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domingo, 27 de abril de 2008

article for beginning electric guitar players or novices fl studio


Guitar SFX 101

OK this article is mainly intended for beginning electric guitar players or novices with under 1 year exp. with their instrument. Some of the stuff I cover can work on accoustic or classical guitar, but its intended primarily for electric. Don't even bother attempting to flame me for this post cuz my e-dick is bigger than yours and it pisses further too. Constructive criticism can consist of further elaboration/discussion of this lesson. Thats my disclaimer.

Lets start off with the absolute basic guitar techniques, a lot of these sfx and tricks incorporate one or more of these basic techniques, so you need to know them and practice them often enough to pull some of these tricks off right.

The Basics

(Notice that I'm skipping the nomenclature of the instrument and picking/fingering techniques, this is elementary and those concerned should learn this stuff before even pulling this article up.)

Palm muting: This technique is achieved when the palm of your icking/strumming/whatever you wanna call it hand rests on the strings and thus removes a good deal of vibration from the string when it is played. This results in a muffled sound and is to be considered one of the main foundations of rhythm guitar playing. Good examples of palm muting can be heard in just about every metal/hardcore/whatever-you-kids-call-it-these days-core/rock song produced since the mid 80s. The trick to achieving good palm muting technique is to practice alternating palm muting with unmuted string sound. Here's a basic tab of what i mean..palm muting in tablature is usually indicated by a (.) underneath the note
to be muted. Some tabbers write this out differently and you should observe tablature keys as they indicate how certain parts are to be played.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 <--headbang with me
... ..... ..... ..... .

Another good example which develops technique is 'master of puppets' from metallica. This classic opening riff pretty much defines thrashing and palm muting in the oxford manner.

Here it is:

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Just showing the tablature doesn't do the technique justice, so heres my "in-depth" explanation for this piece. The fleshy part of your palm at the base of your thumb is to rest almost ON the bridge at the base of the strings. You will discover that the further away your palm rests from the bridge the more dramatic the muting will be, so the idea is to find your middle ground between the bridge and the strings where you get ideal amounts of muting and still have enough control to lift your palm off the strings for sections you don't want muted. One caveat to point out is that putting too much pressure on the bridge can affect your pitch/tuning, specifically with floyd-rose style floating bridges.

Practice this riff until the A string notes are clean and crisp, the muted notes are evenly timed and consistantly muted. Another facet of palm muting technique is a rhythm picking pattern in which upstroke and downstroke picking across all 6 strings is muted. Classic example? Smells like teen spirit, nirvana.

Upstroke/Downstroke picking becomes more crucial in riffs like this one. The x's indicate open muted strings, these are palm muted and picked but not fretted. For down/upstroke timing i will be placing (u)'s and (d)'s for corresponding notes.

d dd dud d d d d dd dud d d

A lot of ska/punk rhythm consists of palm muted downstrokes and fretted powerchord upstrokes.

Hammer-On's and Pull-Off's: This technique is used in all genres that feature guitar playing from classical pieces to blues to rock'n'roll etc. Basically to hammer-on or pull-off is to strike a successive note with your fret-hand fingers in a manner that actually picking the note isn't needed/or is a redundancy. That was quite a mouthful, here's a tab example:


The h's tell you to hammer, the p's tell you to pull.

Basically the only notes you are going to pick here, are the 1's on the low E string and the 3's on the high e string. The rest of the notes are played by merely Hammering the next fret down or Pulling off to the lower fret. The harder you strike the fretboard with your fingers the better sound you will get. As you get proficient at hammering on and pulling off you will be able to play the 2nd riff without even picking once.

The important thing about pulling off notes is that you don't finger fret positions out of turn. For the 3p2p0 lick your anular (4th finger down) should land on the 3rd fret before your index or middle hits the 2nd fret, and this rule carries on to finger tapping as well. Here's a great hammer-on exercise which also develops your speed and dexterity! You've probably seen this one already!

(you can practice this w/o picking or with, its helpful either way.)


