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Guitar Picking Techniques

There are quite a few guitar picking techniques to get different sounds out of a guitar.

You may not think it but picking controls your sound of your guitar as much as the material your guitar is made from and the pick-ups you might have on it.

If you play with your fingers they also effect the tone. You can use fingernails to play the strings or the tips of your fingers. Finger picks can also be used but they are mainly for steel guitar players

You can also use a pick with fingers in certain playing situations giving you yet another way to control your tone.

Plectrum or Pick Style

The main advantage of using a pick is for speed. It also makes it possible to play louder than with fingers which is good for Rock music.

The notes have a more treble sound than using fingers.

The pick can also be used for the tapping technique giving a different tone than the fingers.

This alternate picking page is very important for all your guitar picking.

This is where you play one note on the down stroke and the next on the up-stroke, over and over.

This way of picking is essential for fast single note playing.

Here is a link to a page with more on alternate picking.

Alternate Picking

Tremelo Picking

This is the alternate picking in a very fast pace. It can be used on more than one string. Stevie Ray Vaughn used this picking style on a couple of his slower songs.

This style of picking was popular in guitar instrumentals during the 50’s and early 60’s.

A tremelo used to be an effect on guitar amps years ago that made the sound go kind of back and forth, much like talking through a window fan when you were a kid. Tremelo and Reverb were the only effects available back then.

Tremolo Picking

Sweep Picking

Sweep picking is playing a chord or arpeggio fast in a downward or upward motion but making each note sound individual and not like a chord.

This requires some very controlled muscle co-ordination to be done right. Don’t just rake across the strings because that isn’t the same. That is another technique that uses muted strings for an effect.

Sweep picking is one of the guitar picking techniques that makes it possible to play very fast clean Melodic lines like Al Di Meola does.

This technique is usually combined with alternate picking so it’s essential to practice both.

Sweep Picking

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