For questions about guitar playing in general. For questions specifically about solid-body electric guitars, see "electric-guitar". For questions specifically about acoustic guitars with or without pickup systems, see "acoustic-guitar".

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19
votes
10answers
3k views

How to do “metal” harmonics (pinch etc)

I've always struggled with this, tried watching Youtube tutorials, but can't get it to work. Should you hold the pick in any particular way? I've always held my picks with three fingers, for ...
19
votes
7answers
14k views

Improving fretting hand strength

I've been playing for years now as a hobby guitarist, but my fretting hand strength plateaued - it never really improved much beyond what I could do 2 months after I started playing. Since then, I'm ...
19
votes
7answers
6k views

Memorizing notes on guitar fretboard

I have 2 questions, which are somehow interrelated. Learning which-note-corresponds-to-which-fret-position was told to me as an extremely important task for any guitarist who want to get better at ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Properly fingering jazz chords?

I've seen these come up in a few places (Crazy Train and a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs come to mind offhand), however I've never figured how to work them in fluidly;the fingerings always seem ...
19
votes
6answers
11k views

How to play chords like G/B

I heard that if there is a chord written like x/y then that means an x chord with y in the bass. This can be played by playing x normally, but then playing the y note on the 6th string, correct? Then ...
18
votes
16answers
6k views

X or Y guitarist doesn't know music theory - how true is this statement?

We've all heard a statement similar to the following: X didn't / doesn't know any music theory and is one of the all time greats replacing X with a famous guitarist. Being a novice, I am ...
18
votes
8answers
22k views

What chord is formed by the open strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning?

Here is something that I have been wondering about for a while: If you strum all six strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning what chord would you play? I think it would be some variety of a ...
18
votes
5answers
45k views

What is the first scale one should learn on guitar

The title really sums it all up but I'll try expand it slightly. Lets say I'm learning guitar and would like to improve my guitar work. Which of the scales should I learn first and why?
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do frets get closer as the notes get higher?

Why do spaces between guitar frets get smaller as the notes get higher?
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Becoming a good guitar teacher

I am thinking of starting guitar teaching and, of course, I am aiming to become a good guitar teacher. I don't think it will happen in the near future, because I don't have enough skill level yet, but ...
18
votes
7answers
9k views

How to hide a flat pick in the right hand when switching to finger picking, Warren Haynes style

Watch any Warren Haynes video on YouTube and you'll notice that he often likes to mix it up and play solos with a pick but mid-way switch to using his fingers. ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Mental approach to improvisation

Improvisation for guitar is a fairly well-covered topic, with good resources to be found within multiple contexts (Web, traditional literature, etc). However, most of what I've read is basically ...
18
votes
3answers
21k views

What is the difference between Overdrive and Distortion?

What's the difference? They sound vaguely similar to me and I can't tell a distinct difference sound wise. What is the difference in tone, harmonics, etc.? Are they the same? Which one is better and ...
18
votes
4answers
99k views

How does string gauge affect a guitar's sound and playability?

Guitar strings are available in a variety of gauges. What effect does my choice of string gauge have on the sound of my guitar? What effect does it have on playability?
18
votes
7answers
11k views

Pick weight - functional difference, or just personal preference?

I'm at the very beginning of learning to play guitar, and I recently needed to buy some more picks. This was more complex than I was expecting, since there are apparently many different weights of ...
17
votes
8answers
9k views

Should I look at the fretboard while I play guitar?

Is it a bad thing to constantly look at the frets while playing? Sometimes I find myself curved over a body of the guitar so much that my neck starts to hurt. It seems that some experienced players ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

When tuning a guitar, how should I strike the strings?

When tuning a guitar, what is the best way to strike a string to get it as close to pitch as possible? I'd like to get it as close to the right pitch as I possibly can. I've noticed with my tuner ...
17
votes
7answers
17k views

How can I minimize going out of tune when using the whammy bar?

Perhaps my selection of musicians is biased, but usually when I see a whammy bar used, it's usually with a locking tremolo bridge like a Floyd Rose. Everybody else seems to take the whammy bar out and ...
17
votes
8answers
11k views

What are some techniques to control feedback in a musical setting?

I was always intrigued with the way Ted Nugent/Adrian Belew/Jeff Beck/Jimi Hendrix/SRV were able to control feedback and make it musical - are there guitar/amp settings and techniques that can make ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Selling my guitar

I want to sell a guitar, but I would like to know: Where are good places to sell a guitar? Online? Guitar stores? What is a good way to work out the value of the guitar?
17
votes
2answers
13k views

What is concert pitch?

I was watching a song video lesson earlier today and it mentioned that the guitar should be tuned to concert pitch. What does that mean? Is it different from the normal EADGBE tuning?
17
votes
9answers
26k views

How to bend and release without flicking the other strings?

I'm trying to bend up then back down on the G string (so it plays both notes, I'm not muting the bend back down to G) but I always catch my fingernail on the D string. So when I let the bend back ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How to begin learning the CAGED Method

What is the best way of approaching the CAGED Method. What are some good resources for beginning to learn this method.
16
votes
8answers
3k views

Are there any benefits of using a Capo?

