Embedded in every guitar player’s DNA is an incredibly huge ego (not my opinion, Google it) that needs to be fed on a regular basis. But with the market for rock stars being so overly saturated, it takes a bit of extra panache to woo the crowd into giving you a standing ovation. That’s where being able to do some nifty tricks with your axe comes in handy. Here I’ve listed 5 cool guitar tricks you can use to increase the value of your autograph.
Guitar Tricks #1 Volume Swells
Ever wanted to play in reverse, but don’t have a time machine? No problem. Volume swells allow you to do something like playing in reverse. It is basically a crescendo. Using your volume knob or pedal, start at zero, play a note, and gradually increase the volume as the note reverberates. To make it sound even more awesome, crank up the delay and distortion. Check this video out for the how-to:
Guitar Tricks #2 Pick Slides/Scrapes
You’ll want some distortion on for this one. Pick slides are a bit like long fingernails scratching on a blackboard but in a rock’n’roll kind of way. Use your pick to scrape along the strings to get a screeching sound. The lower strings create a cooler sound than the higher ones, so use the low E for maximum effect. Pick slides are a great way to move into a cool riff. This video shows you how to do it:
Guitar Tricks #3 Double Stops
Double stops is not when your guitar playing is so bad that your friends have to tell you twice to stop playing. Rather, double stops is to play two notes together. This works particularly well if done during an awesome solo. If you have read my post about pentatonic scales, then this is where they come in handy. Try playing a double stop on the 5th fret of the G and B strings to get a feel for how it works. Or watch this guy explain it in moving pictures:
Guitar Tricks #4 Using Your Tone Knob
In addition to being a great setup for the kind of terrible joke guitarists are notorious for making, the tone knob is also great for changing the sound of your axe. Crank it all the way up, and you’ll get a bright sound that can shatter mirrors. Turn it off completely, and you’ve got yourself a warmer and softer tone. If you don’t like the smooth approach, slap on some distortion once your tone knob is off to get that gritty fuzz the boys love! Check out how it sounds below:
Guitar Tricks #5 Vibrato
Ever been jealous of the lead singer being able to bring out that quivering sound in their voice? Don’t be. They have to do the kind of vocal warm-ups that will make it impossible to take yourself seriously, which can do serious damage to even the most egomaniacal frontman/woman. That’s why Kanye West doesn’t use do vocal warm-ups, I think. Anyway, you can do the same with your guitar. It’ll add some shimmer and coolness to your playing, and is achieved by wobbling the string as you play them. See how here:
To check out part 2 of this series, click here.