Basically the idea is to work your way all the way up and down the fretboard, try going all the way up hammering on, alternate picking on teh way down, etc. This pull-off exercise is actually a Gmaj scale.


That riff from that lenny kravitz 'are you gonna go my way' track uses pulls offs like this:


That first part looks like a chemical formula I know, but its a simple lick to _pull off_get it? pull off??? anyway..

Bends: There are a few different types of bends, some of which can only be done on certain guitars. I'm gonna break em down the best i can.

Finger bends up and down, and to specific pitches:

People indicate bends in tablature with a simple b. Sometimes the bend will show you a fret next to it in parenthesis, this is when you are required to bend to that fret's pitch. Here are the examples, and this is the technique. Lets say I'm picking G# on my low E string, (4th fret).I can bend it up to the pitch of the 5th fret- by sliding it across the fretboard closer to the string above it-which is A and is also the enharmonic note of the _open_ A string, which incidentally is right above the low E. This is what im getting at.

B----------------i know youve heard this before!-----------

The key to bending right is developing a precise touch and knowing how far to safely bend a note (great way to break strings, bends can be). When tabs speficy a fret to bend to, like the iron maiden riff in hallowed be thy name as illustrated below, you need to be able to match a pitch very well and consistantly too.

The 16th fret in parenthesis is what the bended note's pitch should reproduce. You don't pick the 16th fret in this example.


the riff should sound similar to this if done right.


Moving right along...there is more than 1 way to skin a cat, and there is more than one correct technique for bending notes. The bends i showed you in the 50's blues riff were done by pushing the picked string perpendicular to the rest of the strings, or across the fretboard. This has its limitations and is only justified in the instance i illustrated the technique in.

The more conventional or correct bend is to pull the fretted note away from the bridge, however due to string tension settings or string/fretboard clearance this can be very painful or futile to get a substantial change in pitch. This particular bend is more difficult to use at first but will eventually become incorporated into your bag of skills and your ability to execute this bend will improve over time.

The opposite of this bend of course is to push towards the bridge and this will (yep you guessed it) lower the pitch of the fretted note. Simple enough, though I suspect a few of you may overlook that sentence.

Now for some of the specialty bends, which are pretty much guitar speficic.

Iron Man bend:

Tony Iommi pulled this one off almost 35 years ago or so..i guess.

Basically what you do is put tension on a string behind the nut, (no not the hair next to your taint/gooch/whatever)pick the note and relieve the tension. Its called the Iron Man bend or is referenced that way because that is THE song it came from..i don't know of any other time its been used. Anyway, The E string is pressed down behind the nut with enough tension to make it sound almost E#, picked and then _slowly_ pitched back down to E.

very boring and redundant tab ensues.

A-------------i am teh iron man-----------

Basically this is a guitar speficic technique, it won't work on setups that lock string tension like the floyd-rose. This guitar has its nut bolted down so the string tension can not be adjusted further. Therefore, putting pressure on the strings behind this nut does nothing to affect its pitch.

The Gibson whammy bend: The fender strat and telecaster guitars(most anyway)have what we call bolt on necks. These necks are bolted to the guitar body and their truss is adjusted with a bolt at the head of the neck as well as springs which balance the tension between the bridge and body. The neck can flex outward or inward with the truss rod so this is adjusted at the factory to give you the optimum fretboard coverage of the strings and to minimalize the rattling of low string clearance.

The main reason was for manufacturing ease, guitars produced before then were one piece deals, neck & body were solid and these guitars boast superior sustain properties over the strat style bolt on necks. Anyway, digressing a bit, the cool thing about the strat design was the bridge had a whammy bar on it, and you could bend down pitches very easily by applying pressure with your palm on this bar. Les Paul guitar bridges(most anyway) were bolted down to the guitar body and were thus "fixed bridges". These didn't have a whammy bar. So to emulate or imitate that whammy bar bend in pitch, the technique developed for fixed bridge players is to bend the fretted note _before_picking_or_playing_ that string to the desired 'starting pitch' of the bend; then picking/plucking/striking/e-bowing your string and allowing the string to dip to its original pitch. This reproduced the whammy bar bend to a degree on a guitar that doesn't have a whammy bar.


