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Guitar Techniques – Developing Your Style

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments · Guitar Styles

If you are a new guitarist who is curious about the guitar techniques you will be learning in the future or if you are looking to develop a little more style in your guitar playing, this article will tell you about some commonly used guitar techniques. I am also going to describe how to play a flamenco guitar technique that I think you will enjoy playing around with. I am not attempting a complete list of the things you can do on the guitar because each guitar playing style has its own techniques but hopefully you will get some ideas of where to go next in developing your technique.

Left hand guitar techniques can pretty much be moved from one musical genre to another. One exception I can think of is the technique of fretting bass notes by wrapping your thumb around the guitar neck. This technique is not used in all genres even though you are welcome to try it out in whatever you are playing, but it is downright frowned upon in classical guitar playing.

One technique that is used in classical and rock guitar playing is the use of the right hand to damp the sound of the strings. You put the side of your hand over all six strings and then pluck with your fingers or use up and down strokes with the pick. If you try it on your electric guitar you will instantly recognize the sound from numerous punk or metal tracks. A variation on this technique is to have your hand “floating” above the strings and bring it down to damp your notes just after you have played them.

Common to all kinds of plectrum guitar styles is the invention and use of strumming patterns. The “pattern” is varied by whether you use up or down strokes with your pick and in what order. A basic pattern is made by just alternating up and down strokes across all six strings in time with the music. Once you are comfortable with this technique you can vary it by using two up strokes together or two downstrokes followed by upstrokes, or you can just play the three bass or treble strings.

Whether or not you are exclusively a plectrum or finger-style guitar player you should at least experiment with the flamenco strumming technique known as rasqueado. With this style of strumming you are making use of each of your four fingers alternately to produce a completely different effect from plectrum strumming. To start you can rest the thumb on the sixth string and just strum the fourth, third, second and first strings. Begin by having all the fingers curled up, then drag each one across the strings in succession starting with the pinky. Play slowly at first and just use downstrokes.

Once you are used to playing down strokes using this flamenco technique, you can stop resting your thumb on the sixth string and follow your fingers down with it. So now you are playing five down strokes in succession. You can play a series of these rasqueado and join them up by performing an upstroke with the thumb. To summarize, you do downstrokes with the pinky, ring finger, middle finger, first finger and thumb. This gives you a long continuous strum. Then to begin another rasqueado, you bring your thumb up across the strings and start again with the pinky.

So now you have some details about some common guitar techniques plus some info on how to play flamenco style strumming. That should keep you busy for a while. Remember to search YouTube for any of the techniques I have mentioned so you can watch a guitarist performing these techniques.

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