What is the benefit of using a Capo versus just playing in a different key without one? In other words, why not just transpose the song and play it in the desired key without the capo?
16
votes
7answers
11k views

What are the objective differences between the guitar and the piano?

The guitar and the piano are two of the most popular instruments which allow multiple notes to be played simultaneously. The acoustic quality of the two instruments are, of course, different, but ...
16
votes
9answers
7k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Symbols “M”, “C”, “D”, and “P” in Guitar Tablature

I was reading a songbook by Richie Kotzen, and in the song "Shine" (which he played with Mr. Big), there's a rythm guitar part that goes like this: What do the symbols M, C, D and P mean? I'm ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are guitars strung low-to-high?

Why not the high E at the top and the low E bottom? I haven't even heard of an alternate tuning that's similar. Is there a reason for this?
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...
16
votes
3answers
604 views

How can I move beyond learning songs?

I can competently learn and play chord progressions and simple runs on the guitar but I do not feel like I understand the instrument. My playing progresses by memorizing songs. However, I know that ...
16
votes
5answers
15k views

How do I choose my first guitar for self-learning?

Let's say I've never played the guitar, or I've only learned to pluck a string and play a chord but have forgotten most of it. Now, I've become interested and would like to try it out. I don't want to ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Alternate picking vs down picking

When I see professional musicians play their songs on guitar, I see them down picking certain parts where I would prefer to alternate pick. Follow the url below to a riff that I play first using ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Where does picking speed come from? Forearm, hand, or bicep?

Where specifically on the arm/hand should rapid picking speed come from?
16
votes
3answers
21k views

What's a good strategy for adjusting pole pieces?

One thing I fiddled with for a short bit once upon a time is adjusting the pole pieces on my Humbucker/P-90 equipped guitars. As a matter of fact, doing just that was the only way I could get my P-90 ...
16
votes
6answers
5k views

How do Pre War Martin Guitars Differ From Modern Ones?

Pre-war Martin guitars are revered because of their sound. What differences are there between the construction of pre-war Martin guitars, and Martin guitars made now. And are there any companies ...
15
votes
11answers
54k views

How can I toughen up my fingertips?

Recently I played my acoustic guitar after a couple months of only playing my classical guitar. My fingers have softened considerably compared to when I was playing the acoustic regularly, and it was ...
15
votes
7answers
613 views

Is it necessary to learn the names of fret notes?

I know the names of the notes up to about the fifth fret on each string. I play from sheet music occasionally, but mostly from tabs - so is it necessary to learn the names of the notes for each fret ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

Standing up acoustic guitar playing position for women

It goes without saying that women typically have different body types than men and this fact often never gets addressed when guitarists are speaking on how to position a guitar when standing up. It ...
15
votes
7answers
22k views

Guitar chords high on the neck

Apologies, this is an incredibly vague question, but any help would be appreciated. When watching skilled acoustic guitar players, I regularly see them playing chords high on the guitar neck (ie ...
15
votes
9answers
16k views

Why do electric guitars have narrow necks?

It seems that electric guitars (and possibly also acoustic steel-string) have narrower necks than nylon-string ones. The strings are more close together (not sure whether this is the cause or a ...
15
votes
9answers
6k views

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop callouses?

This is a common problem and solving it will ultimately lead to a much higher success rate for beginning guitar students. So I wanted to share the information here on Music and Theory. Many of my ...
15
votes
5answers
40k views

How to identify the guitar chords of a song

What's the best technique to identify the guitar chords of a song? I know the basic chords and also how to get into the rhythm of a song! But I'll always be spending huge amount of time to identify ...
15
votes
8answers
29k views

Why does my thumb hurt when I play bar chords?

Certain chords cause my thumb to be sore. How can I play in a way to prevent this?
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the following chord progression sound good?

Dmaj Emaj and Bmaj I have looked up the chord progressions of all major and minor scale keys and these three don't fit in any of them?
15
votes
1answer
5k views

What do the 2 “push/pull” knobs on my guitar do?

I have a Dean electric guitar (couldn't find it on their website, sorry) with a 3 position switch, 2 knobs, and 2 double humbuckers. I know what the switch does, but am confused about the knobs. I am ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Basic Punk Rhythm Guitar--Snare Feels Like Down Beat

I'm a pretty good guitarist, and I can play some tricky rhythms (weird time signatures, syncopation, some of the easier djent stuff) but I've always had trouble when my drummer starts to play anything ...
14
votes
6answers
17k views

What should a guitarist learn first: Rhythm or Lead?

It is a slightly subjective question, however, there is, I'm sure, a common consensus as to what lends itself better to a beginner so as not to get frustrated with the instrument. I'm curious as to ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

Will hanging a guitar by its headstock damage it?

I like to leave my guitars out, otherwise I don't play them. I have a couple of wall hangings and stands all over the place too. Will hanging a guitar from the wall damage it at all? Warp the neck? ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a string skipping exercise?

What is a string skipping exercise? I've heard about this exercise a lot, including on this website. What is it? What skills does it develop? Can you give an example?
14
votes
7answers
6k views

What determines how hard it is to press a guitar string?

When playing on different steel string acoustic guitars over the years, i noticed a huge difference in how hard it was to press down a string. This made me wonder why. There are two obvious factors ...