Recently I've rekindled my interest in right hand thumb muting vs palm muting. And to be 100% clear, I am talking about muting any noise from the strings below the string being plucked. Not
as in palm muting for percussive power chords. I am also using the index to mute the strings above.
The main reason I decided to pursue right hand thumb muting is the realization of the added flexibility it brings. I don't have to rely on always having my picking hand flush to the bridge to play cleanly with distortion, allowing me more freedom on how and where I hold the guitar. Also, I've heard that the bone of the thumb is much more effective in quickly muting ringing strings than fleshy parts of the palm. And finally, I heard Yngwie does it
So while experimenting on how to thumb mute WITHOUT accidentally pinching artificial harmonics, I realized that I needed to move my pick closer to the edge of my fingernail, lowering the chance of accidentally touching flesh and causing a pinch harmonic. I've also been working on improving the economy of my picking motions (not as in directional picking, but as in how far I follow through on each pick) to lower the chance of my thumb touching the string on the follow through.
However, I am finding it hard to find a compromise on trying to the mute the string directly below, but still not make pinch harmonics due to flesh being too close to the pick. I find that when I move the picking closer to the edge of my fingernail, I fail to the mute the string directly below (which is sometimes okay, as my index would mute it), or in some cases even 2 strings directly below (in which case my fretting hand index finger would not cover it).
This problem is exacerbated when sweeping comes into play. I have NO clue how this dude in this video
is not accidentally making pinch harmonics when sweeping. Since the nature of thumb muting relies on the thumb being flush to the string, how can one do this while making a sweeping motion? Because the thumb is parallel to the bridge, I would think it is inevitable for the string to be touched right
after the pluck, causing the unwanted harmonic.
SHORT VERSION: At the moment I am thumb muting for normal alt picking (though still having trouble finding a good compromise between preventing accidental pinch harmonics by moving the picking further from thumb flesh, yet still muting the adjacent string below), and then using palm muting for sweeping, because I literally cannot sweep with thumb muting without it resulting in a harmonic fest.
I realize that the majority of people do not thumb mute, so if you do, I beg
you to share your insight!