Smack It!

By Leafboltor

I like to smack the bottom of my fist on the strings right above my bridge pickup so that it gets hit. Not useful often, but it gives an interesting sound.

The “Gypsy String Trick”

By Sonya Kitchell

I first saw this in the film Latcho Drom, which detailed the migration of gypsies from India to Spain.

Years later, I witnessed my friend Brad Barr cast a spell over an audience by somehow miraculously playing the air. He had done the same things the gypsies had done with [...]

Bone is Best

By Scott

For an acoustic instrument, nothing compares to the tone that is achieved from using bone for saddle, nut, and bridge pins. Camel bone is my material of choice for making nuts and saddles, as it gives all the advantages of cow bone, with the added benefit of more consistent density throughout, for an [...]

Ask for a “Free Pass”

By Lyle Workman

In regards to session work, when I work with artists and producers who have specific ideas for guitar parts the first bit of business will be to implement them. After they are happy and have all they want, I ask if I could have some “free” passes, to see what may happen. [...]

A Great Book On Listening

By Matt Seniff

Read The Listening Book – Discovering You Own Music by W.A. Mathieu. This book is sort of an owner’s manual for ears. It has listening and singing exercises interspersed with humorous anecdotes that will open your ears to sound in a way that Western music overlooks. This book can also make you [...]

Turn Your Guitar into a Tambura

By Roger Rocha

Here’s a fun one I did a month ago at a recording session. I tuned an acoustic with a pickup in it to a low open tuning and plugged it into an amp in a different room that was mic’ed. I then gaffer taped the guitar to the top of a different [...]

Experiment with Pickup Height Adjustments

By Josh

I recommend raising your pickups as high as you can while still being able to play the highest fret on each string, without the string vibration touching the pickups. You’ll notice a significant volume boost, as well as a change in your tone. Depending on the pickups, and on your ear, you may [...]

Follow Your Breath

By Blake Mills

Allow yourself to play only while you exhale – this automatically organizes your phrases into the breathing category of a vocalist or horn player!

Blake Mills is an LA-based solo artist and session player. He’s currently touring with Lucinda Williams.

An Alternate Pinch-Harmonic Technique

By DreadedRedBeard

I developed another technique for doing pinch harmonics that doesn’t involve pinching, because pinching is not always convenient mid-riff. If you hold your pick with your thumb and index finger, rest the nail of your middle finger on the string when plucking, and remove as/directly after you pluck. This makes an even clearer-sounding [...]

Don’t Use TOO Many Different Amp Models

By Keith

When using an amp-modeling pedal like the POD HD500, limit yourself to three or four settings for live play (clean, crunch, lead, solo). Don’t give in to the temptation of creating a custom sound for each of the 40-50 songs for the night. It is nearly impossible to maintain constant levels for that [...]