As it is important to learn how to produce sounds on the guitar it is also important to learn how to stop them, how to mute them. The reasons why the guitar player needs to have a good muting technique are purely musical, note values and articulation, style, etc. If a note is written as a crotchet, it should be one beat, if it is a minim, it should be two beats, etc. The same goes for the rest. Of-coarse, there are many situations where notes and rests will not be performed exactly as they are written that will be determined by the style or other musical factors.
There are many ways to mute a string or strings on the guitar. Here I will mention only a few for both left and right hands.
Mute with the inner part of the fingers
Simply touch the desired number of strings with all fingers as if you will be doing barre with all fingers at the same time. This can be done with one finger, regardless of which, with a part of a finger, etc. Here we can also mention the situation where let’s say forth open string – “D” sounds and it is followed by the note “C” on string five fret three. If the guitar player lands their third finger correctly on string five fret three, the fourth string will continue to sound, and the notes “C” and “D” will blend. If that is not desirable, the fourth string should be muted. One of the solutions is – simply to place the third finger, at the time it presses “C”, slightly angled, in a way that its pad touches string four without pressing it. depends on what is our task at that given moment.
Release the string or the strings,
If the note that must be muted is not an open string, meaning it is pressed with any left-hand finger, can be muted simply by slightly releasing the finger while still maintaining contact with the string. It can also work for two notes as well as for chords.
Muting with the entire palm
The inner sight of the palm touches all the strings. This way is a bit tricky although is easy, because the guitarist may be tempted to slap the strings rather than just touching them with the palm. If the sound from the slapping is not desired or searched, it should be avoided by palming the strings more gently.
Muting with the right side of the palm.
It is done usually next to the bridge; in this way all the unnecessary sounds are minimal. Close to the bridge, the strings amplitudes are smaller, and it is easier to stop them without noises. This way of muting usually is followed by turning the palm, rolling it on top of all strings so they stop sounding. This type of muting is used mainly at the end of the piece or at the end of a part of the piece
Muting with finger pads,
A string can be muted also by placing the finger pad on it. The finger used for that can be the one that just played the string. This type of muting with the thumb’s pad is very effective when dealing with bass strings.
How to practice muting?
When necessary mute the strings that will bring your guitar playing to a different level. You can go through one or several muting techniques just to become familiar with them. But the best way to practice muting is in a piece or an etude. Where you can see the necessity of muting in a real situation. As we said above there are many ways to mute the notes. Once you choose a particular way to mute a particular note, stick to it and learn it along with everything. Do not neglect that extra movement in your practice.