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Guitar Techniques


Choose a Technique to Explore

This navigation appears at the top of all of the technique pages.

Guitar techniques (technics) are the methods we use to set guitar strings in motion. Our hands work together and independently to create sonic events.

We will call the hand that is on the neck, the fretting hand. And the hand at the body, the motor hand.

Fretting Hand

Fretting is pressing the strings down against the frets to shorten the string to create higher, than the open string. Fretting also includes slurs (using the fretting hand to alter string tones). The fretting hand can pluck and strum just like the motor hand.

Muting/touching is using the fretting hand to block the strings without pressing. We have some strumming with mutes in the strumming section (what we call "pre-chord sounds").

The fretting hand is integral to creating sweet tone and rhythm. Experiment with fretting hand nail length, as this will affect tone and slurs (cutting them all the way down is not the best option).

Motor Hand

Motor Hand Techniques • Motor hand techniques include strumming, picking, and fingerpicking, double-hand, & touch (touch is the only one of these techniques which aren’t a part of my practice or teaching – touch technics are included in slap-touch).

To play anything, we must have some level of control over our physical playing system. This is called our technique. For our 10 Point GPS system, this is 'gain technical control'.

By training with focus, we...

  • understand how our hands work; the best motion for our motors for a given technique
  • produce sweet tone
  • realize our "touch"
  • don't train mistakes
  • get into deeper jam zones sooner and learn to live there
  • don't lose interest and create a situation where we have to go back and fix things later
  • have a process in place to evolve our techniques over time

There are many technical hybrids, where techniques are mixed. We are creative beings and new combinations are always evolving.

Keep in mind that each hand can also do what the other traditionally does [i.e. the fretting hand can strum, motor can fret].

We can and do reevaluate our technique at any point along the way. And, we are always training. We continuously look for ways to improve.

Live This

Don't train mistakes by just 'trying' things over and over. We do some thinking and feeling at the start of any process. If we aren't getting a technical skill after multiple attempts, we change our approach.

We make adjustments; incremental ones, until we feel a pocket. When we train with awareness, 'aha' moments inevitably follow.


Falling down the steps is one way to get to the bottom ["I made it!"], but could we recreate the fall exactly? And, would we walk back up, and just fall down over and over?

When we step slowly through a sequence of movements, programming the motion, through space, in time, we can recreate it again & again; and, at a certain point without having to think about it, we just tell ourselves- "Do that!"

Dive into techniques in any order. Train smart! Practice!