Best Guitar Techniques

A list of the best guitar techniques used by guitarists all over the world.

The Top Ten

1 Tapping

Eddie can Halen has proved it

I don't think its objective that sweep picking is better than tapping. I mean all of these techniques are great. One could say that vibrato is the best technique. But for me both tapping and sweep picking are great. Tapping kinda sounds like emotional/crying to me. While sweep picking kinda sounds like some fighting/running, I mean fast paced. - zxm

Including the visitor's comment, "Eruption" is tapping.". Yes, Eruption is tapping. But doesn't mean it can't be shredding. What he did was shredding. How he did was tapping. Its just another example of shredding. The rapid tapping licks was a prominent part of the solo. - zxm

Popularized by Eddie Van Halen in the 1970s, tapping is one of the most widely used guitar techniques in the world today. Its being used in blues, rock, metal, etc. - winner333

Tapping is mostly used in rock and metal. Not much in blues though. - zxm

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2 Vibrato

Some of the best guitars (Jimi, Eric, etc.) used relatively little tapping or sweeping. Vibrato is pervasive and is constrained to no genre.

Vibrato should definitely be #1. All of those shred heads are choosing sweeps and tapping. I like sweeps and taps, but the vibrato and bends are the best and most important techniques in guitar because not only you can play good, but you can also add soul to your playing. You don't have to tap or sweep to be a better player than the other who doesn't use taps.

This is by far the most essential guitar technique as far as playing melodically goes, gives the note a living and vocal quality. Without a properly developed vibrato all other lead guitar techniques are irrelevant.

Used by almost every professional guitarist in the world, vibrato is a popular technique which produces a vibrating sound of a note. - winner333

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3 Hammer Ons and Pull Offs

I didn't want to repeat. But yes. Two of these should be separated. Its just hammer on and pull off that comes one after. But two of them are different techniques. Opposite techniques. Actually used to create more/different sounds from the notes. - zxm

Yeah, I agree they should be separated too. Hammer On's are useful for playing a lot faster, instead of picking all the time. Pull Off's too can be used for playing more fast. - BrianScott01

Mainly used in metal and rock solos for fast guitar playing. It is used by many metal guitarist such as Kirk Hammet, Dave Mustaine, etc. - winner333

They should be separate techniques. - gemcloben

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4 Sweep Picking

A very, and in my opinion (from experience), the most difficult technique to learn and one of the most versatile. From simple single string transitions (a term I use to describe it I don't know the actual term) and used in jazz to quick shredding in rock. Learning this skill was not only a task, but helped me more fully understand a lot of musical theory.

Not only audibly and visually pleasing, it takes a certain amount of skill to not 'eat' the notes with right hand technique. Extremely hard to master, with many shapes to learn, (did I mention that it is RIDICULOUSLY hard to integrate into a solo? ), it is the most impressive thing for a guitarist to master.

Sweep Picking is so dam* difficult. I tried it once. I couldn't do it. The pick gets stuck between the strings. - zxm

The best. I can't get enough of that fluid sound resembling running water, waterfalls... - Metal_Treasure

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5 String Bends

Where would blues, rock and even metal for that matter be without the humble string bend?!

Including blues, rock and metal. I have also seen it in country songs. - zxm

Which makes a guitar cry

6 Sliding

I love this technique. - JoLeKosovo

The most common and effective technique used in guitar playing. It involves the sliding of the fingers on the fret board on string. - winner333

7 Palm Mute

The palm mute is a playing technique for guitar and bass guitar, executed by placing the side of the picking hand below the little finger across the strings to be plucked, very close to the bridge, and then plucking the strings while the damping is in effect. This produces a muted sound. It was popularized by Black Sabbath in the song "Paranoid". - winner333

For rhythm guitar, especially in thrash, this is essential. - gemcloben

Tapping and shredding? LOL!

