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Justin Guitar - Free Guitar Lessons

TE-000 • Technique lesson index

Justinguitar.com on Technique

Developing your technique should be an essential part of your practice routine - but it's also important not to get obsessed with it! Technique only exists to facilitate you MAKING MUSIC, don't forget that :)

On this page you will find a lot of lessons about developing your guitar technique and exercises that will help you perfect them. I'd strongly suggest checking out the first few lessons below before putting lots of hours into working on them, because there are some simple rules and concepts that will help you make the most of your precious time and get the most out of them. You will probably get a lot out of checking out the Effective Practice Series as well.

 

Must read lessons about developing your technique

TE-001 • Why Technique Practice Is Important, but often overdone!
Just a few paragraphs that I hope will help you keep motivated to work on your technique and also keep it in perspective and not get over obsessed with it!

TE-002 • Golden Rules Of Technique Practice
These simple rules will really help you make the most of your practice time and make it effective as it can be. If you're doing technical work you really should check out and remember these Golden Rules.

 

Fretting Hand Development and Techniques

TE-101 • Finger Stretching Exercise
For beginners sometimes reaching the correct finger positions for a D chord needs some finger stretching and for advanced players reaching for uncommon chords finger flexibility is essential. This exercise nails it for both!

TE-102 • Minimum Movement Exercise
This exercise is KILLER! Looks so simple but it's oh so hard! :) One of my all time favourite humbling exercises, it really is difficult but has a wide ranging influence on your general playing.

TE-103 • Vibrato (Hand Style)
This is the most common type of vibrato and the one I would recommend that you start learning. The technique is very much like string bending and essential for most styles of music.

TE-104 • Vibrato (Whole Arm Style)
Eric Clapton has a great vibrato and by watching him I figured out how he was doing it and I really like using this one now, sounds ace once you get it happening naturally.

TE-105 • Vibrato (Nylon String Style)
Side to side is the classical style because on nylon strings it works better, using this movement is VERY subtle on electric guitar, but still worth checking out.

TE-106 • String Bending Technique
If you want to play the blues you must learn to bend strings well and accurately. Its a very hard technique to perfect if you are doing it wrong and accurate intonation ('in-tune-ness') is something I still work on.

TE-107 • String Bending Vibrato
Once you can bend a string you will probably want to put some vibrato on it! It's not too difficult if you have the bending technique right but in this lesson I show you how it works!

TE-108 • Finger Rolling
Negotiating your way across strings with notes on the same fret can be awkward if you are not familiar with this technique, it's not so hard but this exercise can be a real problem solver if it doesn't come naturally.

TE-110 • Finger Gym
Just like going to the gym for your hands, this exercise can make a huge impact on your playing ability, really gets your fingers and hand strong and has massive benefits for many aspects of you playing. Includes a Guitar Pro file.

 

Picking Hand Development and Techniques

TE-201 • The Spider

more coming soon!

 

Synchronising and Both Hand Techniques and Exercises

TE-301 • Scale Picking
Learning how and why to practice scales is a pretty big deal, no point learning scales for the wrong reasons! In this lesson we go through the very basics of scale practice, how, why and how fast!

TE-302 • Quality Notes
Make every note count in this exercise and you'll notice jump in the quality of what you play. When you focus on the right stuff amazing things can happen!

TE-303 • Neck Bending Vibrato
Bending the neck makes the coolest chord vibrato ever! :)

 

Developing Ear - Hand Relationships

Developing the relationship between your ear and your hand is incredibly important but often overlooked completely. I'm amazed at how often I meet students that can play amazing technical stuff but can't play a simple melody like happy birthday unless they 'learn' it. You will probably want to check out the Interval Ear Training exercises found on the Ear Training Page too as those will also be a massive help! The Finding Melodies exercise below really is an incredible little exercise and I'd urge you to get into doing it as often as possible!

TE-351 •  Finding Melodies
This is the exercise I practice most, incredibly simple and incredibly effective. It really can be pretty amazing and I think this exercise is THE ONE that will help you truly express yourself through the instrument.

 

Time and Feel Exercises

TE-401 • Fartlek Subdivisions
This is one of my favourite exercises and it's both fun and very beneficial. First you need to be able to play the various subdivisions and then you need some speed play with them (Fartlek means Speed Play in Swedish!)

TE-402 • Bar Breaks
Are you like me and guilty of speeding up or slowing down when playing on your own? Well I built this feature into the Justinguitar Time Trainer Metronome App because I wanted to work on it myself, and I'm sure many of you will benefit from it too. It's possible (but a lot of hassle) without the app too.

TE-403 • The Disappearing Metronome Trick
Learning to really sit with the metronome is an incredibly valuable skill and often overlooked. This exercise might seriously improve your time feel!

 

Techniques Using Harmonics

TE-501 • How Harmonics Work
Before you get into trying to play them it is a good idea to understand how a harmonic is created. Bit more a science lesson than a guitar lesson but if you understand it then you will find all the following harmonic techniques easier.

TE-502 • Natural Harmonic Series
A look at the natural series of harmonics that we can get on each string. Very useful and will help you make practical use of harmonic techniques.

TE-503 • Pinch Harmonics
The high squealing sound created by rock musicians. Great for upsetting your neighbours or local cats, they are a quintessential rock metal technique.

TE-504 • Tapped Harmonics
A cool pretty modern technique of tapping 12 frets higher than the fretted note, giving a cool octave effect. Mostly used in rock but can be used in many different ways, even acoustics.

TE-505 • Classical Harmonics
This is the traditional way to play the classical style but it is very relevant to modern acoustic styles and is the foundation for more complex ideas such as harp harmonics. You can do on electric guitar too and it sounds fat.

TE-506 • Harp Harmonics Intro
I totally love the sound of this. To be honest I have trouble using it as part of a song, but Tommy Emmanuel and Andy McKee seem to have no problems! Lots of fun, fun way to play about...

 

Specialist Rock Techniques

Of course these techniques get used in other styles too but they are primarily used in rock and technical rock fusion styles.

* coming soon *

 

Fingerstyle Techniques

Remember there is a whole Folk Fingerstyle course but here be other related Fingerstyle techniques.

TE-702 • Folk Fingerstyle Patterns - Part 1
These are really old, old lessons but I'm keeping them here as they've been pretty popular, but the Folk Fingerstyle module is the same stuff but explained WAY better, so I wouldn't waste your time on these!

TE-703 • Folk Fingerstyle Patterns - Part 2
These are really old, old lessons but I'm keeping them here as they've been pretty popular, but the Folk Fingerstyle module is the same stuff but explained WAY better, so I wouldn't waste your time on these!

TE-751 • Melodic Percussive Fingerstyle BackBeat
I did this lesson to explain how I was getting the 'backbeat' hit while playing Fingerstyle guitar in my song "From Katie's Window" and it's a well interesting technique also used by Neil Young.

 

Slide & Lap Steel

TE-801 • Basic Slide Guitar: Essential Techniques
In this lesson we check out the types of slides available, How to position the slide on the neck, Picking Hand muting techniques, muting behind the slide, a basic look at open tunings and basic vibrato.

 

Performance and Psychological Techniques

TE-901 • Singing And Playing At The Same Time
By popular demand, I finally organised all the tips and tricks I been using over the years into a 10 Step Method of learning to play guitar and sing at the same time!