ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Playing Guitar – Basic Techniques

Updated on August 6, 2014


Before picking up a guitar to play you should first make sure that your hands are warmed up. It’s not advised to play in a cold room. Rubbing your hands together and doing some finger stretches can help to warm them up.

You can also help to make your fingers more flexible by doing some exercises when away from the guitar. Holding the index finger and ring finger against the palm of your hand with your thumb, and then switch to the middle finger and pinkie finger. Alternating between each position is a great exercise for dexterity and can be done while walking down the street all watching television.

It’s good to warm up your wrist as well. Holding your arm out and pulling your hand back gently towards your body will help loosen it up.

Fretting notes

The position of your finger on the strings and near each fret can affect the sound produced. To produce the best sounding note the fingertips are positioned just behind the fret of the required note, without touching the fret itself or the note will be muted. Your finger should avoid touching a string above or below. If the note is fretted too far from the fret it will sound weak. Remember to keep your fingers curved when fretting a note.

The Pick

The pick is held between your thumb and the side of your index fingertip, near the last knuckle. The index finger can be supported in place by the middle finger. Depending on what type of technique you’re performing, (strumming, playing single notes) the amount of pick sticking out will vary.

If you are strumming chords you would hold about a third of the pick out in order for flexibility and to avoid hitting the strings with your fingers.

If you’re picking single notes you would only hold a little bit out. If you’re playing fast, with alternative picking you hold out as little as possible without your fingers touching the strings – this makes way for economy of movement.

Finger Exercise

This is the most common finger exercise for warming up and developing dexterity. It can be applied to any starting point (fret) on the guitar.

Play 1 2 3 4 across the string then continue to the next string. Keep the first finger on the string when you add the second finger. Keep both when you add the third and all three when you add the forth.

1 – Indicates the index finger.

2 – Indicates the middle finger.

3 – Indicates the ring finger.

4 – Indicates the pinky finger.

Finger exercise demonstration


When strumming chords, remember to keep your wrist loose. It is natural to want to strum from your elbow, and while you will move your arm, the technique actually comes from the wrist. It can be awkward to maintain a firm grip on the pick while keeping your wrist loose. This develops with practice.

Was this article helpful?

See results

The next lesson is available to the following link...


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Dave Smiles profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave Smiles 

      4 years ago from Melbourne

      Glad this article helped rescue the guitar from the basement. :-) I'll be posting more lessons in the coming days, hope they're equally helpful.

      Thanks for reading.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      I will save this one for my husband. He has a talent for playing just about any instrument. We have a guitar sitting in the basement all alone. So, it is time to take it out and learn the basics.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)