Skip to main content

6 expressive technique ideas that will change the way you play

6 creative technique ideas that will change the way you play
(Image credit: Future)

If your playing needs a creative kick up the backside, look no further! Here we’re looking at some ideas that you can run with and really make your own. At face value, these are relatively simple ideas – but then that’s the point.

Have a look at our example riffs, but focus more on the techniques than the music itself. With the techniques down, try including them in your own music.

1. Pick scrape to chord combo

2. Hammer-on and pull-off licks

(Image credit: Future)

This rolling Randy Rhoads-style lick is a great workout for all four fingers. The arched lines over the tab and notation tell you to play either a hammer-on or a pull-off.

3. Down-picking

(Image credit: Future)

This challenging groove-metal riff recalls Pantera, Devildriver and Lamb Of God. Of course, we’re talking about down-picking here, but try down-up style alternate picking to hear the difference too.

4. Use muting in your strumming

(Image credit: Future)

This is the kind of high-register funk riff heard in Chic’s disco stylings, pop from Prince and the harder sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That means the technique is versatile and you can use it in your own music! 

Notice all the ‘X’s in the tab – these are the muted notes where you have to lift your fretting fingers.

5. Tapping

(Image credit: Future)

This is a challenging lick designed for more advanced players to hone their skills. If tapping is new to you, you can practise any three-note group – it will still sound awesome.

6. Pinched harmonics

(Image credit: Future)

Zakk Wylde loves pinched harmonics, so this Wylde-style riff is a great way to practise low- and high-register pinched harmonics. Dial in loads of distortion to really help the harmonics sing.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49