How To Choose The Most Suitable Guitar Playing Styles

(Last Updated On: April 11, 2021)
Playing guitar with the most comfortable styles.

Quite some hot–tempered guitars or singers typically start learning the guitar with the complicated styles and songs. Consequently, they will give up learning the guitar completely after several weeks.

The guitar playing style just like the singing style for a singer. It’s particular music genre or more precisely the style how the guitar being played within the music genre itself.

What You Should Take Into Consideration?

Selecting the right guitar style relies on some factors. The essential choices for guitar are acoustic electric, acoustic, solid body electric jazz electric and classical. Other variations exist, however, these remain the key choices.

1) Your Guitaring Skill Level & Experience

In case you are an amateur then your goal should first be to get yourself a simple to play guitar. Some physical awkwardness, as well as finger pain, often impedes beginners’ learning process. It is just difficult to get accustomed to pushing down strings as you hand becomes contorted so as to make another chord that you are currently learning. Most new students throw in the towel after only several weeks because it pains too much. A good classical guitar bearing nylon strings often ease the pain on the finger. Another excellent selection is a very hard body electric whose “action” is very close which means that all the frets can be found near to the instrument’s fretboard. Alternatively, if you are in a position to afford one, a great acoustic bearing close action would be ideal.

2) Your Preferred Music Style / Genre

The second determining factor is your favorite music style. And for this one again several choices exist. If Rock is your favorite genre, then an electric guitar accompanied by an amplifier with several built-in effects for sound will be most suited for you. This will also work if you would rather play the lead guitar manner that comes with country music. Folk, country, the soft rock where chords are mainly needed for you to play can be achieved in the best way by use of an acoustic electric or acoustic guitar. Classical guitars, either electric or plain are the best to use for classical or Latin music where there is much finger picking. If you prefer jazz, then an electric guitar for jazz is the best as you will get top play jazz chords very easily and with comparatively close action as well up to its neck.

Why You Should Choose Your Styles?

Some guitar players may feel confused and encountered some difficulties in selecting the suitable guitar playing styles that they should focus on.

And the problem is that most of the guitarists or singers might come across and capable of playing many types of music genre.

In my opinion, you should choose one or two styles that you will be focusing on if you want to be famous in the music industry. No singer/guitarist that are famous in multiple genres.

4 Different Guitar Playing Styles

There are four most common styles of guitar playing that every guitarist learned.

1) Rhythm Guitar

Rhythm guitar playing style is typically played to accompany the melody sung by a singer. And it’s the most used guitaring style for the singer who always performs their song that needs to be accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

It is played by grabbing the chord shape/riff position with left-hand and the right-hand strums the guitar strings with a pick to generate the musical melody of the song. If you put rhythm guitar into a band, it will become a powerful musical instrument to accompany and harmonize all the sounds played in the band. It will further harmonize and rhythmize the whole performance of the band itself.

The most suitable types of the guitar to play this kind of rhythm style are acoustic guitar and hollow body electric guitar.

2) Lead Guitar

It is the most difficult guitar playing style for guitarists. And it the most advanced guitar skill that you must learn if you want to become a professional singer that can sing and play guitar like John Mayer.

The lead guitar playing style always utilized in playing the main melody lines and riffs of the song itself. It’s the advanced guitar technique that you can consider to master, as it will improve your overall solo performance if you can play a guitar solo part into your song.

For Rock, Jazz or Blues music genres, the electric guitar is more suitable for that. However, if it’s for Folk, Celtic kind of genres, you should use the steel string acoustic guitar instead.

3) Fingerpicking Guitar

The fingerpicking style is used to accompany the vocalist and lead instrument. It is performed by being the left-hand holding a chord shape, and the right-hand fingers are picking/plucking the strings with the fingernails to generate the music and melody. For some advanced guitar players, they can play the full range of chords, bass lines, and melodies at the same time merely by utilizing this fingerpicking technique.

This is the most advanced and important style that every singer and guitarist needed to master. You can play the easily entire song by yourself without been accompanied by any other musical instrument. It’s the perfect style you can use for your solo performance. And it’s suitable for many types of music genre such as Blues, Celtic Folk, Pop, Country, Jazz, Latin and many other music genres.

