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Top 50 Intermediate Guitar Songs Everyone Should Know

intermediate guitar solos

The topic of intermediate guitar songs and solos is a tricky one, because it means different things to different people. Some players learn certain techniques faster than others, and what is advanced to some is borderline-beginner to others.

Nevertheless, songs like “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney, “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix are popular, time-honored classics that you probably won’t learn as a brand new guitarist.

Top 50 Intermediate Guitar Songs

This article will cover acoustic and electric intermediate guitar songs, as well as intermediate guitar solos. Each of these pieces focuses on different styles and techniques. The main thing to remember as you attempt these songs is that they are meant to stretch you.

You may listen to some and think they’re impossible, but moving into the intermediate guitar world means facing up to the universal feeling of “impossibility” when it comes to new techniques. Remember that everyone feels that way at some point, so keep practicing even when you feel like giving up!

Acoustic Intermediate Guitar Songs

1. Space Oddity – David Bowie (Tabs)

Bowie used several special techniques in this acoustic hit. Pay attention to the left-hand chord voicings used throughout the song.

2. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran (Tabs)

This song is a popular choice for weddings, and a little trickier for most beginners. While practicing, focus on capturing a soulful feeling at a slow tempo.

3. Blackbird – Paul McCartney (Tabs)

This is probably the most popular fingerpicking song. There are a few ways to play this one, but the classically influenced guitar lines will challenge you to think outside of your box a bit.

4. Neon – John Mayer (Tabs)

Some would put this in the advanced category, but it’s actually fairly repetitive and very accessible if you know how to slow down.

5. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin (Tabs)

This might feel like a beginner song once you get the first phrase out, but to play the whole song soulfully takes some precision and passion!

6. Heart of Life – John Mayer (Tabs)

A more advanced pluck-and-chuck song, this is a really good way to get into flicking melodies out.

7. Stop This Train – John Mayer (Tabs)

This song challenges you to combine a melody, bass line, and inner voice into a pluck and chuck pattern.

8. Details in the Fabric – Jason Mraz (Tabs)

This intermediate guitar song uses a fairly intricate strumming pattern that will challenge your ability to hold syncopation!

9. Country Roads – John Denver (Tabs)

“Country Roads” is great song to learn basic four stroke thumbpicking. Focus on the guitar part in the first verse of the original version.

10. I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Deathcab for Cutie (Tabs)

This song mixes alternating bass and thumb slaps with flicks into a fairly easy pattern.

11. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews (Tabs)

“Crash Into Me” builds an interesting two part guitar texture where you bang out a nice bass line while strumming chords on the treble strings – excellent for developing rest strokes!

12. Leaves That Are Green – Paul Simon (Tabs)

This is a classic thumb-picking song that’s sure to present a challenge to any new, intermediate student.

13. Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Guthrie (Tabs)

This legendary folk song is just a 16 bar pattern that repeats. See if you can carry on a conversation while pedaling this pattern!

14. The Boxer – Paul Simon (Tabs)

Another legendary thumb-picking song that mixes four stroke patterns with moving chords and walking bass lines.

15. Operator – Jim Croce (Tabs)

“Operator” is a beautiful fingerpicking song that uses some different rhythmic patterns worth learning!

16. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin (Tabs)

The alternate tuning in this song will get you thinking about the guitar in a new way. It opens up a lot of possibilities while challenging you to break your typical patterns.

Intermediate Electric Guitar Songs

1. Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Tabs)

Especially suited for mastering the “rock muting” techniques (where you almost strum while muting all but one note), this song is a must for electric guitarists!

2. Under the Bridge – The Red Hot Chili Peppers (Tabs)

“Under the Bridge” mixes several techniques and has a number of different sections that take some thought for intermediate guitarists to master.

3. Layla – Eric Clapton (Tabs)

Some of the rhythm and lead parts in “Layla” aren’t complex, but capturing the anguished sound is at the essence of this song’s challenges.

4. Slow Dancing In a Burning Room – John Mayer (Tabs)

This is another song that integrates several different techniques into one line and needs to be executed soulfully to be convincing.

5. Wild Side – Motley Crue (Tabs)

“Wild Side” is not as difficult as it sounds. The riff is a great introduction to playing fast without being too challenging.

