Cool guitar techniques

Is something missing in your guitar play? Something that belongs to the guitarists you listen to? The reason may be that they use some techniques you don’t. This article will show you some cool guitar techniques that you maybe not heard of before and which could make your guitar playing sound more exhilarating.

Slide

This is a very common technique that can add some extra movement into the music. It’s also a technique that is easy to use in most situations.

There are different ways to slide, but here we will focus on the technique there you slide into a chord or note. The most typical way this is practiced is then you slide one semi step into a barre chord or a power chord.

tab slide

The tab above shows an example of how you can slide into a chord.  All you need to do is strum the chord and then directly move it by sliding (not lifting the fingers from the strings) to the next fret. You can for example find this in songs by Ramones that use this technique very often.

The slide can be used repeatedly as a riff or just to add some movement then changing to another chord. It’s up to you to experiment with it!

Pick slide

pick slideThis technique is really cool and can be used when you are playing with a pick (plectrum) and preferable on an electric guitar with some amount of gain from your amp. Some distortion effect will make it even better.

The technique is very simple, but you may need to practice a while before getting it to sound good. To do a pick slide you use your pick and slide it - over one or two strings - from the strumming position (you can begin the slide near the bridge) in direction to neck.

The way to do it is to tilt your pick and then scrape it over the lowest strings (see picture). Some centimeters slide will do it. It can be very cool as intro of a song or just as part of a riff. Listen for example to Social Distortion songs for examples.

Palm muting

palm muting on guitarThis technique is a must to know about if you will be able to get heavy sounds from your guitar. Palm muting is common in heavy metal and punk. Listen for example to the intro in the Green Day song "Basket Case". In the beginning palm muting are used and after a while shifting to ordinary playing. That is the method you should use: mix palm muting into the usual, non muting, guitar playing.

So how does palm muting work? As a fortune this is a simple technique to learn. All you have to do is lay the palm of your right hand over the strings while you strum. The typical practice is to strum the two lowest strings (E- and A string) when palm muting.

Bend

fingers bending stringsBy bending strings, you raise the pitch one semi step or whole step (in tablatures this is indicated by an arrow plus "1/2" or "Full", you may also see "3/4"), depending on how much you bend. In most cases, you will bend one of the three highest strings (G, B and E).

A tip is to take help from many fingers and not only use one. Bends are very common in solo playing and all sorts of licks. The technique is common in rock, heavy metal and blues to name a few styles.

Pre bend

This is like a bend except that you pick then you already have bent the string. In other words: first bend, then pick and release (this technique are sometimes called release bend).


More techniques with exercises can be found in the book Complete Technique for Modern Guitar.

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