Cool guitar techniques

Is something missing in your guitar play? Something that belongs to the guitarists you listen to? The reason may be that they use some techniques you don’t. This article will show you some cool guitar techniques that you perhaps are unfamiliar with and which could make your guitar playing sound more exhilarating.


This is a very common technique that can add some extra movement to the music. It's also a technique that is easy to use in most situations.

There are different ways to slide, but here we focus on the technique there you slide into a chord or note. The most typical way this is practiced is then you slide one semi step into a chord.

tab slide

The tab above shows an example of how you can slide into a chord.  All you need to do is strum the chord and then directly move it by sliding (not lifting the fingers from the strings) to the next fret. You can for example find this in songs by Ramones.

The slide can be used repeatedly as a riff or just to add some movement then changing to another chord. It's up to you to experiment with it!

Palm muting

palm muting on guitarThis technique is a must if you want to get heavy sounds from your guitar. Palm muting is common in genres like heavy metal and punk. Listen for example to the intro of the Green Day song "Basket Case". In the beginning palm muting are used and after a while it shifts to ordinary playing. This is a method that can be used: mix palm muting with the "non-muting" guitar strumming.

So how does palm muting work? All you have to do is lay the palm of your right hand over the strings near the bridge while you strum. A typical practice is to strum the two lowest strings (E- and A string) when palm muting.

Pick slide (pick scrape)

pick slideThis technique is really cool and can be used when you are playing with a pick (plectrum) and on an electric guitar with some amount of gain from the amp.

The technique in itself is easy to grasp, but you may need to practice a while before getting it to sound good. To do a pick slide you use your pick and slide it – over one or two strings – from the strumming position (you can begin the slide near the bridge) in direction to neck.

The way to do it's to tilt your pick and then scrape it over the lowest strings (see picture). Some centimeters slide will do it. It can be very cool as intro of a song or a riff. Listen for example to Social Distortion songs for examples.

When reading tabs, pick slides are notated with a x on each of the included strings plus diagonal wavy lines.


fingers bending stringsBy bending strings, you raise the pitch one semi step or whole step (in tablatures this is indicated by an arrow plus "1/2" or "Full", you may also see "3/4"), depending on how much you bend. In most cases, you bend one of the three highest strings (G, B or E).

A tip is to take help secondary fingers instead of only using one. Bends are very common in solo playing and all sorts of licks. The technique is common in rock, heavy metal and blues to name a few styles. It gives notes more sustain and expression.

Pre bend

This is the same as a bend except that you pick then you already have bent the string. In other words: first bend, then pick and release (this technique is sometimes called release bend).

More techniques with exercises in pdf-format can be found in the The Guitar Exercises ebook .

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