4 Amazing Guitar Tricks That Every Guitarist Must Know

guitar tricksThe guitar, probably the most expressive instrument in the world, has been around for centuries and is basically the instrument that singlehandedly shaped that all encompassing music we now refer to as Rock N’ Roll. Many names has been associated with this instrument like peas in a pod; guitar pioneers like Leo Fender, Les Paul, Francisco Tarrega to the virtuosos and guitar giants like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix… The list goes on and on even until today.

Of course, these people would not have been as successful if it we’re not for their masterful use of guitar tricks and techniques. Imagine, Clapton or Hendrix without the know-how of string bending and their genius in the art of guitar amplification. Without his guitar tapping wizardry and blazing hammer-ons, would Eddie Van Halen still be considered as one of the guitar gods of the past century? Learning the basics of guitar playing is just the first step if you want to really be a successful guitar slinger. When it comes to playing the guitar, forget about genre. Since this instrument transcends them all: Country, classical, jazz, pop, funk, rock n’ roll and everything else in between—even Rap and Hip-hop!

We’re going to talk about the fundamentals, tricks that should be familiar to any serious guitar player. Sure, you know all the chords! Sure, you know how to strum the six-string—well I got some news for you kid, chords can only get you so far! If you really serious about learning the craft, you need to learn the good stuff, the tasty bits… stuff that will get you noticed. These are the guitar tricks kid! Be sure to pay attention!

The Guitar Tricks: Your Arsenal

Power Chords

Power Chords – The life blood of guitar playing are the chords. Group of notes played together are the basis of songs. You have been learning chords since the day you decided to pick up the instrument. Now, let’s pick up the ante a little bit—to something that is considered as the building blocks of rock n roll, the power chords! What are they? From the word itself, these chords are no ordinary ones, they are chords with attitude.

Rock Chords

Power chords are part of rock guitar. In fact, they are the cornerstone of modern music. Music of today will not have that bombastic element and driving rhythm without the power chord. If you are certainly into guitar playing, guitar tricks like this, is a very important element. You’re going to be exposed to it all the time, in rock music most especially, where power chords are the trademark.

Things to Remember about Power Chords

Power is definitely a quality that is needed in properly executing a power chord. Most of them are composed only of two notes—root notes and fifths, so to be able to have these notes ring out, you will have to have a certain amount of force in hitting the strings with your picking or strumming hand.

Controlled Chaos

Power chords are guitar tricks that are not only limited with your strumming hand or right hand. The truth is, in playing power chords, both recklessness and control needs to work in unison for it to be successful. With the left hand, fingers need to press the right strings, and in just the right manner, progression and shapes, on the other hand, the right one should do exactly the opposite. Hitting the strings as hard as possible is the key here—so let her rip! Let your tone be as sloppy, as chunky and as angry as you want it to be!

Let it Flow

Playing power chords in never a clean-cut thing. Don’t focus too much on hitting only just the two notes (the root and the fifth). Do not be too concerned if you happen to hit some notes other than them—with power chords, ruggedness and feel is more important! Have fun with it!

Power Chord Masters

There is not one rock guitarist out there who does not use power chords! But some groups are known strictly for them.

  • The Ramones
  • The Who
  • Nirvana
  • Bush
  • Black Sabbath


Hammer-ons – One of the most essential guitar tricks that everybody has to learn. A hammer-on is a skill that will definitely add more facets and more range in your guitar playing. You cannot be called a great six-stringer without it. It can be used with both acoustic guitars and electric guitars.

Hammer-on: Description

A hammer-on is when you hit a string on the fretboard with your left hand without exactly picking it with your right. You do this by sounding out the string first using your picking hand and then hitting or hammering that same string with your fretting finger quick enough so as to create enough vibration to keep it ringing. You should be able to hear the tone change when the trick is done correctly. The opposite of the hammer-on is the pull off.

