How to become more dexterous on Acoustic Guitar Strings

You don’t have to pull your Acoustic Guitar Strings too hard to become more prolific with the instrument, as a matter of fact, pulling too hard can damage the terminal ends of the strings. Just like any other musical instrument, the guitar also has its own quirks.

If your ears have picked up some whooping or crying from another guitarist and you wondered how he did that, then you should consider this mini-manual to guide you.

Regardless of whether you enjoy playing on the acoustics or electric guitar, there are some tips and tricks , that can help you create more warbles, whinny’s and several other cool effects on the instrument.

#1 - The Tricky Harmonics

The tricky harmonics are mostly played on the fifth, seventh and twelfth frets, while the natural frets are located all across the length of the guitar strings.

In the figure below (Figure 1A), you can see that both frets were played at the same time thus creating a thrilling fretting hand and then different harmonics were generated while you brush the side of your index finger across the third string.

In the second figure (figure 1B), you can use the index finger of your fretting hand to create new harmonics on the E string , in-between the frets.

#2 - The flicking of the switch

The flicking of the switch on the Acoustic Guitar Strings, is a trick made popular by the famous Guitarist- Eddie Van Halen. In order to perform this trick , you will need to tune the volume controls located on the guitar neck and bridge pickups of the guitar.

You can follow the next figure (Figure 2), to perform this trick. All you need to do is to set the level of one of your pickup’s volume to 10, and the other pickup’s volume must be set at zero.

Fret the initial note, then you can toggle back and forth, in-between the different pickups according to the rhythm indicated in the picture. Simply create the sounds of the note when you hammer unto the strings, with the use of your fretting hand. This effect looks similar to the “Tremolo”.


Tremolo. Source:

#3 - The Axe-Otica trick

If you enjoy playing the exotics, then this could be the perfect new trick you should consider. Take a look at figure below, you will notice that each note here is right before a short tap on the same note string.

With a single octave higher, a 12 string-like effect (like the Japanese Koto), is created. Try and pre-fret the lower notes and then use the middle and index finger on your picking hand for the tapping and pulling off strings.

Create fancy notes by applying sufficient pressure at volumes proportionate with the notes indicated in the figure below ;

This more about The Axe-Otica Trick here.

#4 - The nutty trick

The whole string length, located right behind the guitar’s nut can be used in performing some tricks. According to the figure below (figure 4A), you will notice that the there is a backward rake right behind the guitar nut, and this creates a very high-pitched and chime-like tune.

In figure 4b below, you will notice that there was a bend created behind the nut, and that creates some twangy tunes or something like a pedal steel sound.

In this situation, you need to create a sound on the G –Chord, then you can create the bend by pressing the second string down, with the use of the middle finger on your picking hand.

#5 - Create the bird songs effect

You can also create some “bird songs” effect on your Acoustic Guitar Strings. You can do this by creating the “Floyd-Rose” whammy effect.

In figure 6 located below , for instance, you can s9imply begin creating the effect by pointing the Tremolo bar , far from the fretboard, and after you pick each note indicated on the bars (bars 1,3 and 4), gently slap the tip of the bar and that will create an increase in sound pitch.

A fluttering sound will follow this effect immediately bar returns to its inactive position.

#6 - Create some pet sounds

If you are familiar with the song; Horse whinny by Eddie Van Halen, then the next figure should explain it all. The open-string in the figure below shows that some tricks can be performed.

You need to touch the string gently with the first finger of your fretting hand, to create a unique harmony.

Then release the bar gently and gradually in order to add your vibrato effect. In the second figure (figure 7b), you need to dive on the strings, until they go slack, then allow your G-string to touch one of the poles , and then release the bar to create the wonderful “hiccup” sound.

#7 - Move Overboard

If you have been playing the ripping solo, then this trick should easier for you. If you accidentally yank off the High E string on your fretboard and get an undesirable effect, you can actually transform this into something desirable.

The figure below (figure 5), shows how you can achieve something positive from this effect . simply play the 9th fret while you are on the second beat, then yank it off immediately , before releasing it , to create the perfect rhythm desired.

The second bar also contains a similar move, but this time it must be performed on the 1st string and with the E note.


Just like trying any other skill on your guitar , it is important that you practice these tricks and tips as often as you can in order to master them perfectly. You can also introduce some other tricks that may come up while you practice these ones.

Many master guitarists who developed these cool tricks might have stumbled upon them by accidents , and you can help the coming generation of beginner guitarists by becoming innovative with your own new tunes too.

Natalie Wilson

I've been an avid guitar fan for as long as I can remember and the day I embarked on my six-string journey at the young age of 5 truly defined the course of my entire life. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use this blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world. Welcome to

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