - get it right and you'll be able to play good-sounding mutes on any setup. Two things I'd like to add are: you'll find that downstrokes give a much "chunkier" mute than alternate picking, so you might consider playing the heavier parts with all downstrokes and that adding just a bit of thumb flesh to the pick attack (as in pinch harmonics, but not quite so marked) can do a lot for the aggressiveness of the sound.
    – user321
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 8:31

Well, I think you should play the chords with more strength.

The secret of palm mutting its the way and strenght that you play with your right hand.

Try that.


Use the pickups closest to the neck and make sure your hand is as close to the bridge as can be without ruining the sound.

I found changing pickups not only makes it sound heavier, but bigger too.


Your link is broken. Before you start changing your gear to address this problem, here is my two cents:

  1. Morone has it right - Play hard. Whether you do it by putting forth a lot of power via your wrist, or if you decide to dig in at a steeper angle, it sounds "more metal" and sounds 100x better (especially with passive pickups). Do not however strain your playing: do it in a way that feels very natural.

  2. Concentrate on your down-picking technique. Though I pick really hard either way, I found that up-strokes have a tendency to sound flat more often than down-strokes.

  3. Check out flutter picking technique for a mean sounding "sloppy" palm mute sound. At certain tempos, I personally think it sounds awesome. Even for single notes, it sounds really good when you are trying to be heavy (IMO).

  4. Hit the bottom THREE strings (E.G. for Drop D tuning - D,A,D) instead of just the bottom TWO strings. On a record, I can hear it instantly when a band is not using all three strings - it does not sound nearly as heavy. In my music (7 string), I sometimes use 5-string power chords, simply because they sound very heavy once the technique is down.

Also, I have better luck achieving a heavy palm-mute sound with thin picks than I do thick picks. A thin pick will allow you to REALLY dig into a string(s) without risk of dropping the pick and sacrificing speed/accuracy. Not that thick picks are bad though - find what is right for you when you really start honing in on your technique.

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