Playing stringed instruments


Playing stringed instruments - Pizzicato
Playing stringed instruments – Pizzicato

Pizzicato is a game technique in which abrupt, muffled sounds are produced.

The right hand is placed with the edge of the palm on the strings near the stand, and the thumb makes sounds. In some cases, the pizzicato is played with the other fingers of the right hand.

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In sheet music, this technique is denoted by the word “pizzicato” or “pizz”.

To practice pizzicato, it is useful to play chromatic, major and minor scales in 1st position.


Playing stringed instruments - Tambourine
Playing stringed instruments – Tambourine

Tambourine is a playing technique in which sounds are produced that are similar to the sounds of a tambourine (a southern European folk percussion instrument).

The right hand with the base of the thumb, using the weight of the hand, strikes the strings near the stand. In sheet music, this technique is denoted by the word “tambora” or “tamb”.

When practicing this technique, make sure that your hand, hitting the strings, immediately rises up, and does not linger on them.

Reception legato – continuous performance of several notes. The fusion of sound is achieved by striking the string with the finger of the left hand on a fret different from before, while the string has not stopped sounding yet.


Playing stringed instruments - Legato
Playing stringed instruments – Legato

Legato. Legato is a coherent performance of sounds. There are three types of legato on the guitar:

  • ascending
  • downward
  • legato on different strings
  • Rising legato. The right hand makes the first sound, after which one of the fingers of the left hand, with force falling on the sounding string, makes the second sound. Using the legato technique, several sounds can be performed in turn, with the right hand producing only the first sound, the rest are performed with the left hand.
  • Downward legato. The right hand makes a sound, followed by the left finger. pressing the sounding string is forcefully removed from this string to the side and slightly upward, in the direction of the hand.

Subsequent sounds are produced with the left hand only.

Watch for the evenness and rhythm of the sounds you play.

  • Legato on different strings. The right hand produces a sound on one string, after which one of the fingers of the left hand, with force falling on the other string, produces a second sound without the participation of the right.

The legato technique is of paramount importance in guitar technique, it is difficult and requires a lot of effort to practice.

With the help of vibrato, a slightly trembling, vibrating sound is achieved. When using this technique, the guitarist slightly moves his left hand, changing the tension on the string and the degree of pressing on it.

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When you move your left finger along the string without changing the degree of pressure, a glissando effect is achieved – a transition from one note to another through all semitones located between them.

With a sharp and short muffling of the string, after the sounded note, the staccato technique is used.


Playing stringed instruments - Staccato
Playing stringed instruments – Staccato

Staccato – abrupt, sharp performance of sounds. It is indicated by a staccato dot above or below the note, and is performed in two ways:

  • Using the left hand. After making a sound with the right hand, the fingers of the left hand are immediately removed from the strings.
  • Using the right hand. After extracting the sound, the fingers of the right hand immediately cover one or more sounding strings.

A staccato played with extreme abruptness is called staccathissimo. It is indicated by a short vertical wedge.


Playing stringed instruments - Glissando
Playing stringed instruments – Glissando

Glissando is a technique in which one or more fingers of the left hand, pressing the strings, slide along the frets of the neck, as if continuing the sound of the instrument without the participation of the right hand. In notes, glissando is indicated by a straight line. Performed by the duration of the note from which the finger starts sliding.

There are several types of glissandos:

  • Glissando without making a subsequent sound with the right hand. In this case, the subsequent sound is generated by pressing the sliding finger against the sounding string. Sometimes this technique is indicated by an additional league above the glissando sign. This type of glissando is very common in plays of a mobile nature, since it requires minimal expenditure of movements.
  • Glissando with the extraction of the subsequent sound with the right hand. This type of glissando is common in plays of a calm nature.
  • Glissando with finger swapping. During the glissando, one finger of the left hand is replaced by another. This is done for the convenience of fingering.
  • Glissando with the extraction of the subsequent sound on the other string. It is used for greater consistency of sounds located on different strings and in different positions.

When applying the glissando technique, try to achieve as much coherence as possible.

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Conserve left hand movement: make the most of the previous fingering (i.e., fingers remaining on the strings from the fingering already used).

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