> Rhythm > Electric
Electric Guitar Techniques
To put these electric guitar techniques to use, you need an amp or
effects pedal that can beef up your tone with some gain or distortion.
This is more a rock orientated lesson, as the other lessons in the
rhythm guitar section cover more general techniques.
Below are some "quick fix"
techniques that you can inject into your own riffs as and when you need.
Guitar Techniques - Open Position Powerchords
Open position chords are often
the first chords you
learn, but with distortion or gain, you'll find major or minor
chords (and their modifications) can sound kind of muddy. This is
because the note responsible for the chord being major or minor
(the 3rd) is not as harmonically stable as the other more
To get cleaner sounding, more
open chords you can use open power chords
that block out the 3rd.
Below are the
4 open position chords with the major or minor note omitted...
The X marks the blocked out string that would
be there for a regular major or minor chord. The result is smoother and
clearer sounding chord changes...
Floating chord shapes
Another common electric guitar technique is to start in a regular chord
shape and move part of that shape up (or down) the
If you start with an A power
chord, for example,
you can keep the open root note string of A the same while you move
part of the shape around and experiment with maybe just two strings up
Very simple, but effective,
and by grounding the
root note while you're moving around the fretboard, you're creating a
very different sounding progression to the usual moving everything in
You're free then to add some lead guitar fills within that key - good
if you're the only guitarist in the band or just practicing on your own!
Guitar Techniques - Mixing it Up
Rhythm guitar and rock aren't all about big power chords and chunky
riffs. You should also consider the use of single notes, single strings
to create a harmony through your progressions.
Simple lead guitar fills
between the chords can
act as melodic links between the chords.
Take a listen to the sample
below and take note of how the single string phrases
link up the powerchords...
So try and play around with
simple lead guitar fills to liven up your
riffs (and use alternate
picking for the single-string parts!). There aren't really
any "rules" for
that, apart from perhaps knowing your scales so it'll all fit into a
key. However, don't be afraid to venture outside regular scales - move
the fretboard and inject some interesting rhythms. The single string
add some "groove" as mini-interludes, just like in the example above.
Guitar Techniques - Double Stop Powerchords
This is crossing over into
lead guitar, but this style
of playing would be a useful addition to those fills we've been talking
The most basic chord possible,
a power chord,
consists of the root and fifth notes. If you barre your fingers
vertically across just two strings as shown in the diagram below, you
get a sharp, punchy playing effect that really compliments rock and
So you would almost play this like a lead guitar riff, using
all your fingers where necessary but fretting two strings instead of
Index and ring fingers are
most commonly used for such
riffs, you just have to make sure you don't hit 3 strings by accident
by learning to apply the right amount of fretting pressure.
More Intricate Playing Techniques
The examples above have all been very defined ways of playing, but
there are ways to get more intricate with your distorted riffs without
sounding like a wall of noise.
Arpeggios can be used (a
method of playing each note in a chord separately) and this will be
covered more in the lead
guitar section, but in the example below you'll see how simple
arpeggios can fit into a riff nicely.
The use of actual chords in that example is minimal.
Instead, to create a different musical effect we've used simple
arpeggios and one-string-at-a-time playing to get the harmony across.
Hope you had fun... and learned something!
So there are some classic electric guitar
techniques for you to
experiment around with. Hope you got something valuable out of this!
to Rhythm Guitar Lessons
Online Guitar Lessons