5 rare guitar techniques just for fun

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1 – Picking hand bending (0:19)

Not ultra rare technique but something pretty cool for people who prefer fixed bridges but still want to do some whammy bar tricks. I think Zakk Wylde does something similar so you might want to check out his technique if you like this.

2 – Playing harmonics by resting a finger on top of a string (1:23)

There’s a pretty common trick where you play a repetitive legato pattern and slide your finger/palm/wiener along the string to get different harmonics. This is exactly that but instead of playing harmonics randomly the finger rests on a string and the fretting hand plays legato patterns to bring out specific harmonics.

In the video I rest my finger on the 12th fret and play a legato pattern using the open string (12 frets below the resting finger), the 5th fret (7 frets below) and the 7th fret (5 frets below).

I usually use the index finger of my picking hand for the harmonic and mute the other strings with other fingers. Sometimes when I change from one string to another I rest a different finger on each string and move them along the string so that the other one is always muted (2:15). This helps to keep it clean.

Pretty cool for spicing up your tapping runs too (2:33). That’s what I mainly use it for.

3 – Picking and tapping combined (2:35)

This is for those of you who don’t mind playing dirty (well at least I can’t seem to be able to play it clean..) The dull corner of the pick frets the string on every stroke and everytime the pick is past the string the note fretted normally is ringing. So with one down-up motion you’ll get four notes.

I’m sure there are people who use this technique but there’s not a whole lot of examples so if you know one, let me know. I’d very much like to hear how people use it.

By the way, if you practise this and your wrist is angled like mine in the video and you clench the pick hard like me, be careful not to hurt yourself. Don’t do it for too long.

4 – Dissonant wobbly sounds using slip harmonics (3:34)

Not sure if this impresses normal people but for someone who has been playing a long time this can be almost like a guitar magic trick. Play a natural harmonic and instead of lifting your finger up, slip it behind the fret. This allows you to bend harmonics. Do this with a natural harmonic also ringing and you’ll get some perfectly awful dissonant wobbly sounds. Do this with the right notes and the beat frequency ends up sounding like an extra note, that goes down while you are bending up (3:55) and vice versa. In the video I’m playing a natural harmonic on 4th string 5th fret and a slip harmonic on 1st string 7th fret. (BTW, you can do this with generated sine waves too if this phenomenon is something you are interested in).

I’d really like to see someone master this type of playing. I think there might be some unique sounds hidden in there somewhere.

I originally learned slip harmonics from this video (thanks fatback2!):
Go check it out, I use the technique for weird dissonant stuff but he actually makes it sound good.

5 – Playing with a drumstick (4:16)

Of these five tricks, this is the one I use the most. Learned this idea originally from a Johnny “Guitar” Watson video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSBo1pmXvuw ). I mainly use it for screechy violin-like sounds in the background of songs. I even play melodies with it occasionally. Very horror movie-esque sound.

Sometimes I lift the string up so that it doesn’t hit the frets (4:36).

I especially enjoy the screechiness of the sound but if that’s something you don’t like, try using a slide in a similar manner.

People have asked about the sound so I’ll just explain it here. The most important thing for that spooky sound is a massive reverb. Basically you should get close using an EQ and almost any decent VST reverb (and of course a good distortion sound from a guitar amp). ..and obviously you have to play spooky 😉

So that’s really all you need but to go in detail..
The one that sounds like a theremin or an opera singer at 4:36 and the police siren sound is just EQ and a convolution reverb “Cavern” IR of Samplicity’s Bricasti M7 Impulse Response Library ( http://www.samplicity.com/bricasti-m7-impulse-responses/ ).

For the “air-horn sound” I used a pitch-shifter, EQ, some added digital distortion, delay and some typical VST reverb.

The first one (4:16) had also a Waves Enigma plugin for modulation (the fast delay comes from that also).

The wah-wah stuff is just a Dunlop Cry Baby wah-wah pedal and my basic sound with a little bit of delay and reverb.

That’s it! If you have trouble with any of these techniques, just ask. If you know some other rare guitar tricks, let me know.

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