Maybe you have been playing guitar for a while and you would like to get better at it. Maybe you are just starting out and you would like to learn the basics. In either case, there are some guitar playing techniques that you should know about. These techniques will help improve your skills and make you a better guitar player.
One of the main challenges that guitar players face is not knowing how to improve their skills. If you are just starting out, it can be difficult to know where to begin. And if you have been playing guitar for a while, but you would like to get better, it can be tough to know what techniques you should focus on.
This article will introduce you to the basics of guitar playing, strumming technique, picking technique, and fretting technique.
The Basics of Guitar Playing Techniques
No guitar player is complete without knowing these three guitar playing techniques. Strumming, picking, and fretting are the bread and butter of any guitar player’s repertoire. Here’s a quick rundown of each technique and what you need to know about them.
Strumming is the most basic guitar playing technique. It simply involves moving your hand up and down the strings in a rhythmic pattern.
The picking technique is a bit more complex. It involves using your pick to pluck individual strings in a precise order. The last guitar playing technique you need to understand is fretting. This involves pressing your fingertips down on the fretboard to create different notes.
Strumming Technique: How to create a rhythmic pulse
Here’s the real deal about strumming: strumming is the key to being a good guitar player.
A lot of guitar players think that strumming is just about moving your hand up and down the strings. But there’s a lot more to it than that. If you want to create a rhythmic pulse, you need to be able to control the timing and the amount of pressure you apply to the strings. Creating a good strumming pattern takes practice and understanding how to create a rhythmic pulse.
Here are some tips for improving your strumming technique:
- Use a metronome: This will help you keep a steady beat.
- Practice slowly without chords with the strings muted: This will give you a sense of the rhythm and focus in your right hand strumming.
- Learn how to count time: This is an essential skill for any musician. If you can’t keep time, it will be difficult to create a good strumming pattern.
- Use a thinner guitar pick: This will make strumming easier and provide you with a better sense of the strings.
- Angle your pick: This will help you get a better sound and make strumming easier. It allows you to strum lightly with your wrist.
- Strum from the wrist: This will help you get a more even, smoother sound and provide you with more control. If you just move your elbow, rather than your wrist, you’ll seem and sound like a robot guitar player.
- Keep your right hand moving: This is a common mistake guitar players make. They stop their right hand strumming when they change chords. This disrupts the flow and makes it difficult to keep a steady rhythm. You want to keep your right hand moving even when you’re not hitting the strings all the time.
- Experiment with different rhythms: Don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Listen to music: Pay attention to the way the guitar is used in different songs. This will give you a better understanding of how to use strumming patterns to create different effects.
Picking Technique: How to pluck individual strings
When strumming a chord, you’re hitting all of the strings, but when picking a note, you’re focusing on one string at a time.
A lot of guitar players tend to grip the pick too tightly, which results in an inconsistent sound. Instead, hold the pick lightly between your thumb and index finger. You should be able to move it around easily.
The picking technique is all about control. When you pick a guitar string, you need to be able to control the pressure, the timing and the direction of the pick. If you can’t control these two things, you won’t be able to create the sound that you want.
Strumming techniques that may be used with picking,
- Practice with a metronome
- Start slow
- Learn how to count time
- Angle your pick
- Pick from your wrist
- Listen to music
Other tips for improving your picking technique:
- Start with medium gauge pick: A good all-purpose option would be medium pick when picking individual strings. This will provide you with the right amount of control and pressure when picking the strings. You’ll also be able to move the pick around easily between your thumb and index finger.
- Small, efficient movements: You don’t need to move your hand a lot to pick the string. In fact, small, efficient motions will result in a cleaner sound. The less movement you have, the better control you’ll have over the pick.
- Keep your hand close to the strings: This will help you develop a sense of touch and control.
- Don’t grip the pick too tightly: As we mentioned before, this will result in an inconsistent sound. Relax your hand and hold the pick lightly.
- Use alternate picking: This is when you pick down on one string and then up on the next. This will help you get a clean sound and avoid string noise.
- Pluck individual strings in a precise order: This is an essential skill for guitar players. If you can’t pluck the strings in the right order, you won’t be able to create the sound that you want.
Fretting Technique: How to press down strings
One of guitar playing techniques that is often overlooked is fretting. Fretting is how you press down on the strings to play those chords cleanly and accurately.
A lot of guitarists tend to just mash their fingers down on the fretboard, but this leads to sloppy sounding chords. Instead, take the time to place your fingers behind the fret and use the tips of your fingers to press down on the string. This may take some time to get used to, but it will make a world of difference in how your chords sound.
Here are some tips for strengthening your fretting technique:
- Thumb position: You want to position your thumb in the middle of the neck. This will give you more control over the strings and help you avoid accidentally muting them.
- Finger placement: Place your fingers behind the fret and press down the strings slightly below the fingertip.
- Use the side of your index finger: The barre finger should not be entirely flat. Instead, use the side of your index finger to press down on the strings. This will help you apply less force because it’s considerably stronger than the flat side.
- Angle your guitar’s neck up: This will make it easier to press down on the strings.
- Pull the strings with the weight of your arm: Don’t squeeze the neck of your guitar with your fingers and thumb like a clamp. Squeezing can cause a sore thumb and constrict your arm and shoulder, resulting in needless muscular strain. Relax your shoulder and arm, allowing the weight to be transferred to the strings.
- Don’t press down too hard: You don’t need to press down on the guitar strings with all your might. In fact, pressing down too hard can cause the strings to buzz and result in an unpleasant sound. But if you don’t press down hard enough, the chords will sound muted and won’t ring out clearly. Just use enough pressure to make a clear, consistent sound.
- Shoulder down: One of the most important guitar playing techniques is to relax your shoulder. A lot of guitarists tend to hunch over their guitars, which can lead to tension and pain in the shoulders. So make sure that you’re sitting up straight and not hunched over your guitar. You should also take breaks often to stretch out your shoulders.
- Keep your arm and elbow close to your body: Make sure your entire arm is relaxed, and avoid forming a chicken wing. It’s more comfortable and easier to move your hand to the fretboard if you keep your arm hanging beside your body.
- Use a guitar strap: This will help to keep your guitar in the same position and make it easier to press down on the strings.
Master the Basics!
You’ve now learned the basics of strumming, picking and fretting. These techniques form the foundation for your guitar playing journey. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to apply these skills in any style you like.
Get started by practicing each technique slowly and deliberately until they feel comfortable under your fingers. Once you have them down, start working on incorporating them into songs. The more time you spend practicing and learning new techniques, the better player you’ll become. And that’s what it’s all about – becoming a master of the guitar!