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Electric Guitar Techniques

What is it that great guitarists know that you don't?

Your arsenal of electric guitar techniques is the key to a great performance of your music.

Face it there are allot of really good and great electric guitar players out there. You have some serious competition.

If you want to stand out from the crowd you have to study the greats and then add your serious practice, dedication, build your sound and unique personality to your music.

And it better be good.

Jimi Hendrix had a ton of techniques and flat out superhuman skill in executing them.

How did he acquire such skill?

He studied the great blues guitarists such as Buddy Guy and made their techniques his own.

People like that had techniques that were and are far above normal.

The development of new amazing techniques and sounds continues .

Eddie Van Halen has been around for awhile now and he is probably best know for using the guitar technique called tapping and the amazing use of harmonics and whammy bar genius.

Where did he learn these skill?

From other great players.

I want you to notice one more thing about these two guitarists.

It was not just the techniques that they used that gave them amazing results they pulled off.

Technology fueled their success.

Would Jimi have been able to pull off his music without his 100 watt Marshall amps, Fuzz face distortion and Wah Wah pedals?

No they were a major part of his electric guitar techniques and sound.

Anybody can jump on a wah wah pedal like a ape and use it but to use it with finesse takes diligent study, practice and performance.

Electric guitar techniques

1. Controlled guitar Feedback - Two guitarists come to mind as masters of feed back as one of their electric guitar techniques.

Ted Nugent and Jimi Hendrix. I'm sure there are quite a few more but those are the ones that come to mind for me.

Why does feedback used correctly in Rock music send the audience into a frenzy of wild appreciation? good question.

Take a look at the character and personality of the two artists above. Two words - Crazy and out of control.

The world is so constraining for so many people and so a outlet for all that frustration is to enjoy someone that is just totally out of control enjoying makeing crazy and out of control spasms of sonic mayhem.

How to use feedback as one of your electric guitar techniques

It helps to have a semi hollow body guitar or a powerful tube amplifier with allot of gain.

Caution ear protection is not only advised but if you are going to try extreme volume techniques it is absolutely imperative to protect your ears with some sort of approved ear protection or you might just end up with damage to your hearing.

If you want to try some of this at lower volumes a hollow body electric will be more than happy to give you all the feedback you want and probably more.

Ok turn your amp up loud enough to produce feedback on its own. Turn the volume knob on your guitar down to contain it. Experiment with turning up the know at appropriate places during your playing to produce the feedback you need.

A distortion pedal or cranking the gain on a good amp will do the trick.

Face the guitar at the amp to get your guitar to feedback and experiment with the angles to produce different levels and tones.

Oh and by the way get you ear protection on before you try this and make sure people and pets are protected too.

2. palm muting - Palm muting while picking and strumming is a way of adding attitude to your playing, something that adds a driving rhythm that can be like a freight train interspersed with solo guitar pyrotechnics.

This is a mainstay of famous Rock and Roll guitar players like Ted Nugent and many others.

Palm muting is one of the most popular techniques with heavy metal players.

How to Palm mute. Take a good look at the palm of your strumming hand. Got it? OK, look at your pinky finger (that's the small one on the end.) Right under that finger on the side of the hand is a nice hunk of meat that's kind of like a meaty pillow.

While your doing your strumming and picking lay that part of your hand on the strings by the bridge of your guitar. This will mute or partially silence the strings. On a electric guitar going through a amp this can become a percussion instrument. The trick is to use it for a percussion effect and then raise that hand up when you want to let the strings rings er.. ring.

That's all there is to this technique. Experiment and make it part of your sound.

3. Electric guitar string damping - This is a electric guitar techniques secret for the most part.

Scotty Moore and Michael Angelo Batio both have and probably still use what is called a string dampener. the one Scotty Moore used was endorsed by Gibson guitars. Michael Angelo Batio designed and patented a great looking model that he has for sale on his website.

What this is is some kind of device whether is be a specially designed apparatus expecially designed for it or even a towel wrapped around the strings at the top of the guitar to keep the strings not played from vibrating while the other strings are played down below.

I recommend some kind of small hairband that you can slide on and off the fretboard as you need it while you play.

4. Guitar harmonics - One of the coolest sounding electric guitar techniques you can learn are harmonics.

You produce a harmonic by gently touching a sting along the fretboard after it is plucked on what is called a node. These are in a few places on the string. The result is a bell like chime.

Add distortion and volume and you can make them scream. Using a whammy bar such as a Floyd rose tremolo and you can really have fun. Add some feedback to it for some really cool stuff.

5. Pinch harmonics -A pinch harmonic is produced by lightly brushing the thumb of the picking hand against the string immediately after you pick it. The place on the string should be where one of the nodes are located. Experimentation is how you figure out where those are located.

Eddie Van Halen among others popularized this electric guitar technique. It sounds absolutely amazing over a high gain tube amp.

6. Guitar tapping - Tapping is a technique that consists of striking a string with your fingertip and them pulling it it off the string to produce two sounds one after the other. This is often combined with a pulloff from the fretted note or notes above.

This after a ton of practice can produce sounds that sound like you have superhuman ability as a guitarist to people that don't play the guitar. If your really good you'll sound that way to other guitarists.

7. Wah Wah pedal techniques - A wah wah pedal has been part of the Roll arsenal for some time now. There seems to be quite a few different pedals out there that vary in intensity and sound options.

Electric guitar techniques using a Wah Wah pedal a vast as the personalities that use them.

To make these techniques your own listen to the greats Hendrix, Van Halen, Steve Vai and get a feel for how the masters of the art use them.

Explore the different types of Wah pedals at the music stores around your area. There quite a few out there and they each have their own sound.

8. String bending - a mainstay of the American Rock and Roll and Blues tradition. This is how you make a guitar sing.

Best thing to remember about string bending is to control where you are bending to. Get it right.

You can practice your bends by choosing a note one or two frets above the one you are starting out on and listen to it briefly and then bend the note you are on up to that sound.

Do that up and down the neck a few dozen times and you should have a feel for it.

9. Guitar hammer on -is a technique that sounds a note without picking it. The art of picking without picking.

Simply slam your finger into the next note to make it sound.This is one of the electric guitar techniques that works better with a amp that has the gain turned up to provide more sustain.

A guitar compressor pedal will help with this technique since it evens out the volume and sustain of the individual notes.

This technique gives your playing more speed and the ability to appear superhuman in your abilities.

10. Pull offs - What is a pull off? It is pulling a finger off a string and sounding a note.

This enables you to speed up your playing because you are not picking every note and its easy, once you get the hang of it to really whoop it out.

11. Electric guitar tremolo techinqiues -The electric guitar techniques you can pull off with a good guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo is amazing.

A regular tremolo such as one you would find on a ordinary Stratocaster is used to give a warbling sound to notes or chords.

A Floyd Rose is more extreme and can be used with all kinds of harmonics and other techiques to produce startling extreme electric guitar tremolo effects, howls and harmonic squeals. Extreme fun.

To learn to use a tremalo watch some greats that know how to use if. Dimebag Darrell was a master at getting a guitar to scream.

Steve Vai is a great one to watch and learn electric guitar tremolo effects from on youtube.

After you get the idea from guitarists like them, experiment and make it your own.

To pull off the extreme tremolo effects you need a guitar with a Floyd Rose and a high gain amp. Dean guitars make a great choice for such effects and Peavey makes great amps for such antics.

There's lots of others but I personally would choose those.

Are those the only electric guitar techniques out there? Your imagination is only limitation what with the myriad of guitars, amps and effects out there.

Roy Barnett

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