In this riff the gibson whammy bend (lets call it a fixed bridge whammy)

is the first note played; the bend on the G string is a regular bend done by sliding the string across the fretboard, the last part has a pull off followed immediately by a hammer on bend up to the 10th fret's pitch. Thats my way of incorporating a few of the previous examples to show you an idea of how to articulate notes that would otherwise be bland.

I have to interject at this point with the--

vibrato: --because its a cousin

of the finger bends. Vibrato is when you push and pull the string in the finger bend fashion very quickly and intensly to cause the fretted note to have a wavering, fluctuating pitch. This is a very characteristic sound of the stringed instrument and examples can be heard in violin symphonies to pop music today. It is indicated in tablature by a tilde (~) but seldom is the amount of vibrato speficied. In these cases you would just have to know.

Heres the old NBC chime, also incidentally a D chord, polished up with a hint of vibrato..and as you will notice often the last note I tab out ends with vibrato, thats the artistic flare showing up.

N B C ! or an octave up: N B C!

How long to vibrato? As long as its ringing, baby. Sustain monster guitars like solid-body les pauls with fixed bridges can almost generate enough resonance to vibrato indefinitely.

Whammy bar bends: The easiest and yet the most versatile bends. Only for guitars that have whammy bars. We will divide that into 2 groups further, guitars with floating bridges and guitars with fixed bridges. A floyd-rose is a floating bridge, whereas a fender strat bridge will be fixed. You can bend the strat down a bit because there is a recess beneath the bridge that accomodates some leeway for the bridge to flex upwards. On a floating bridge the bridge is balanced out in a heavy metal void by the tension of the guitar strings and the tension of the springs in the body, and this allows it to bend pitch up or down freely. On a fender you can whammy bend down, on a gibson sg you can only bend strings with your fingers, and on a jackson performer you can bend up or down with the whammy bar.

Some interesting techniques have grown out of bends with and without the whammy bar.

Dive Bombs and slides: Dive bombs were popular during black sabbath's heyday, and are still used now and then by various bands of various genres. Good examples of dive bombs are the iron man bend in iron man, eddie van halen's intro licks for jump! and panama, and the airplane sound in whole lotta love from led zeppelin was jimmy page's way of showing everyone that his dive bomb was beyond perfected. He actually incorporated a bit of pick slide into his dive bombing which we will cover soon. Basically the technique in dive bombing is to play a note and while the note is sustaining you drop the pitch with the whammy bar or a tuning peg(if you're crazy) to almost no pitch, then resurrect it by bring it back to its original pitch while the string is still vibrating.

You will notice that once you have lowered the pitch dramatically your string will cease to vibrate very fast, this limits the amount of time you can 'dive' and thus the practice here is to discover the timing and amount of pitch you can dive to before losing your plane (sound). Sliding is when you shift your finger position from one fret to another without relieveing pressure on the string, allowing the pitch changes from fret to fret to be continuously heard. Many songs feature slides as minor as 1 position slides (1 fret to the next) to full fretboard slides from the 21st fret down to the open string. Sliding with your fingers makes a stepping up and down sound whereas using a _glass slide_ makes a continuous sliding sound, a good example of a glass slide being white zombie's more human than human track. A good example of traditional finger sliding is Jimi Hendrix's Purple haze. There are a few different glass/ceramic slides on the market in different shapes, good idea to have one laying around even if you don't use it.

purple haze


Slides are indicated by the starting note of the slide, the direction, and the ending note of the slide.

This is the beginner's dive bomb.

We'll play both the 7th fret on A and the open E string, then we will start applying downward pressure on our whammy bars to slowly lower our pitch while sliding the 7th fret down to 0, pausing momentarily at that pitch and then allowing the whammy bar to bend back up to its neutral position while sliding our fretted finger back up to the 7th fret.


