Palm muting the ukulele changes the way the ukulele sounds. Knowing how to do it gives you the opportunity to diversify your playing style. Ultimately making you a better player.
To palm mute, hold the pinky side of your strumming hand against the strings near the bridge. This is going to dampen the sound of the strings. Create an O shape with your thumb and first finger, then start to pluck the strings with your fingernail.
The level of pressure you apply to the strings will greatly affect how effective your palm muting is. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it the easy way!
How To Do It
For the amount of effort it takes to learn how to palm a ukulele. It quickly becomes an invaluable skill to hold as a uke player. Fine-tune this method and you will be palm muting in just a few minutes.
3 easy steps
Your palm needs to be sitting on the bridge. You will notice as you apply pressure to the bridge, the fats and muscle in your hand will bulge out and spread over the strings. It will be very subtle, but enough to start dampening the strings.
It’s important to relax your hand and just let it sit on the bridge. This is going to make plucking the strings much more comfortable.
With your hand on the bridge, start to create an O shape with your thumb and finger. It should naturally become more of a square. The angle of the knuckle on your first finger should be 90°
Once you have the shape, you are ready to start plucking. Use your thumb to apply pressure to the tip of your first finger. The tip of your thumbnail should be pointing at the corner of your first finger nail.
Putting It Into Practise
Now you know the fundamentals of how to palm mute. Let’s learn some ukulele riffs that make use of the technique. If you are unfamiliar with ukulele tabs, spend 10 minutes getting to grips with it with this guide.
Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
Is Palm Muting the Same as Chucking?
Although they have a similar damped sound. The chuck is a more percussive technique that is usually played while strumming. When we are palm muting, we are often doing for a significant period in the song. Whereas chucking tends to be short little bursts to add flavour to a song.
On the topic of chucking, let’s learn how to do it.
How to Chuck a Ukulele
When we are palm muting, we want the pitch of the notes to ring out. With chucking it’s different. We want to kill all the pitch and create the actual sound of our fingers hitting the strings.
This video from Dave over at UkuleleGo is some great guidance on how to perform the chuck.