The ultimate electric guitar technique set up guide – Part 4

What is the right guitar technique? Part 4: Phrasing

Alright here we are in part four of the ultimate electric guitar technique setup guide

In this video I will talk about how to apply all the phrasing elements and how to perform them properly.

In the previous posts and articles I talked about how to set up your posture.

So you should start from number one.

Then in the next we talked mostly about playing rhythm and scales and then in the third part we talked about how to really play sweep picking arpeggios.

So it’s very worth checking out.

Now we will look into how to perform and how to really play phrasing elements properly so that everything runs smoothly and you can really sound great while you’re doing this.

Let’s start with string bends.

String bends

This is technically not very complicated, but from all the phrasing elements I’m showing you this will be the most complicated but it’s really not that difficult.

You have to get the hang of it and get it into your playing first properly.

But here’s how you do it.

String bend means you take a note and then you bend it upwards to another pitch.

To the next pitch for example, D to E.

Now the way to perform this for the best stability in your wrist and to hit the pitch the most reliable with every finger that you can possibly perform a string band with is to try to stick to this kind of twist of your arm motion and don’t do any fluttering like a chicken or something you don’t need that.

Imagine you turn a doorknob.

Your wrist is really just turning in this joint here.

It’s humanly ergonomically not totally possible, but that is the baseline that you want to try to get in.

When you know how to do this kind of angle motion like in the door hinge.

What’s even more important than getting the technique right is that you sound great.

So that should be the higher priority.

This technique is just a means to achieve good sound.

So keep that always in mind.

As long as you have a great sound and you can play everything well, there’s not really much to worry about.

But now let’s imagine you want to practice this and you want to also learn how to stay in the right pitch.

An easy exercise to get going with this is to play a C major scale for example on the G string 

and now we are trying to play that major scale with string bends.

So you move down a fret, that turns it into a half step bend for the next note, from B back to C.

And then you just work your way through the scale.

And the last note to make about this is if you want to perform this properly, what you have to do and pay attention to is that you do not do something that I call dropping the ball.

You want to stop the note from ringing before you release the band.

Because then you have the previous note as a clear reference to how you bent the next pitch.

You can use a tuner for this but only when you’re sure that your starting pitch is correctly what’s more important is that the relative bands are in tune and you know, by feel that you’re going into the right pitch from where you are that you can actually use your own ear to matter so tuner can be an additional source of confirmation but it shouldn’t be the main reliable source for your proof if you’re doing this right or not.


Now I’m gonna talk about vibrato because that is really just the next step on top of string bends. So it’s like a transition from string bends to vibrato because all you do really on the technical side is a series of string bends and release.

The technique is exactly the same as you still twist your arm.

But now you have additional things to pay attention to and if you want to have really nice vibrato.

Thing to listen to are three elements mainly.

The first one is the tempo of the vibrato. So you can actually perform this to a metronome.

Just try to select a certain note value and play this over a metronome and line it up with your vibrato.

There’s no real rules here.

The amplitude is the second thing to pay attention to.

And a way to practice this is you just play two amplitudes and you try to match them so it’s gonna look and sound the same.

Now, the last of the three points to pay attention to in vibrato is the form.

You want to train yourself to perform many different forms but start with a nice sine wave like the cosine sine wave from math class back then in ninth grade or whenever you do that.

You train that just by making a nice curve and nice sine waves

So now we have string bends, we have vibrato, and the next thing is going to be slides that we’re talking about.


Technically, there’s really not much to say about this because all you do is you put your finger down and you keep the finger down and slide somewhere else.

But there is an important mental part that will help you play especially the further slides, the bigger slides like octaves or higher, much easier and it also helps you with learning to play position shifts much better.

So what you have to do there is if you’re playing somewhere, you’re already in the right position and you could train yourself easily to not have to look there anymore when you’re playing just here in this area.

So now, your eyes are free to look wherever they want.

And if you know that you have a position shift, let’s say into the 19th fret coming up, you already look at that fret why you’re playing in the lower position.

That’s a way to learn how to make bigger slides as well.

Of course you practice this with all your fingers, on all the strings from many different contexts and you get really good with this.

Hammer-on and Pull-off

The next that and the last part in this series today is hammer ons and pull offs.

And from the technical point of view, there’s again not much to say about this, but I’m gonna walk you through this step by step.

If you do a hammer on, you have to really imagine that it’s not just putting your finger down. 

That’s weak, but you want to really hammer it with some force down to the string.

And then when you do a pull off what most people get wrong, is they just lift up their finger because they see the pros do this.

And then they wonder “why do I not have this thick, strong tone that they get?”

But what you can’t see really with the eye, especially when you’re watching someone on a high level, is that there is a small, pulling down motion.

You have to be careful here that you learn to make small motions. If you don’t you will most likely build up a lot of excess tension and your arm will feel crampy.

But there’s a remedy for that too.

So first of all, you want to focus on making small motions.

And now every time you perform a pull off, you have to train your muscles to very shortly relax during or after every pull off motion.

Just very briefly and you do this by slowing down first.

You don’t get around that here.

You actively have to send a signal to your arm from your brain and tell it “Okay, now relax.”

Because if you don’t do this, you will build up tension in your arm.

And when you want more guidance with this, there’s now a whole plethora of things that you can still learn to become a much better musician with all of those phrasing elements.

You’re now very prepared to take the next step:

What I recommend to you for you to do is to check out the breakthrough guitar lessons from Tom Hess.*

Here’s a free 14 Day guitar speed course that I recommend you check out. It’s going to help you tremendously to improve your fast playing and also the practice for fast guitar playing.

And if this helped you leave a comment below! I will respond to everyone and I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.

You can also write your own articles and blog posts there and tell me about your guitar journey.

I really love hearing from you guys. So that’s everything I wanted to talk about with you and yeah, we’ll see you then later in the community.


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