This is a breakdown of attack, sustain and muting techniques for the left and right hands.
On the guitar, the left hand is used to either sustain or mute the strings. The right hand is used to either attack the strings (cause them to vibrate), or to mute the strings.
Positioning your fingers
Open Chords and Scales: The left-
Barre Chords and Movable Chords: You can set your fingers flat against the neck to cover 2 or more strings. With barre chords, the index finger is set flat across the strings, while you make shapes with the other three fingers. There are conditioning steps to get you comfortable with barre chords.
Sustain Techniques for the Left Hand
• Hammer (on) –
• Pull (off) –
• String Bend (up) –
• String Release (down) –
• Vibrato –
• Slide Up –
• Slide Down –
Muting Techniques for the Left Hand
• Lifting your finger(s) off the frets
• Touching string(s) lightly –
Attack Techniques for Right Hand
• Pick Stroke Down – use a flat pick (or thumb) to pick downward from the ‘top’ of the string
• Pick Stroke Up –
• Alternate Pick –
• Rest Stroke – the pick (or finger) rests on the string before the attack – this means that the pick doesn’t change direction for the attack
• Free Stroke – the pick (or finger) does not rest on the string before the attack – opposite of a rest stroke – the pick may change direction for the attack
• Sweep Picking –
• Tapping Notes – using fingers of the right hand (or the pick) to play hammers and pulls; either in front of the left hand, or behind the left – usually alternating with hammers and pulls in the left hand
Muting Techniques for Right Hand
The first three techniques are mostly for single lines.
• With the thumb –
• With the ‘free’ fingers –
• With the pick –
• With the side of the hand – used for muting both single lines and chords
List of Guitar Techniques
Copyright 2000 by Greg Varhaug. All Rights Reserved.