Chugging is a term used to synonymously with palm muting. It is the act of silencing the strings on the guitar to created a muted, percussive-like sound that can be used to create more creative solos and even a percussive backbeat to your playing. Read on to find out more!
MUTING WITH THE RIGHT HAND
Muting with the right hand requires you to rest the fleshy part of your hand gently on the strings--just light enough that the string no longer produces a "clean" tone, but rather a muted tone. See the example video below.
MUTING WITH THE LEFT HAND
Muting with the left hand can be done in several ways, since you will most likely be using your entire left hand to mute whatever sections of the string you so desire. It is easiest to light grasp or clamp your hands around the fretboard to where you are gently touching the strings, giving them a mute sound when you finally strum with your other hand. See the example video below.
left, right, left, right. which hand to use?
Palm muting with the right hand is great for when you are playing notes and you want to add a quick, muted feel, and then resume playing.
Palm muting with the left hand is great for when you want to add a more percussive swing to your playing.
Watch the example video below and see the difference between chugging with your right hand and your left hand!
Video Breakdown--What Did You Notice?
Yup, I am muting with my right hand! This gives the left hand more dexterity to pluck single notes. It does not work so well with trying to strum whole chords. For that part, it's best to switch roles!
SPECIAL LEFT-HAND CHUGGING TECHNIQUE
That only leaves one hand left--get it?--the left hand! While using my left hand as the main muter of the strings, I am able to strum as I please with the right hand. Muting with the left hand gives me great flexibility. This is why the left-hand palm muting is so special. While palm-muting with my left hand, I am still able to strum chords AND also pluck individual notes. But I am also to choose what section of the fretboard I want to mute.
You don't have to mute all the strings! In the video, I only mute a section of the strings while I strum the rest to create a jazzy/bluesy sounding chord.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Chugging with the right hand is great for building up suspense and anticipation in a song, whereas chugging with the left hand is great to creating a percussive groove and simply strumming out!
Hope you have fun experimenting with both!