4) Slide Guitar

The slide guitar playing style is most suitable for the blues, country and rock music. It is performed by placing a slide on one of the fingers that control the chord shape and with another hand strumming or plucking the strings. The guitar player always moves the slide along the strings to create more vibrating pitches.

Choose Your Guitar Style Based on Your Music Genre

You will surely get a bit confused if it is your first time buying a guitar because there are myriads of guitars on the market today. If you are not adequately guided by a professional musician, you may end up buying the wrong guitar for your type of music. Of course, one significant factor that you need to consider when buying a guitar is the musical genre you would like to focus on. 

If you intend to play heavy metal or hard rock, for example, you should at least choose a guitar that fits that genre. You should consider, for example, buying from ESP, Ibanez, BC, or Rich. These brands basically construct their guitars with lower action and thinner necks.

What are the Different Types of Musical Genres?

Most guitars are capable of handling various musical styles. Yet, it is better to buy the type of guitar that is tailored fit for your musical genre. It would be helpful to learn the different types of music genres before purchasing a new guitar. Here are the most popular music genres:

1) Rock

Rock music is a broad and popular music genre. Musically, rock music has revolved around the use of electric guitar along with the use of electric bass, and drums in a rock group. Rock, of course, is usually a song-based genre that makes use of a 4/4 time signature. It also makes use of the verse-chorus form. 

Many guitar enthusiasts are motivated to buy guitars because they want to play rock music. Playing rock music is undoubtedly more challenging. This is because the famous rock riffs are quite challenging to master and necessitate complex fingering patterns. Learning these rock riffs, thus, requires assiduous and constant practice. 

As you progress further in learning rock, you will soon learn power chords, which are found in most rock songs. You will also learn string skipping and many other rock guitar techniques. Power chords are frequently used in rock music and in many of its subgenres. In blues, however, the dominant seventh chords are commonly used. But in rock music, power chords are more often used. 

You don’t play power chords only to resolve them into another chord that is not built to be settled into another chord. Moreover, power chords are not characterized by innate tension. Power chords also lack that defining note that lets the listeners tell whether what is being used is a minor, major, or diminished one. Because of the use of power chords, rock is often characterized by a certain ambiguity that leaves much of the rock song’s harmonic sections to different interpretations. 

Many guitar students start learning to play guitar by learning to play power chords that are found in many rock songs. They try to master these power chords. Eventually, they discover that they can easily transpose these power chords by moving these power chords along the guitar’s neck. 

2) Blues

Blues is a genre that catapulted several bands to popularity. It is characterized by polyrhythms, and it is rooted in the West African music tradition. Polyrhythmic entails a simultaneous mixture of contrasting rhymes. It is distinguished by two sounds or rhythms that are playing simultaneously together.

Learning how to play blues is very satisfying for it enables you to learn the roots of early music in America. To play blues, you would need either an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. At the start, you need to know the blues scale. This scale stands apart from other musical scales. 

You would also need a good musical mentor to teach you the different blues techniques like how you would vocalize on the guitar and how you would borrow some popular blues riffs from some of the greatest blues guitarists.

3) Bluegrass Acoustic or Flatpick

If you intend to play Bluegrass music, you should buy a good acoustic guitar. Bluegrass, of course, is a music genre that belongs to the American root music. It has evolved in the 1940s in the Appalachian Region of the U.S. Its name was derived from Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys’ band.

If you could play Bluegrass style, you only prove that you have a deeper understanding of guitar playing. The onlookers would think that when you play in Bluegrass style, you are simply just using overly simple chords. Yet, Bluegrass, as a musical style, entails complex guitar playing. 

As you listen to an expert flatpicker, for example, you will readily notice how his manner of guitar playing differs. You will notice too that the sounds produced by flatpickers differ from the sounds created when playing the guitar using a pick. The sounds created by flatpickers are crisper, brighter, and more metallic.

When you play in Bluegrass style, you usually anticipate the notes. While if you play laid back blues, you will notice that the notes are just behind the beat.  Variations do exist on flatpicking. One such variation showcases the use of a thumb pick and includes cross-picking.

