Guitar techniques…where do I start?

elderly man playing guitar

There are numerous ways one can play the guitar. As a beginner guitar player, the most common and easy technique for you would be strumming. 

This is where you hold your chord and strike all the strings, and you can do different ups and downs depending on the song. 

And vary this with how loud or quiet each strum.  

Going beyond that though, there is a whole world of guitar techniques we can work on.

Other guitar techniques include:

  • Fingerpicking 
  • Hammer-on
  • Hybrid Picking
  • Vibrato
  • Pull-offs
  • Legato
  • Bending
  • Thumb muting
  • Tapping
  • Harmonics
  • Scratching
  • Muting
  • Slapping 
  • Slides
  • Palm muting 
  • Percussion

And many more...

Does this list seem overwhelming? 

Where to start?

Maybe if you've been playing for awhile, you've already given most of these a good go. 

But there's a difference between knowing how to do them, and being able to pick them out of your tool box at any time. 

For beginners, this might be the first time you are seeing some of these names.

What we would recommend for beginners guitar players

How are you getting on with your strumming? I would make sure that you are doing okay with your strumming and keeping with the pulse of the music. 

Then I would have a look at the type of music you like and want to play on guitar. Maybe it's more acoustic fingerpicking, or maybe it's more rock and punk. 

The techniques that will be more relevant to you will stand out and I would start by practising those techniques on its own. This way, instead of copying just the song, you will be able to use that skill in other new songs that you like. 

What we would recommend for intermediate guitar players

I would write a list...

Write down all the techniques that you already know. Go through them, and see which ones you are really comfortable with and which guitar techniques you are less sure about. 

And then every time you across something new, add it to the list for you to practise in isolation. 

Soon you will have an array of guitar technique and tools at your disposal. 

You might find there are even sub-categories of certain techniques .

Eg. muting. 

You can use different fingers on your right and left hand to help you mute. 

So it's important to find out what works for you and the type of music you want to play. 

Do I need to learn all of these guitar techniques?

If you only want to play a certain type of music then now. But there are definitely several genres of music that require a high level of competency to be able to play. 

So I would assess what it is that you need and focus on those first. Going through your list and make sure you stay rounded with your practising. 

What if I'm worried about developing bad habits or not playing them right? 

That's a common reason why people will find a guitar teacher to help correct them and give them feedback. If you live in London and would like someone to guide you in the right direction. Learning the right guitar techniques for you to play music you like. Or making sure you aren't developing long term bad habits. 

Or even just making sure you are definitely learning what you need and haven't got any missing holes in your playing. Then get in touch with us below to find out more about our guitar lessons and how we can help you.