Questions tagged [technique]

For questions about ways to use one's instrument or voice precisely to produce a desired musical effect.

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85 votes
8 answers
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Ten Minute Practice Techniques For Guitar?

Unfortunately, I can't play every day. However, I am trying to practice at least 5-10 minutes here and there. What are some good theory or scale techniques/practice methods I should have ready to ...
Jason W's user avatar
  • 1,255
69 votes
24 answers
246k views

Best method to learn to play barre chords?

I've been trying to learn the F chord for a while now, and I am having a very hard time playing the barre chord. I've read that pulling back slightly with your finger and using the body of the guitar ...
user avatar
39 votes
12 answers
119k views

What is the definition of 'playing in the pocket'?

The phrase 'playing in the pocket' is used sometimes, in jazz, hip hop, funk etc. It sometimes refers to the way a drummer plays, sometimes to how an ensemble works together. I've Googled the term, ...
Tim's user avatar
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37 votes
10 answers
9k views

It is ok to correct wrong notes when playing piano?

I am learning to play the piano on my own. When I play and I hear a mistake, I go back and play the correct note. Hearing the right note helps me find the next one. But I heard that you should ignore ...
zaz's user avatar
  • 693
37 votes
12 answers
35k views

Can I play pipe organ as a pianist?

I've never played pipe organ. I'm a pianist and a friend of mine ask me to play on the church on his wedding on a pipe organ. Are there enough difficulties playing a piano song on the pipe organ to ...
SysDragon's user avatar
  • 1,216
35 votes
10 answers
100k 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 ...
NotDan's user avatar
  • 451
33 votes
7 answers
38k views

How is this B flat guitar chord physically possible?

This chord diagram is from the GarageBand chord trainer (I'm a beginner). How is it possible to put a barre down on the third fret without also muting the top E string?
codecowboy's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
10k views

How can I be sure that I am singing effortlessly in my natural voice?

I have years of vocalization practice, but I still start straining while singing—especially if I am not vigilant. It happens imperceptibly and is a hard habit to break. Is there a reliable technique ...
explorer's user avatar
  • 859
29 votes
13 answers
33k views

Is "You shouldn't play all 6 strings together on an electric guitar" good teaching?

Someone I know who has been playing electric guitar for many years says this quite often, as a key difference between playing acoustic and electric guitar. He claims that even playing rhythm, you ...
Mr. Boy's user avatar
  • 9,910
29 votes
7 answers
13k views

Which fingering to use when playing the same piano key twice in a row?

I just started to learn piano, and I notice that practice sheet music for beginners sometimes specifies for all or some keys which fingers should hit them. It seems that some authors consistently ...
Ivan Kapitonov's user avatar
29 votes
9 answers
27k views

What are the ergonomic / playing 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 ...
netvope's user avatar
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29 votes
11 answers
13k views

"one finger per fret" - is it worth following this rule?

When I first got into guitar, I was given advice to follow a "one finger per fret" rule with the left hand. Basically, to fret notes with all four fingers, and to follow a pattern such that in any ...
asgeo1's user avatar
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28 votes
10 answers
34k views

What is the difference between upstrokes and downstrokes while strumming a guitar?

One of the most basic guitar skills are strumming up and down freely. And I have noticed in songs that there usually appears to be a difference in sounds between the two strokes. But when I'm ...
user avatar
28 votes
7 answers
128k 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?
gak's user avatar
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27 votes
11 answers
4k views

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

Are there any musical pieces that call for the musician to detune/retune the instrument, not in advance like a scordatura, but mid-performance? I think it would be a neat avant-garde concept—for ...
user3932000's user avatar
27 votes
15 answers
43k views

What are the pros and cons of Traditional Grip vs. Matched Grip for snare and drumset?

So far I've just been learning matched grip for my snare and drumset playing, but I see of lot of people using traditional grip as well. I'm curious, what are some of the pros and cons of matched vs. ...
Gordon Gustafson's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
10k views

How do I become better at "playing outside"?

One can spend an enormous amount of time playing melodies "in" the tonic. For example if you are in A major, you might favor A major or A lydian. However, there is a term called "...
piofusco's user avatar
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26 votes
14 answers
13k views

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

I own a guitar. I've owned it since I was about 13, but never really got into it because I was a spiteful teen who wanted to play the drums, and went out of my way to play the drums instead (to the ...
nostalgk's user avatar
  • 363
26 votes
7 answers
3k views

What are some of the components of a good guitar solo?

Putting aside the emotional value of listening to a great guitar solo, what are some of the criteria that can be applied to make an educated judgement as to the quality of a solo within the context of ...
user avatar
26 votes
7 answers
5k views

How to unlearn incorrect muscle memory

So I've been learning to play piano for a few months now. And there's this one, very easy piece, which I have absolutely no difficulties playing, except for. one. freaking. transition. which I somehow ...
Creynders's user avatar
  • 3,024
26 votes
8 answers
21k 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMxG90vP-...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,834
26 votes
10 answers
63k views

What is the difference between male head voice and falsetto?

What is the fundamental difference between head voice and falsetto in male singers? I think I know the answer, but I cannot be sure in its credibility, since all my self-researched knowledge comes ...
Th334's user avatar
  • 363
25 votes
10 answers
5k views

Why do many classical guitarists move the fingers for vibrato like a violin?