Things to Remember about Hammer-ons

Hammer-ons are important because it enables you to play fast without exactly picking all the notes with your right hand. Picking all the notes with your right hand will make your guitar playing sound cluttered, labored and sloppy whereas using hammer-ons together with pull offs will make your guitar playing more fluid.

It’s All About Speed

Speed is very important if you want to execute this guitar trick effectively. Hitting or hammering the string quickly is key here, because if you hit the string too slow, as soon as the finger touches it, it will mute the string. The string will not sound out.

The Pull-Off

Pull offs – The Hammer-on’s partner in crime. Taken from the word itself, the pull off is when you release your fingers from the string that you’re currently muting. It might sound easy but don’t let the name fool you! Pull offs are a little more challenging to execute than hammer-ons. Most pull offs are done after a hammer-on, this one-two punch combination is what guitar players call as Legato. They are skills used to make guitar players sound faster, more fluid and juggle more notes as possible.

Things to Remember about Pull 0ffs

When trying to execute this guitar trick, you will need to pluck the string that you are trying to pull off from on your left hand. You don’t just lift your finger from the string because it will not have enough momentum to sound properly. The sound that will be generated is going to be weak.

The Technique of the Pull-off

During pull off attempts, some guitar students instead of plucking the strings downwards on the fretboard, they accidentally bend the string instead. To counter this, one must just push the string downwards slightly when attempting a pull off and the finger before the finger that’s going to do the pull off, should be muting the other strings on the fretboard to prevent accidentally hitting or bending them.

Hammer-on and Pull 0ff Masters

  • Joe Satriani
  • Steve Vai
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Alan Holdsworth
  • Kirk Hammett
  • Eddie Van Halen

The Slide

Slide – Slide can either be of two things: A.) It can be the guitar trick or skill wherein you pick the note and then moving or “sliding” their finger to another fret in the fretboard. The other kind of slide is B.) A piece of glass, ceramic or metal used in guitar playing. This type of guitar playing is known as Slide guitar, and the sound generated using this technique is smooth, crystalline and almost magical.

Traditionally a Blues Techniques

It used to be strictly used in Blues especially Delta Blues popularized by Robert Johnson and Country music. Since this article is about guitar tricks, we will talk about the technique—which is divided into 2 kinds: the shift slide and the legato slide.

Shift and Legato Slide

Both making use of picking the note or string and then sliding it either down or up the fretboard. In shift slides, you’re going to pick the string or note twice, from the fret where you started to where you ended. In the legato variety, you only pick once, usually from the fret where you begun. If done correctly, you should hear the difference of the pitch as the finger goes from one fret to the other.

Things to Remember about Slides

Every time you attempt a slide on the fretboard, make sure to dig deeper against the string to ensure that the pressure of your finger will still be there upon reaching the other fret. If this is not done correctly, the string will not sound right or might not sound at all. This applies on both sliding up or down the fretboard.

No Pain, No Gain

Sliding up and down the fretboard may be kind of painful if you are just starting out with the guitar. Don’t worry though, with continuous practice, you will develop callouses on your fingers that will help and protect your fingers as you glide from one fret to the other. Practice makes perfect! It always boils down to the amount of time you spend honing the skill.

Slide Masters

  • Eric Clapton
  • Jimmy Page
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Duane Allman

Conclusion – Guitar Tricks

These are just four of the many tricks you can do on the guitar. You can never be another Clapton or Hendrix or Satriani, but who can right? Develop these skills and maybe you can even be greater than them. The most important part of learning a new skill is the first few steps, the fundamentals! You get that down pat, and everything will just fall into place and will just improve or strengthen what is already learned.

For more tips and tricks, be sure to check Jamplay.com–Where you can learn more skills that you can use to complete your guitar playbook. They have instructional videos, chord shapes, tablatures and instructors online that can help you get to the next level of guitar playing. If you’re really serious about your guitar skills, this is the place! Once again, it’s www.jamplay.com!