I tabbed out the ghost notes for the amateur tab readers to understand that you are sliding your finger from the 7th fret down to nothing and then back up again. However in normal tablature this will just be indicated by a 7\0.

Sliding up would be indicated as 0/7. The 'r' after the open E is 'ring' and basically you allow this note to continuously sound throughout this lick.

The Jimmy Page divebomb in whole lotta love is achieved in a different manner. This is the Pick scrape: By dragging the side of your pick across the lower strings lengthwise it will make a scratchy/scraping sound. This sound changes in tonal qualities as you get closer to the center of the string, or further away from the bridge. The closer to the bridge you scrape the more metallic the scrape sound will be, the further away the more melodic and tonal it will sound. Good example, limp bizkit's pollution intro.

It starts I'd figure somewhere between the middle/lower pickup position with the guitar pick on the low E and maybe on the A string as well; the pick is slowly drawn across the strings towards the bridge and when the pick reaches the last inch or so before the bridge it speeds up to bring the pitch up somewhat before the first riff starts. The subleties of the pick scrape is that your pick's distance from or to the bridge dictates what pitch the string will resonate at and also the speed at which you scrape determines the pitch of the sound of the pick scraping across the coils of the string wire. Listen to whole lotta love now and start wondering about how mr. page achieved his dive bomb sounds. His pickup configurations alone are a good topic of academic pursuit.

Harmonics, enharmonics, artificial/pinch harmonics, and you!

Best way to explain harmonics is to take your index finger, bar it at the 12th fret and pick all the strings. Now, reduce the pressure on your index finger so none of the strings are no longer fretted but you are still making contact with the string. Pick all the strings again but this time remove your finger from each string as you finish picking it. You will probably hear the same pitches, only this time you managed to reproduce them without fretting any notes. What is that noise? Harmonics. There are a few positions on the fretboard where they can be heard almost as prominantly as the 12th fret position. Why does the 12th fret position sound so good?

You will notice it is the exact halfway point across the string from nut to bridge. You will also notice that if you try that same technique at the 7th fret the harmonic pitches produced are substantially higher than what the fretted notes sound like. The 12th fret notes and 12th fret harmonics sound the same because they are the same. The 7th fret ones sound higher because they are closer to one end of the guitar string. The 5th fret positions will sound even higher even though the fretted sounds are lower. This is because the fretted sounds change the overall length of the string in order to change the pitch of the note whereas the harmonic notes are produced by the fractions and ratios of their point of the string's overall length. Thus if you fret a note at any position of the neck that particular string's overall resonant length gets changed and its harmonic halfway point will be shifted as well. Anyway here are some of the sections of the strings which will give you some of the more clear natural harmonics.
I'm gonna get fraction/decimal on you guys because some of these positions are somewhat between frets.

open position, no harmonics, full length of string, duh.

1.2 fret: just ahead of the 1st fret(2nd fret territory) is the highest pitch harmonic that can be reproduced. Its difficult to produce well because it is so close to that end of the string. This harmonic can be duplicated at the other end of the string with slightly different results as playing harmonics directly over or adjacent to pickups can do curious things. The catch to playing harmonics at the bridge is that the note must be picked ahead of where you are touching the string, in otherwords the longer portion of the string is where you should pick the note, not between your finger and the bridge. This parallel section is about 1.8 inches before the bridge.

You can get harmonics just about every fraction of the way up the bridge with better results as you get closer to the 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets. Going towards the other half of the string causes slightly different harmonics to sound as you are picking between the section of the string that is now less than 50% of the overall string length. 15th fret, 16th fret, 17.2 fret(sounds pretty bad) 19th fret(clean again!), 22.2 fret (for you 21 fret guys, just a lil ahead of where the 22nd fret WOULD be)bottom of top pickup, (about 5.5 inches before the bridge)top of bottom pickup (2 humbucker config.) or about 3.2 inches from the bridge.

