Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Basic Lead Guitar Techniques

Guitar has one very special feature, it allows you to manipulate the sound after a note has been played. With your left hand holding down a specific note, you have a choice of various special techniques which you can use to modify and control the sound as the note rings, or which you can use to go to the next note you want to play. These techniques can be divided into four broad categories- Hammers, Slides, Bends and Vibrato. The first three are principally ways of changing the pitch without having to fret a new note and strike the string again. The fourth, the vibrato is a technique that adds the guitarist's own personal signature to the overall sound.

Hammering techniques:- All these techniques involve sounding two or more notes while striking the string only once. They include hammer ons, hammer offs or pull offs and trills.

  • Hammer ons:- The simplest way to observe the effect of a hammer on is with an open string. Play an E on the open 1st string and then, without striking the string again with your right hand, bring the 1st finger of your left hand firmly down on to the 1st fret. The note will keep ringing but the pitch will rise from E to F. You can apply this trick anywhere on the fretboard.
  • Pull offs:-  you can also call them hammer offs. Pull offs are opposite of hammer ons. This time, you start by playing a fretted note and then go down either to an open string or to a lower fret. The pitch of the note therefor drops. Pull offs require more care than hammer ons if both notes are to be heard clearly you must pull your left hand finger away sharply and at an angle of about 45 degrees so that your fingertip virtually plucks the string and keeps the new note ringing. If you pull off too slowly or at the wrong angle, you will not catch the string and the second note will not sound clearly.
  • Trills:- Alternating rapidly between the same two notes is called a trill. It is best done by fretting the lower of the two notes, playing it once and then hammering quickly and regularly on and off the note above it. The string should keep ringing clearly.

Slides:- slides are similar to hammer ons and pull offs in that more than one note is sounded but the string is only struck once. They differ in that every note between the first and last can be heard. A slide is easier to perform on a guitar than on most other instruments. Slides are best done with the 2nd and 3rd finger of your left hand since this leaves your 1st and 4th fingers free to continue playing in either direction at the end of the slide. Generally ascending slides are easier than desending slides. Finger pressure is the key to sliding notes whether ascending or descending. To play a slide strike any note and then slide the finger without striking the string again to the next note.

String Bending:- this is one of the most basic of all techniques. It is used to some degree by virtually every guitarist playing a melody line or a lead break, and it is one of the most recognizable characteristics of modern guitar style. On modern electric guitars, the top three strings are the ones most commonly used for string bending. Usually the pitch of the bent note is raised by the equivalent of one fret, two frets or three frets. The most common problem associated with string bending is keeping the strings in tune.

Vibrato:- This is also the most basic guitar techniques which every guitarist must learn to play. To play the vibrato you need to smoothly vibrate the note which will produce very pleasant sound. Most of the guitarists uses the vibrato at the ending notes of the licks.

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