My very first time picking up a electric guitar and i am confused as to how to play with just my right hand, the first link below is the tabs i am learning from, with me confuse about the first few notes which to my understanding means pluck two strings at the same time, however on the second video that person flicks her hand around almost seems like shes just gliding her hand all over the strings at once.

What style is she using to accurately and smoothly pluck the required strings without touching the other strings caught in the middle?

First Video (Skip to 0:54):

Second Video (Skip to 0:13):

2 Answers 2


Wow - that is a fairly complicated song for someone picking up an electric guitar for the first time! I admire your penchant for a challenge! But I think you might want to start with some easier songs to play and work your way up to that one.

It is likely that the guitarist in the video is muting the unplayed strings by lightly touching them with one of her fingers. In the second video you can see her reaching over the top of the fretboard with her thumb to mute the bass strings so she can strum all six strings with a steady up and down strumming pattern but only play the top four or five or middle four strings.

In some cases she may be muting certain strings with one of the other fretting fingers by angling her finger to allow it to lightly touch and thus mute the strings that are not to be played. In some cases it may be a non fretting finger or the edge of her hand that might be muting certain strings (such as the first skinniest string most often tuned to high e).

With practice you will learn to strum and intentionally miss the 6th string or the 6th and 5th string. It comes with a great deal of practice. But if you can learn to mute the strings that are not to be played, you will eliminate the chance you might accidentally hit a string that is not supposed to be played. If you can't comfortably reach around with your thumb, you can use the tip of your index (pointer) finger to mute the bass string.

It's not shown in your linked video, but another technique for playing two non adjacent strings simultaneously is to pluck them at the same time using your thumb and middle or index finger. You can also do this with a pick and your middle finger. This is sometimes referred to as a "pinch".

Don't be discouraged if you can't do any of the foregoing right away. It takes a great deal of intentional practice to master these string muting techniques. While you are practicing those, try learning some songs with some basic chords that don't require so much string missing and muting.

Good luck and have fun on your journey towards becoming a great guitarist.

  • I think my second song I started learning was "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yeah, that was a little... ambitious. It was only about two years later when I could actually make it all the way through the song, having learned several other much easier songs ("Wild Thing", for example) in the meantime. To this, day, I still can't do complete justice to "Under the Bridge", but you know, not being able to perfectly imitate John Frusciante isn't keeping me up at night. Jan 13, 2016 at 21:11
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    @ToddWilcox there are some licks in some songs that I have been working on for years hoping to master them. One day ........ Jan 14, 2016 at 3:51
  • I learnt by trying to play Hotel California. I'd practice all the normal basic beginner stuff and then every now and then go back and try to play it. It was actually quite motivating to see how the whole song got slightly easier each time. Put all the sloggy strumming / chord transition practice into context. Can't play it for toffee now, but it did keep me enthused at the time. Jan 15, 2016 at 15:35
  • @Whelkaholism I can relate. Some songs I gave up on but later revisited after improving my abilities and found new hope. I have heard more than one accomplished guitarist say they started with an ambition to learn one cool guitar song (such as Stairway To Heaven or Blackbird) and that was their driving motivating force. Jan 15, 2016 at 19:40

The first notes is something I would call octave chord or something like this, sorry, I don't know the correct english name for it.

You play it like a normal powerchord, which means you put your index finger at the 7th string of the a string and the ring finger on the 9th string on the g string. But as shown in the tabs, you don't wan't to play the d string in this chord. To do that, you dampen this string with your index fingerwhile pressing the 7th string. Try to lay your finger firmly on the d string, so that it can't swing. Then you can strum the chord like any other chord, but try to hit only the a, d and g string. That way you can play that kind of chord quite easily. It takes a bit of practice to find out the right amount of pressure you have to apply and the position of your finger, but it shouldn't take to long. Nothing impossible =)

  • Most guitarists just call them "octaves" and in this style assume this technique you described.
    – user6164
    Jan 15, 2016 at 4:52
  • Ahh, nice to know. Thank you. The german word for it is "Oktavgriff" which basically means that you grab an octave =) Jan 15, 2016 at 8:51

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