Good example of natural harmonic use, metallica's welcome home(sanitarium)
off the master of puppets cd. Here's the intro part. Harmonics in tab is usually indicated by the little hungry duck signs, \__o<>o__/.


another good example is the riff after the chorus in good god from korn's life is peachy album, shown below. (note this song has some ridiculous dropped tuning and im not gonna indicate that for the sake of this example)


(It may be DBGDAD or something, as its actually played on a 7string)

So those are natural harmonics, located all over the fretboard. In fact slayer's metal storm--face the slayer track has a nice natural harmonic slide right before the 1st "chorus" riff kicks in. Bad tab, good example, good time to explain tremolo:
Tremolo is basically speed picking individual notes in repetition so that sound is continually heard and is continually played. You want to alternate up and downstroke picking to build up speed in this department. Soft picks will slow you down but heavy picks will give your picking a slappy noise, try to find your middle ground of pick thickness. I have found that sharper pick shapes may shorten string life but encourage tremolo picking abilities.

this isn't how it would normally be expressed, and since i already explained slides i shouldn't have to write this like so. The tr stands for tremolo, any notes with tr at the end should be played in this tremolo fashion.


basically all you are going to do here is barely rest your index finger on the D string at the highest position, then slowly slide it towards the 12th fret while tremolo picking that string. You will hear a scale of all the audible harmonics on that string for that half of the string. To enhance audibility of harmonics, my suggestions are to use gain/distortion/overdrive to your advantage, and to use pickups with a brighter tone. The EMG pickups have always been absolutely spectacular at capturing harmonics, and with these pickups you can (with practice) produce harmonics at basically any position on any string.

Last example; zero, smashing pumpkins.


the harmonics in this song are on the low E string, you start with your middle finger resting on the harmonic at the 3.80fret position and the next harmonic is played around the 4.20 fret position and the last one is around the 4.75-4.80 fret position. Your middle finger is almost already in ideal position when you fret the chords for this riff, and when you shift back to V position your middle is around that 4.80 fret position.

Artificial (Pinch) Harmonics: These harmonics are achieved by using a different picking technique, or a beginner's sloppiness at fretting/picking strings. They are referred to as artificial harmonics because unlike true harmonics they are not produced by inducing vibration on the string at certain points, but by abrupt scuffing of the string with the pick and/or finger. They are referred to as pinch harmonics by others because the technique basically calls for your to pinch down on your pick so that when you pick a string a bit of your fingertip hits the string almost a split second after the pick does.

This near-instant change of pick dnyamics causes the string to make a harmonic between the pick and your finger and makes your fretted note sound as if it was actually a harmonic note. Slayer's guitarists have done this to almost excessive proportions in many songs and live renditions of their songs often feature riffs being played entirely in pinch harmonic. We are going to learn the pinch harmonic bend now, a trademark sound of many metal bands and a precursor technique to the scream, made popular by the late dimebag darrell of pantera.

Pinch harmonics and pinch harmonic bends, aka 'screams'


the p.h. is the abbreviation for pinch harmonic, and it is indicated before a harmonic to let you know which kind it is, the latter being n.h. or natural harmonic. The pinch harmonic bend is explained by the b in parenthesis, here indicating that the bend starts just _flat_ of the 5th fret pitch and bends up to its original pitch. Since the 5 is contained in <>'s its a harmonic note and the bend goes from a pitch just below natural, which has a curious symbol that looks like 2 7's doing a 69, the # being sharp and b being flat.

When ever you see frets in parenthesis or anything in parenthesis in a tab for that matter, its a ghost note and isn't meant to be played. Often its used in reference of a bended note or something similar. So basically the scream calls for you to drop the pitch of the guitar string slightly by putting downward pressure on your whammy bar, picking the harmonic at the 5th fret and allowing the string tension to slowly return to normal. You can go further and use the whammy bar to fluctuate the string tension up and down slightly and get a bit of tremolo to sound. Again Slayer & Pantera use these techniques throughout most of their albums.

Enharmonics: Sorry to let you down but enharmonics are just notes that appear more than once on your fretboard. The secret joy of enharmonics is that they enable you to play melodies and scales that normally would require very long finger stretches, sometimes 4-5 positions and more. Here are some enharmonics illustrated in relative tuning procedure for guitar, standard tuning.


