Fascinating in many ways, the guitar is arguably one of the most popular musical instruments across the world, and for the good reason, or many reasons, to be precise. It’s unbelievably versatile and can literally work miracles in different genres and styles. It’s light, letting the proud owners take the music with them and impress friends wherever they are. Well, it’s also inexpensive and the price often plays a decisive role in the choice of the instrument to master. By the way, speaking of mastering, the guitar is one of the rare musical instruments that can be learned to play at home, all the more so, modern technologies bring the best teachers or online resources right to your fingertips.
However, the path from the first chords to getting sincere compliments for your performance is not that quick and easy. If you are dreaming of becoming really good at playing the guitar, you’ll certainly have to master an array of important techniques – practice makes perfect. To give you a hand and spice up your process of learning, we share some expert tricks able to take your play to the next level. Here you have it: 8 tips every guitarist should know to amaze the audience.
Tip #1: Natural Harmonics
Let’s start with something really easy and try to make your guitar produce captivating sounds of a harp. Chances are, you’ve already guessed that you can do it by playing natural harmonics and that’s right – on the 5th, 7th, and 12th frets on any string. Make sure to lightly touch the string because too much pressure can spoil the note that will become dim and well, toneless. For the final touch, pick the string your hand is hovering over.
Tip #2: Descending Harmonics
Another absolutely uncomplicated technique, which is pretty similar to the already mentioned natural harmonics but with a focus on a certain fret. Called descending harmonics, it works particularly well on the low E string, letting your fingers produce divine sounds. But you can use this technique with any string you want, just don’t put too much pressure when you hover over it. Now, pick the note, and smoothly slide your fretting hand all the way down the length of the string. Can you hear those beautiful harmonics?
Tip #3: Creating Feedback
This is an awesome technique, however, don’t overdo it unless you want your neighbors to show up at your doors and not in the best mood. Anyway, every guitarist worth their salt will tell you that creating feedback is a bit of a challenging process that is not possible without a decent mid range guitar amp and some tips on how to adjust the settings. Do not forget, beautiful feedback means being loud, hence it seeks more volume than gain. So, dime the milds on your amp, add that volume, now you need a neck pickup to strike a strong note, trying your best to maintain it for as long as you can. A bridge pickup is also an option but the neck counterpart is just more suitable for sustaining a long note.
Tip #4: Making Your Acoustic Sound As Drums
We bet you’ll love that one because it lets you unleash your inner drummer and add some unexpected twists to your guitar sessions. Despite what you may think, this technique does require some knowledge and skills because each part of the guitar is special in the way it can produce sounds. To create a booming sound that emulates a bass drum, clench your fist and tap the lower body of your instrument using the heel of your hand. A sound of a snare drum can be reached by tapping the rest of the instrument with the fingertips.
Tip #5: A Kill Switch
If you are a happy owner of a Gibson-style guitar, try your hand at creating the so-called “stutter” effect. Well, the name is not the most beautiful you’ve ever heard but the sound is very attractive. You will have to use volume controls for both pickups and the first thing to do is to roll the bridge one completely off. Now, play a chord, then flick the pickup switch between the bridge and the neck ones. Isn’t that “stutter” effect freshtastic?
Tip #6: String Bending
Just as the name of this technique suggests, it is about bending the string up or down. It’s not the easiest one but serves the lofty purpose to raise the pitch of the note. Just a heads up, bending from your fingers is incorrect, you have to bend from the wrist. The main rule is the more fingers you use, the merrier. Always play the note in advance to capture the sound, then try to bend the strings and see if you get what you want to hear.
Tip #7: Alternate Picking
If you are one of those who like playing fast, then set aside a couple of minutes to learn alternate picking. Here are some tips on how to master these down-and-up strokes. The key to success lies in small movements that ideally come from your wrist. Relax to get rid of tension in your picking hand and remember, the smaller your moves, the faster your play. Pick the note to push through the string for a downstroke, pulling the pick back over for an efficient upstroke.
Tip #8: Palm Muting
Finally, a present for all of you who fancy rock and metal music – who knows, perhaps you will be the one to start your touring career. For nicely muted and chunky chords, use palm muting – a wondrous technique able to add that sought-after chug to your performance. Pick a chord with the side of the hand towards the bridge, then pick a chord while your palm is muting it. Do you like what you hear?
If you love playing guitar, then you will easily upgrade your skills to become a great performer worth every compliment you get. Take advantage of these great tips and do not forget that practice makes perfect, hence don’t be discouraged if you can’t master certain techniques as fast as you thought you could.