10.1 Palm muting

Paul Solera

Blues Newbie
There's a few threads on the Texas Shuffle, but none that seems to address my question. On the basic 10.1 shuffle, I can't see clearly where and when Griff is muting the strings, particularly on the first chord, the E chord, where he is not "pumping" it with his left hand. I wish there were a side view. Is he palm muting on the up stroke or the down stroke? For me, I seem to need to rotate my wrist in order to dampen the strings with the edge of my palm after the up stroke, but I don't really see him doing that. Any ideas, anyone?
 

BraylonJennings

Better than I was yesterday
I'm not certain but I believe I palm mute lightly throughout, more so at the end of the down strum. Plus, I'm choking all but the target notes with the left hand, which mutes the sound even without palm muting. It's a noisy percussive way of playing, but I think, the fretting hand is the key.
 

MikeS

Student Of The Blues
Staff member
It's a tough technique, but one that really translates to all playing. Use what ever you can (right palm, index finger above other fingers below) to mute any string not being played. I don't think you are talking about the up rake, because that's completely un-muted
 

Paul Solera

Blues Newbie
It's a tough technique, but one that really translates to all playing. Use what ever you can (right palm, index finger above other fingers below) to mute any string not being played. I don't think you are talking about the up rake, because that's completely un-muted
I meant muting immediately after the uprake, but that cuts the notes too short and gives it a staccato sound, which is what I'm not hearing either.
 

Paul Solera

Blues Newbie
Is it possible that he's using the edge of his thumb right after the down stroke (thumb and radial side of palm Vs ulnar/pinky side of palm)?
When I rake downwards, my wrist naturally turns slightly anti-clockwise so that the thumb/radial edge of my palm is closest to the strings. If I were to use the pinky side of my palm, I would have to make extra effort to turn my wrist clockwise to dampen the strings.
 

MikeS

Student Of The Blues
Staff member
We may need @Griff to chime in on this one, but I'm thinking that on the down stroke (And immediately after the unmuted up stroke), it's mainly the left hand that does the muting. In the end what ever works for you and your anatomy, is the right answer.
 

jmin

Student Of The Blues
This video of SRV does a really good job of showing what he does in the first 30 seconds (E chord) ...I'm not sure it answers your question, but it's another viewpoint. I was impressed with how much he's doing with his left hand, really pumping it at times.

 

ChrisGSP

Blues Journeyman
Is it possible that he's using the edge of his thumb right after the down stroke (thumb and radial side of palm Vs ulnar/pinky side of palm)?
When I rake downwards, my wrist naturally turns slightly anti-clockwise so that the thumb/radial edge of my palm is closest to the strings. If I were to use the pinky side of my palm, I would have to make extra effort to turn my wrist clockwise to dampen the strings.
Hi Paul, I've been thinking about this question for a few days, and have some ideas.
Firstly, remember that Griff says that this technique can sound really ugly when we're practicing it slowly, but we should "butcher it, loud and proud" until we get it right.
Secondly, it's in (really exaggerated) swing time; 1-uh2-uh3-uh4-uh1 the upstrokes are on the "uh". And the downstrokes (silent) follow the upstroke immediately; THEN we pause before the next upstroke.

I meant muting immediately after the uprake, but that cuts the notes too short and gives it a staccato sound, which is what I'm not hearing either.
I think it actually IS staccato, and I mute the strings on the downstroke with my picking hand, so the chords don't sound out for very long at all. As I said above, the downstroke follows immediately after the upstroke, then pause before the next upstroke.

How that muting happens, is that I "pump" my fretting hand, lifting the fingers off the fretboard, almost immediately after I finish the up-stroke. That kills those strings. Then I do the downstroke immediately and use the heel of my pick hand (between the pinky and the wrist) to mute all six strings. I don't "sit" the heel of my hand on the strings, I just slide the heel of the hand across all six strings. It's completely automatic, because I've been doing it like that for many years.

The mechanics of the pick hand go like this - on the upstroke I roll my wrist upwards while I'm moving my whole forearm up, so that the heel of my hand actually rolls in towards the strings. Then on the downstroke the heel of my hand is already close to the strings and the pick is out of the way, so I can slide the heel of my hand across the strings without striking any of them with the pick. Then my wrist turns downwards so that the pick is ready to hit the strings on the upstroke.

You can sorta practice that motion right now - hold your thumb and finger together like you're holding the pick; raise your picking hand up and rotate your wrist out, push the hand down and rotate your wrist back in. That's a very exaggerated motion, but it more or less mimics what you're trying to do.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I hope this helps a bit.
 
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Griff

Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
Staff member
If I'm reading all of this correctly, the answer is yes, you do mute on the downstroke. It's really the only option you have. It's also a pretty aggressive muting process and the left hand is as valuable as the right. Notice that, not only do I hit the strings with the palm of my right hand, but my left hand "pumps" as the notes ring out, and relaxes as those notes are no longer necessary.

If you watch SRV, you'll see a similar thing on many occasions.

It's a difficult technique that takes most people quite a while to master. The key is to go full speed through it, and correct as you go, rather than try to do it slowly. I know that seems counter to most things, but it really does work, even though it just sounds really bad at first!
 
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