The open string notes are identical in pitch (or should be, ur out of tune) to the fretted note just before it. For an added treat, this is how we tune using only natural harmonics. There isn't a harmonic for the G-B string relative tuning..that i know of.


Combining techniques: Finger tapping, sweeping, trills, and beyond.

Finger tapping employs the use of hammer-on's and pull-off's with the dynamics of tremolo playing to allow a guitarist to play a series of notes at distances and speeds on the fretboard which would be difficult if not impossible to reproduce by conventional picking methods. Good examples? One, metallica, last solo; Eddie Van Halen, you really got me, 50 seconds in.

The secret to mastering finger tapping is to practice tapping different directions (ascending and descending notes) and with both hands. The fingers on your picking/strumming/e-bowing hand are just as useful as the ones you normally fret with.




Looks complicated? Its not. Use your pick or your picking finger to hammer on the 12th fret notes in the 1st lick and pull the note off to the open string before hammering on the 5th and 8th frets in succession(with your fretting hand). For the One solo its the same thing only now I have omitted the pull off instructions between riffs for a tap solo. Its basically a redundancy if you know you are supposed to be tapping notes at that point.

Trills are a variation of hammer on's and pull off's in which you combine the sound of a vibrato with tremolo by vigorously tapping the next note and pulling off to the previous in rapid succession. Cannibal Corpse used trills a lot in some of their later albums. staring through the eyes of the dead cited below.

When notes are intended to be trilled some people put tr after the notes, some use tr to indicate tremolo. Some people might parenthesize the tr to indicate trills or put the tr between the notes meant to be trilled, which is what i have done here. Make sure you reference a tab refrence key before deciding whether they want you to trill or tremolo.

A------1tr4--------------1tr4------1tr4 0tr3------
... ...

The trilled parts are to be played like this:


That can be quite a tiring technique at first, practice this one often it builds speed and strength in your fingers.

Sweeps: Combining techniques

Sweeping nowdays can be considered the pinnacle of guitar technique to master as the end result of perfect sweeping is breathtaking speed and clarity on the instrument while exhibiting almost no effort at all. The secret pillars of good sweeping technique is to be able to utilize the skills picked up with hammering on and pulling off, finger tapping, playing harmonics and alternate picking combined in execution of this technique. To get you started in what can be easily the most frustrating part of practice, heres a sweeper's scale to remind you how slow and sloppy you really are.
Malmsteen's far beyond the sun, one of the opening licks and one of my favorites to play.


Thats a LOT of notes! You are only supposed to hammer on and pull off the notes on the high e string, but to reach the speed yngwie actually plays it at you almost HAVE to sweep down to A. Instead of picking 14 notes you can optimize your picking and only pick 5 notes. Now it won't sound the way its intended but this is just to illustrate one of the ways sweeping can be employed. The more conventional method or technnique is to find a chord progression you like, and just sweep out the individual notes of the chords.


instead of just strumming Em, Am, C, and whatever D variant that is, we fret the chord one note at a time and sweep our pick down, up, down and back up the strings again so only 1 note is heard at a time. Very simple chord progressions can be come complicated solo work with some skillfull sweeping.


Some technique combinations can be more subtle, or more exaggerated. By incorporating finger slides with finger tapping you can produce some really ridiculous noises.


In this lick the slide is done by the picking finger all the way up the fretboard. Every time the finger tap 'phrase' is repeated im shifting to a lower position on the fretboard. The idea is to work your way down while sliding up each time. Trey Azagthoth from Morbid Angel does this in a few tracks.

Harmonic Bends + Dive Bombs = Harmonic Bombs

Try this: Bar your index finger at the 17th fret, hit all the harmonics at that fret and bend down like you are dive bombing. Now try the harmonic with no string tension and work your way back up.

Its now 4am and That pretty much covers everything I wanted to talk about in this lesson. Learn all these different techniques, practice them front and back, mix and match different ideas and techniques together to develop your own sound and style. Happy shredding :]

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