One of the great things about the guitar when compared to other instruments, is the amount of subtle yet powerful techniques you can produce. This is because you have direct contact with the strings, as opposed to an instrument like a piano, where you have a limit to the different sounding techniques.
So I’ve decided to cover the basics of some of these techniques. If you’re a beginner, then these techniques are all things you need to eventually become familiar with.
The first technique is string bending. This is where you literally bend the strings with your fingers, to alter the pitch. It takes a little practice to get the sound in tune when you bend. It’s a good idea to practice bending in semi tones (so the bent note is the same as the next fret up from the one you’re bending). If your new to guitar, this may take some practice… but it is a popular technique, so you need to master it.
The next technique is the “hammer on”. This is when you use your finger to “hammer” on to another fret, without playing the string again. When you get more experienced, the hammer on technique can allow you to play quicker, and get a nice flowing melody of solo out of your guitar. But really, the possibilities are endless.
The next technique is similar to the last one. It is called the “pull off”. This is where you pull a finger away from a fret, so the note your holding down with your other finger is sounded. This technique is often used together with a hammer on for some pretty cool effects.
The next technique is muting. This is when you “mute” the strings with your hand, and strum the string still. It makes a nice percussive effect that is popular in many styles of music nowadays.
The next technique is the “slide”. This is where you play a note, and slide your finger up (or down) to a different fret. It makes for a nice fluid sound. It’s a popular technique for many songs, so it’s worth getting familiar with.
The final technique is vibrato. This is when you kind of wiggle your finger back and forth, or bend the string up and down very slightly. It makes for a shaky expressive sound, which works well when you want to accentuate a particular note.
And there you have some of the most popular guitar techniques, some of which are exclusive to the guitar. Practice these techniques well, and you’ll soon be able to make your playing more distinctive and interesting.
David Taylor is the owner of the Guitar Secrets Blog, where he gives free online guitar lessons, and reviews books and DVD guitar lesson s. To learn more about playing guitar be sure to visit David's blog right now.