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How to Palm Mute Reggae Guitar
How to palm mute the reggae guitar, is a technique that must be learnt, in order to master the
reggae guitar adequately. In this article I will walk
you through the steps on how to palm mute the reggae guitar.
What is palm
Palm muting is a technique in which
the guitar strings are prevented from ringing out and thus giving a percussive sound. Palm muting is mainly done
to add variety and interest to sometimes what would be a boring track (at least in the case of some reggae songs - smiles).
How did it get
Nerlynn (Lynn) Taitt is accredited for
the genesis of the palm muting technique in Ska, Reggae and Rocksteady. Some alleged that Hux
Brown played a part in its development as well. It was the Jazz, Ska,
Reggae guitarist and composer Ernest Ranglin though, who popularised the palm muting technique on the reggae
guitar with his lighting fast speed. George Benson identified
the technique as Ernest’s signature style.
What is the palm muting
Put simply, the palm muting technique
is achieved by placing the picking hand gently and lightly on the bridge of the guitar allowing some of the palm
to rest on the strings lightly inside the guitar’s bridge.
If this muting technique is adhered to
and playing commence as normal, then a nice percussive sound should be achieved (See video).
This is how palm muting on the reggae
guitar is done. However, some reggae guitarists mute the guitar strings with the non picking and hand by
gently and lightly resting the fingers on the strings. This string muting
technique may be easier to achieve if you are struggling to palm mute. Care must be taken here
not to create any unwanted harmonics.
How is it used in
The default approach in reggae is
called tracking, this is where the lead guitarist plays along with the reggae bass while palm
muting. Some reggae guitarists and producers find this approach too old school and boring so
they instead play a different melody.
What guitar string should I
The 6th, 5th and 4th strings are generally preferred for palm
muting when playing the reggae guitar, but I sometimes I go as high as the 2nd string (B string) as is evident in the
do this sometimes to get the palm muted sound to cut through the mix.
What pickup should be
Any pickup can be used for palm
muting. If you cannot get the sound to cut through the mix, then experiment with the
you are still finding it hard cutting through the mix, then go for the bridge pickup and fiddle with the tone
knob until you get the sound you desire.
What are the palm muting
Simply do your normal picking
exercises at a slow pace, let me repeat, do the exercises very slowly and that should help you develop your palm
muting technique. Further, listen to some reggae songs and play along
with the bass line, first without muting and then with muting. That’s
If you like palm muting check out the