I’m playing guitar 3 years and I learned a lot of chords and make my playing clean etc How can I play a song pop in different way? For example if my song is F#m key and the chords are F#m, A, C#m, B How can I play it without strumming or picking? How can I make my playing interesting? Sometimes I play mute notes but is still on the chord shapes

  • 2
    Do you mean playing an instrumental version of a song on a guitar only, or playing guitar together with voice? Or with other instruments (bass, drums?) as well? Jul 13, 2020 at 23:38
  • Play percussively, and use the guitar as a percussion instrument, too? Otherwise, with guitar, I think it's either pick or strum.
    – Tim
    Jul 14, 2020 at 6:58
  • I mean play with the original song, today if I play with original songs all I do is strumming the chords, mute notes, and fingerpicking Jul 14, 2020 at 8:39
  • Take out notes from chords and use chord extensions. I play monophonic instruments and try to focus on the 3rd and the 7th when improvising. If your question is about technique, tapping and tremolo-picking could spice things up. You can also "anticipate" a chord before it's meant to be played.
    – Pyromonk
    Jul 14, 2020 at 13:41
  • Here's an example what I mean "without chords" youtube.com/watch?v=N73mg6afct4 Aug 14, 2020 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


It sounds to me like you might be interested in furthering your musical studies by learning about arpeggios, then scales and fingering patterns, and after that maybe studying modes and they way they may be used when improvising a lead part. There are also techniques such as hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides, and vibrato, and string bending to add expression to your playing style. One widely recognized trick to expanding your skills on guitar is to join a band and play with others. It will probably give you a chance to learn from others and give you some ideas that you can adopt for yourself. Another trick is to attend open mikes and jam sessions and pay attention to what others are doing, it is a great way to learn. Also, more than a few players search the internet and find info on techniques to use to make their music stand out. Of course there are also method books, some beginning, while others can be quite advanced, you can find some that are at your level and work through them. The most effective for me has been to use all of these sources of information and any thing else that is available in combination with an instructor to move to the next level of playing for yourself.


@skinny peacock provided you list of techniques you can use to develop your musicianship.

Another direction you can go (in parallel) is to try learn what the instruments are playing in the original song and try to mimic that. It will be the easiest if the song features guitars, but you can try to play another instrument parts as well.

If it is too difficult for you to learn by ear (which may well be when you're a beginner), you can search for "tabs" (tabulatures) in the internet. Even though tabs are frequently criticized for being inaccurate, they may give you many good ideas.

Another resource are video covers of the songs. You can find many guitar arrangements for popular songs, and it is often easier to see the fingers of the guitarists in cover videos. Often the cover arrangements are also simplified and easier than the original.

You can find lessons on how to play some songs. Check this lesson for Michael Jackson's "Black or White":

I think it should be easy to follow even for a beginner.

Finally, it might be a good idea to take guitar lessons. A good teacher will both help you to learn a particular song, as well as provide advice on what you should work on.

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