Watch the Muting Techniques online guitar lesson by Tommy Emmanuel from Fingerstyle Breakthroughs
In this video we'll talk a bit about the importance of improving your muting. This is an important technique to get under your fingers and the time you spend working on it now will prove very useful once we get further into the repertoire part of the course.
We'll also learn an exercise that you can use to improve your muting. Take it slow at first, and then ease the tempo up on your metronome as you get more comfortable playing through the exercise.
Muting happens with the right and the left hand - some people think you mute only with the right; but many times the left hand does most of the work. The idea here is to control the amount of the note's sound that comes out to accomplish what you want. This could mean sustaining the note and then making it stop, making it soft or funky sounding, or whatever you want to do. Here I'll play a simple funk groove at first without any muting so you can hear what it is, and then add in the muting, breaking down what I'm doing with my right and left hands.
For some great examples of muting in fingerstyle, listen to Leo Kottke and Jerry Reed who derived a great deal of their sound from this technique.