8 Dive Bomb

Dive bomb is a guitar technique in which the tremolo bar is used to rapidly lower the pitch of a note, creating a sound considered to be similar to a bomb dropping. One of the most recognized pioneers of this technique is Jimi Hendrix. Other notable musicians who are widely known for using this technique are Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani. - winner333

Just hear to dimebag´┐Ż's divebombs. They simply bloq you away

9 Finger Picking

Tommy Emmanuel. - zxm

10 Tremolo Picking

The Contenders

11 Pinch Harmonics

It is a popular technique in which the player's thumb or index finger on the picking hand slightly catches the string after it is picked, canceling the fundamental of the string, and letting one of the overtones dominate. It is used by popular guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani who utilize the tremolo arm and high gain amps together with the pinch harmonic to produce horse-like wails from the instrument. - winner333

Yes! They are great! - gemcloben

12 Alternate Picking

I agree with the guy who said, alternate picking is the basic technique. Yes, it does give control over individual notes. It can have arpeggios like sweep picking. Which is also good as sweep picking if played properly. Like Yngrwie Malmsteen or Michael Angelo Batio. - zxm

Alternate picking should be higher than palm muting. - zxm

This techneque is related to sweep picking as it is a way of sweeping if you get good enough to go fast and switch between the two.

This list is called "best guitar techniques" not hardest guitar techniques, people are looking at some of more shreddy elements first, but many other things are far more important. I think alternate picking is one of the most important because it is the technique that truly gives you control over individual notes (not chords). It is commonly used in both rhythm and lead guitar unlike sweep picking which is only used by shreddicus maximus/l0rd 5hr3dd0rz. All these techniques are important but think of some more basic techniques first.

13 Toque
14 Shredding

This literally is the stupidest list based on guitar I have ever seen on this website.

1) Shredding is not a technique, it's just the slang word for playing quickly. "Eruption" is tapping.
2) Tapping should not be in the number 1 slot. Please don't vote if you don't play guitar.
3) Hammer-ons and pull-offs should be two dofferent technique, because even though they are easy to use together, they are not the same

It's the most common technique used in heavy metal and is difficult to master. It was brought into the mainstream by Ulrich Roth of the Scorpions and was then used by Eddie Van Halen in his popular solo "Eruption". It involves extremely fast guitar playing with precision of notes. - winner333

Ulrich Roth didn't invent/bring it. Jimmy Page's heartbreaker and Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child were quite influential. Even though those weren't pure shredding. - zxm

Not really a technique. It consists of various fast playing techniques. Different guitarists shred differently. - zxm

This is just slang - gemcloben

15 Volume Swell

The technique is often executed by the little finger of the guitarist which is wrapped around the volume pot of the guitar. When the note is struck the volume is increased from zero by a rolling motion of the little finger. Alternatively, the effect is achieved with a volume pedal. It is sometimes called "violining", because the sound is similar to a bowed violin. Allan Holdsworth pioneered the technique of the pedal swelling along with a delay unit to create a thicker sound that is more associated with the cello. - winner333

16 Artificial Harmonic

Where you play the notes with your left hand and place your index finger (right hand) lightly on the string an octave above and play the string with your ring finger at the same time

17 Whammy Bar

Is whammy bar a technique or a style/mode? - zxm

18 Three Finger Picking

This technique can be played in different patterns.
For Example: 1-2-3-1-2-3
I preferably use the 1-2-3 pattern to get high speeds

19 Double Thumb/Pluck

This technique is achieved by slapping the string with a down and up motion (Like when alternate picking). Then once you've done that immediately follow through with a pluck.
You could also add in two plucks with your index and middle fingers.
Double Thumb + Index Finger Pluck + Middle Finger Pluck
Check out Victor Wooten for some tips

20 Hybrid Picking

It's not on here but should be. Its like arming yourself with a few extra picks and then taking your playing speed to a new level. Very difficult to learn but when the effort has been put in, you will use it for everything!

21 Toggle Switching

A similar technique of this is the pick-up switches. Which can be done on many guitar like stratocaster. - zxm

A famous technique used mostly on Les Paul models. Rock artists like Randy Rhoads use it.

22 Legato

It is a technical which is used in solo playing. it is a combination of pull off and hammering. it is used used by players like mark tremonti and slash any many others.

23 Double Thump Slap

I have seen this mostly in bass guitar. - zxm

Victor Wooten masters this technique

24 Scratching and Muting

Its also the best technique in guitar

25 Spider Chords

Was invented by Dave mustaine to use all four fingers to change chords without noise and silence between changing the chords on different strings

26 Slapping

Especially on the face

27 Thumb Picking

It's a part of fingerstyle guitar. When you pick the notes with your thumb. - zxm

28 String Skipping
29 Toe Scratching


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