Help With Guitar: Part 1
Okay, as the title suggests, here are some handy things you should always remember for playing the guitar! A big thanks to Kenny for this lesson. Check this lesson out if you are a beginner or even an intermediate or advanced. You'd be suprised at the simple things some people forget!
Barre chords: Make a slight curve to your index finger and concentrate only on the strings you HAVE to push down for that chord. Also keep your barre finger as close to the respective fret as possible.
Harmonics: Play your bass E string open...this is called E, if your guitar is in tune : ).
Now gently lay a finger tip on the bass E string directly over the 12 fret. Don't press down on the string like you would do when actually playing it. This will take a little practice finding just the right place and pressure but find how to get the loudest note. Pluck the E string and exactly at the same time, or maybe a little after, take your finger off the 12th fret. You should hear something that sort of sounds like a chime. This "chime" will be one octave higher than when you played the string open and it is called the Second Harmonic. The note is still E.
Now apply the same light touch technique to the bass E string on the 5th fret. You will now hear another E "chime" higher yet.
Now lightly touch the bass E string on the 7th fret. You will hear a higher note B.
Experiment around on other frets. You'll find other chimes as well. Pretty cool, huh?
Do you notice anything else? Yes, the notes have less volume as you play higher & higher harmonics.
This technique can be applied to any string on the guitar.
Having trouble? Realize that your guitar is also a rhythm instrument. You're keeping time with the music at the same time you're strumming. When you're strumming the strings, keep time with the music like you're playing a wash board.
You don't always have to strum ALL the strings on every strum. Try an E major chord. Try hitting the bass string (down strum) then the higher strings on the second (down strum) and third (upward strum).
It will come with more practice.
Using plectrums: You may have seen a lot of guitarists on television, or maybe in real life using plectrums (or picks). It is a personal choice, but if you are doing lots of strumming then it is ideal. Also, if you're into the solo stuff, it can be good to use picks. The only way you can decide is to have a go!
Guitar Slides: Slides usually come in 2 basic materials, glass or metal. Choosing one material over another comes down to figuring out the sound and feel that is right for you. Glass slides have a mellow sound, but they are more fragile and can break. Metal slides are sturdy and produce a sharper sound.
It is best to play with the slide on the third or fourth finger of your left hand if you play right handed or wear it on the right hand if you play left handed. This will leave your other fingers free to play chords and leads. I've never tried one but I've seen ads in magazines for a slide that is open on one side so it can be rotated around and then you can use that finger to play in the regular fashion when the slide is not needed.
Try on a slide and test it on a guitar in the store before purchasing it to make sure it fits and you like the sound. This is hard to do because sometimes they are packaged up pretty tightly. If this is the case, ask the sales person to get you one out of the package.
More to come soon!