Bluegrass has three major subgenres. There is the Traditional Bluegrass wherein musicians play folk songs and other traditional chord progressions. In this subgenre, the only instrument used are acoustic instruments. Progressive Bluegrass, on the other hand, may utilize electric instruments and may borrow songs from other music genres. The third major bluegrass subgenre is the Bluegrass gospel that makes use of Christian lyrics.

4) Electric Country

Another musical genre that may pique your curiosity is the Electric Country. It started with the use of acoustic guitar, but now, they are using an electric guitar. Hence, it is called an “electric country.” The vestige of country music is there, and the only difference is that it is using electric guitars. Some people call this type of music, “Country Rock.” But the sound of the electric country is incredible, and if you intend to focus on this genre, you would surely create great sound when you play with your bandmate or friends. 

To know fantastic licks, you should never hesitate to learn from the experts. You can visit Nashville and find a reliable mentor if you intend to focus on this type of music genre.

5) Jazz

Jazz had its roots in ragtime and blues. It originated in the communities of African Americans in New Orleans, United States, and later evolved into a distinctive music genre. Jazz music may be difficult to define, but one defining element of jazz is improvisation. Thus, it is said that the sky’s the limit when it comes to jazz guitar playing. 

Freedom of expression is paramount in jazz music, and thus, jazz is characterized by a wide array of improvising and sounds. At the start of learning jazz, your mentor will teach you the proper harmony and the essential jazz chords. The electric guitar is the instrument of choice among jazz players. Yet, you can also use acoustic guitars to play jazz.

6) Folk and Country

If you want to focus on folk and country music, your primary instrument should be acoustic guitars, but you can also use electric guitars. Folk music is distinct from country music, though they sound almost the same. The melodies and lyrics are also laid out virtually in the same style. The folk style, in particular, is characterized by ornate acoustic fingerpicking. Some musicians can easily dabble in both folk and country music with ease. 

With regards to playing style, the guitar-playing styles of both folk and country music are more complicated and exhibit more nuances as compared to other genres like that of punk. Folk and country music singers, however, are proud of their music because the masses love their music.  

7) Classical

If you would like to focus on the classical music genre, you better buy a classical guitar. But you would surely find playing classical guitar very demanding. Classical music is the most demanding musical genre. Classical music, of course, is timeless, and for this reason, they are called “classic.” Since classical music is timeless, you can perform them anytime and anywhere, and still end up being appreciated by everyone. 

Playing classical music, however, is more technically demanding. You need to practice more to get the hang of it. Interestingly, classical music is great because it is related to Folk and Celtic styles, as well. It, therefore, allows for more creativity and possibility as you advanced in learning the classics.

Notes:

Even a single model of a guitar can be readily used to play in various genres of music like Jazz, Soul, Blues, Funk, Rock, Metal, and Country. When it comes to versatility, the electric guitar is considered more versatile than the classical and acoustic guitar. Between the classical guitar and acoustic guitar, however, the acoustic guitar is more frequently preferred. You will often hear your favorite songs played using acoustic guitars than classical guitars.

My Personal Advice

We recommend starting out with the genre you are most familiar with. This will get you a good start because you will be more motivated & passionate. You can move on to learn other guitar technique and style after that.

Every music genre might have its very own corresponding guitar playing styles. Therefore, the guitar styles and techniques you must learn is very closely related to the music genre you will be focusing on. As a singer, the music genre selection is more important the guitaring styles you want to focus on. “Music genre comes first; guitaring styles come second.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, in case you are an amateur, begin with a classical/acoustic guitar which is simple to play so as to establish a stronger guitaring foundation. After overcoming the first “pain” of learning and have already built up the callouses for your finger then you need to do some thinking regarding the guitar type that meets the objective of your music. If you like playing and want to improve, then do not spare any expense if it is affordable to you. Select an instrument that eventually will grow on you. Many guitarists own such a guitar, and they value it.

At the initial stage, you can learn several guitar styles at the same time.In fact, I’m sure that you will be having more fun and able to master the fundamental skills more quickly. It’s not a bad thing that you choose to focus on several styles. Do you know that many famous guitarists and singers are excellent at performing various styles? The fact is that, when it comes to the commercial and music industry, they tend to focus on the one or two styles that will make them more famous and outstanding.

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