I have seen many videos where it looks like the guitarist is doing some vibrato and they make a rolling motion like in a violin, cello... How can this work in a fretted instrument? As an amateur in ...
nck's user avatar
  • 353
25 votes
8 answers
26k views

Where to rest your thumb when playing bass: Pickup vs. Strings vs. Thumbrests

I'm a beginning bass player with a couple months' lessons under my belt. I haven't gotten far along enough yet to solidify a playing style, so I'm still able to change my habits if I want to. I was ...
FAE's user avatar
  • 355
25 votes
10 answers
33k 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 ...
user avatar
24 votes
6 answers
10k views

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

Piano is not my main instrument, but I have always been taught that the same rhythms should always sound together. In other words, if both hands play on the downbeat of the measure, both hands should ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
24 votes
5 answers
25k views

What is the difference between 'martelé' and 'détaché' bowing?

As the title asks, I wish it could be clear to me. Can someone give me a good characterization? Do you produce them differently on a cello than on a violin or viola?
ogerard's user avatar
  • 8,814
24 votes
6 answers
38k 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 ...
user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
7k views

What are Head voice and Chest voice

Head voice and Chest voice were discussed in this question about natural voice, but despite singing in choirs for nearly 9 years I have never heard of them. Can someone provide a good description of ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
  • 36.9k
23 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why can't I whistle and hum different notes at the same time?

I can whistle and hum at the same time, by making the breath from my humming go out through lips formed into a whistling pucker. I've found that no matter how hard I try to do otherwise, whatever note ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
22 votes
12 answers
39k 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 ...
Silver Light's user avatar
  • 8,112
22 votes
10 answers
18k views

Why does music sound bad when played backwards?

I am not sure where to post this, but I hope it fits here. If you have ever recorded music, and play the track backwards, you'll notice it sounds quite strange, almost demonic. I have always ...
user avatar
22 votes
12 answers
36k 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 ...
user avatar
22 votes
8 answers
53k 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 ...
Adam Lear's user avatar
  • 2,262
22 votes
6 answers
3k views

Skills needed for classical guitar

I've been playing steel-string acoustic for 25+ years, and I'm becoming more interested in classical guitar playing. While I'm fairly good at fingerstyle, I'm aware that making the leap to classical/...
Goodbye Stack Exchange's user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to learn to play guitar with a slide?

I have always wanted to play guitar with a slide. How should I go about learning this skill?
bleakcabal's user avatar
  • 1,456
22 votes
7 answers
11k views

How to reliably execute a snare drum rimshot?

A standard snare drum rim shot, as I understand it, requires the stick to contact the drum head and rim simultaneously. I'm having trouble finding the appropriate angle (the majority of the time I ...
NReilingh's user avatar
  • 35.3k
21 votes
8 answers
16k views

How to stop distortion from making minor chords muddy?

I have a Roland/Boss GT3, which I use to get various distortion sounds. I like the sound for the most part, but I find that distorted sounds seem very ... "muddy" I guess would be the best way to ...
user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
4k views

Improving breath support

What are some exercises or tips to help singers improve their breath support?
rshallit's user avatar
  • 1,309
20 votes
8 answers
43k 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 ...
user avatar
20 votes
9 answers
31k views

When singing, how to avoid being distracted by vocal harmony or other vocal lines?

I'm not a professional singer but I love singing. I find it very difficult to focus on my own vocal line when I hear other vocal lines. For example, When I was in the college choir, I sang bass, and ...
netvope's user avatar
  • 925
20 votes
7 answers
8k views

How can I improve my piano accompaniments?

When I play piano or keyboards, I've noticed that I keep slipping into playing the same chords (and variations thereof, such as very simple bass lines) with my left hand while I use my right hand to ...
outofcaffeine's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does the manner in which you release a tone on the piano affect its sound?

Watch how, for instance, Valentina Lisitsa releases her final chord of Chopin's Op. 9, no. 2 by pulling her hands up from the keyboard. Such a lift isn't reserved for slower music; this even happens ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
20 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to learn to play 'out of phase' with yourself?

There's a Piano piece by Steve Reich called piano phase, in which the same notes are played on 2 pianos (usually by different people), but over time, they shift out of phase with each other. Here's ...
Alexander Troup's user avatar
19 votes
7 answers
9k 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 ...
Jess's user avatar
  • 193
19 votes
11 answers
5k views

Practice to avoid mistakes or practice to cover mistakes

I am having a debate with the drummer in my band. His view seems to be that it is inevitable that musicians will make mistakes so it is more important to practice recovering from mistakes than it is ...
Ralphonz's user avatar
  • 400
19 votes
7 answers
82k views

Is it normal for frequent guitar playing to be accompanied by wrist pain?

Is it normal for frequent guitar playing to be accompanied by wrist pain or is it something that is caused by poor posture/position and technique? I have been playing for several years now, and mostly ...
Klik's user avatar
  • 719
19 votes
5 answers
7k views

Was Bach the first to use thumbs on a keyboard?

This question reminded me of a claim that I've heard before, namely, that J. S. Bach was the first keyboardist to utilize the thumbs in his playing technique. I'm not sure where I've heard this, but ...
Caleb Hines's user avatar
  • 20.8k
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?

I've seen and attempted to play multiple songs on the piano that include chords that are tenths or sometimes even elevenths or twelfths (rarely), and these chords have four or five notes. If I were to ...
violetorigin's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
4k 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?
Silver Light's user avatar
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