Palm muting a Strat

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by 12guitdown, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. 12guitdown

    12guitdown Member

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    It's not strings 6-3, but I've always had a little difficulty palm muting the 1st and 2nd strings. As my hand moves down the bridge my pinky starts to hit the volume knob and I can't get my palm to mute the 1st and 2nd strings like the way I can on, say, an LP or Tele. So to compensate I either,

    a) Turn or rotate my hand upward, which makes for awkward picking.

    b) Put the pinky up and over the volume knob, But the vol knob can move and it's hard to get out of that position if I need to get back to the 6th string in a hurry so I usually don't do that.

    c) Don't palm mute and just lightly pick to achieve the same dynamic.


    So for those that share in this struggle, what do you do to compensate?
    Suggestions more than welcome.
     
  2. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I regularly play a strat and tele and do not have trouble palm muting. Dunno why you do and I don't. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful than saying I have a different experience.
     
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  3. 12guitdown

    12guitdown Member

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    Thanks for mentioning that. Obviously, we all hold our picks differently and have different shaped hands, placements, etc. So even if this isn't an issue for you, let me know.
     
  4. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    I have this issue as well on a strat. My compromise is to have a master tone knob and a master volume. Shifted them down and have a plug where the volume knob usually goes.

    I am too lazy to adjust my technique to the guitar, so I adjusted the guitar to my technique.
     
  5. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    On my old Fender Strat (now departed) I hit the same problem when I first got the guitar. I also used to make contact between pinky and volume knob when playing in general. I ended up playing and palm muting further towards the neck of the guitar.

    I recently bought a Suhr Custom Classic and specifically ordered it with only one tone knob, so the volume knob was placed away from the strings. You could probably customize your guitar in a similar way ... buy a new pickguard with one vol and one tone knob and re-wire your guitar so all your pickups work off that one tone knob. A guitar tech should be able to help you out with it. You do sacrifice some tonal control, obviously, in that you can't set your bridge/middle pickup tone to be rolled off whilst your neck tone is set full on, but if it's really bothering you then maybe weigh up which niggle you'd rather live with.
     
  6. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Just find a way around the knob. If you anchor your fingers on the guard, you need to lift them a bit to clear the volume knob which will get in the way as it's right there. I usually just lift my pinky a bit and I'm fine. I wouldn't mod your strat, it's better to learn good technique to allow you to play any strat you want. Plus having the volume knob right there gives so much control for quick adjustments of tones and pinky/violin swells. The coolest part of a strat.

    It's easy once you get used to it. A good riff to practice this with is the Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love riff. It's easy but will work on that muting control. I see people play that riff on a strat and the E and B strings ring out, they don't even realize they aren't muting them. It's gotta have that chunky muted tone!
     
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  7. 12guitdown

    12guitdown Member

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    No no no. I'm not even considering that or even the fact of ditching it altogether. I only posted this out of curiosity to see what others are doing and maybe glean an idea or two from it.
     
  8. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Get a Telecaster.
     
  9. 12guitdown

    12guitdown Member

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    Funny guy.:dude
     
  10. ndemattheis

    ndemattheis Member

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    I have had a similar problem. I find myself occassionally hitting the pickup selector accidentally. I also I find very awkward to play when I have the tremolo attached. I don't use the tremolo for this reason, but I find myself wishing I had it at times. I have only been playing a strat for the past year or so, having played a Les Paul for the prior 25 years. I really like the tone of the strat, so I am willing to put up with these inconveniences.
     
  11. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    my hand 1is a bout 3/4" in front of the bridge, so I don't have a problem with the volume knob, but I play a lot of false harmonics so my hand is never on the bridge.
     
  12. Soporific

    Soporific Member

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    I always nailed the volume knob when playing my strat, so I just pulled the hat off of the knob and now it's not a problem. I haven't had it on there for about 8 years now actually. It also seems to do volume swells easier, I just use my pinky for the volume.

    ~S
     
  13. shane88

    shane88 Member

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    i "palm mute" the top 2 strings with the side of my pinky or just put my hand over the top of the knob :)
     
  14. Meiannatee

    Meiannatee Member

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    A very old thread, but it's one of the first when I googled this problem.

    Firstly, I think some of the those who replied that they didn't have any issue at all, misunderstood the OP. Like me, he/she didn't have an issue with palm-muting the lower 4 string, only when palm-muting the high B and E strings. Try palm-muting the high E for 5 minutes and for some, it starts to get painful trying to avoid the knob.

    I guess most players don't pm the top 2 strings, but I like it for the percussive rhythmic sound with a dotted 8th delay.

    I'm looking to get a strat, is there a way to move a little further away? Do i need to move the 5-way switch as well?
    Thanks!
     
  15. Dr.Lee

    Dr.Lee Member

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    I palm mute all the time and don't have a problem. In fact the volume doesn't even cause me a problem at all because I use the volume knob all the time instead of bothering with a noise gate and for changing the dynamics of my guitar through the amp. Check out my profile picture to see how I hold the pic and where my hand is in relation to the volume. As I move down toward the high e string, my pinky goes under the volume. Note: I have been playing stratocasters for most of my guitar playing life.
     
  16. Shane Sanders

    Shane Sanders Supporting Member

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    I go for the "Delonge Vol Position" option with custom Warmoth guards. It solves the main problem, but since I don't like a loose bar (I keep it fixed in one usable position but can force it out of the way if I want), there's always some compromise for me with a strat regardless of the trem brand.
     
  17. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

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    I used to feel the same way. I bought a used mim strat (cuz ya gotta have a strat, right?) and hated it for all the reasons stated above--difficulty palm muting, unwanted contact with the controls, etc. This was very disappointing to me because I love the strat sound but felt I just couldn't bond with it.

    Then my teacher "suggested" I stop being a lazy douche and figure out how to play the instrument properly rather than bitch about it.

    At the time, I was playing by holding the pick between my thumb and index and had my other fingers splayed out. One thing I noticed about this was that having my fingers out was causing me to swing too wide with the pick e.g. on a downstroke of the b and high e strings the pick would travel way beyond the e string which a) decreased my speed and b) brought my fingers into uncontrolled contact with the p/u selector and volume knob.

    I then set out to learn how to pick with a closed fist using tighter, more economical motions. This took a *lot* of wood shedding, but it was like a miracle happened. My picking in general got much faster and --surprisingly to me--more accurate. It also eliminated all of my problems with the strat.

    Might be worth a try, though of course ymmv.
     
  18. Shane Sanders

    Shane Sanders Supporting Member

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    That kind of attitude seems to lack the awareness that there are more ways to play guitar than most other instruments in existence. I can appreciate the teacher wanting people to buckle up and work, but it's not just about will power. Not to mention the difference in physiology between individuals and the various goals of each individual as far as style goes. I don't fan my fingers out, generally, and the stock volume knob placement is definitely in the way of certain techniques for some people.
     
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  19. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    For the most part my pinky's side....sits on the pickup screw between knob and pickup, fleshy part of hand across the saddle screws, and a habit developed of pushing forward to keep the volume rolled up, or rolling it up normally to get the pinky back on the screw. Helps if a couple of saddle screws are slightly protruding.
    not wanting to enter the fray, but it's worth .02 and there it is
     

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