6. Black Dog – Led Zeppelin (Tabs)

The notes in this song are challenging enough, but the timing really throws a lot of players off the horse. Challenge yourself to play this along with the record or even better – a band!

7. Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan (Tabs)

On paper it’s not complicated, but the nuances of muting the strings properly to play this song are quite challenging. You may consider getting help from a guitar teacher to master this one!

8. Never There – Cake (Tabs)

This is one of those intermediate guitar songs that is a surprise challenge. The song has some fast notes with string skips that are quite difficult to perfect. 

9. Wish You Were Here – Incubus (Tabs)

The secret to Incubus’ magic is not so much in the notes but in Michael Einziger’s shoegaze guitar sounds. See if you can get the tone and effects down.

10. Enter Sandman – Metallica (Tabs)

If you want to learn what metal guitar is supposed to sound like, this is an excellent place to start!

11. Thunderstruck – AC/DC (Tabs)

Some would call this song advanced, but the shortness and repetitiveness of this riff make it a really good study piece for hammer-ons and pull-offs.

12. Back in Black – AC/DC (Tabs)

If the last AC/DC song you tried kicked your butt, give this one a try for a more moderate challenge that satisfies the same itch.

13. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars (Tabs)

Lots of Bruno Mars songs have worthy funk guitar parts, and “Treasure” is just one great choice. Getting used to the syncopation and articulation are the keys to success here.

14. Brick House – The Commodores (Tabs)

This song often gets called for covers, so if you’re in a band it’s best to start learning it now!

15. You Got Another Thing Coming – Judas Priest (Tabs)

Just playing the notes isn’t too difficult, but synchronizing with a rhythm section in a rock band is very telling of your ability to make this song work.

Intermediate Guitar Solos

  1. Something – Beatles (Tabs)
  2. Hotel California – Eagles (Tabs)
  3. Johnny B Goode – Chuck Berry (Tabs)
  4. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (Tabs)
  5. Tamacun – Rodrigo y Gabriela (Tabs)
  6. Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix (Tabs)
  7. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones (Tabs)
  8. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin (Tabs)
  9. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix (Tabs)
  10. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (Tabs)
  11. One of These Nights – Eagles (Tabs)
  12. Belief – John Mayer (Tabs)
  13. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne (Tabs)
  14. One (Intro) – Metallica (Tabs)
  15. Heat Wave – Linda Ronstadt (Tabs)
  16. La Grange – ZZ Top (Tabs)
  17. Mud on the Tires – Brad Paisley (Tabs)
  18. My Sharona – The Knack (Tabs)
  19. Spooky – Atlanta Rhythm Section (Tabs)
  20. Black Magic Woman – Carlos Santana (Tabs)

Each of these intermediate guitar songs and solos made the list because of their popularity and influence. Remember that these songs are likely to present some unexpected challenges. If you want to brush up on your skills, try an online guitar class to get the help you need!

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Banjo vs Guitar: The Difference, Difficulty, & How to Decide

guitar vs banjo

The battle between the banjo vs guitar is a tough one, especially when you’re new to music and trying to decide which instrument is right for you. In order to make the right choice, consider the following factors, and check out the poll below to see what other readers think is the best instrument to play!

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Banjo vs Guitar: Key Things to Consider

Musical Style & Preferences

banjo vs guitar

It’s important to think about what style of music you want to learn. Keep in mind that all music instruction starts off with similar, basic concepts. So either instrument will suit the purposes of teaching you the skills you need to get started as a musician.

It’s not until you progress a bit that you start to understand the intricacies of a particular musical style. And it is a common misconception that the banjo is an instrument solely used for bluegrass. Both the banjo and guitar have been used in a wide variety of genres, including blues, jazz, folk, country, and even pop.

Both instruments lend an interesting sound to any genre of music. Even a few classical composers saw fit to use the banjo when it was introduced to them in the late 1800s. So, round one in the battle between the banjo vs guitar, does not go to either instrument. They both are very versatile and can facilitate many different styles of playing.

Difficulty of the Guitar vs Banjo

guitar vs banjo

Depending on your size, the banjo might be easier to play because the neck is smaller and there are less strings. Some banjos tend to be a bit heavy for certain people though, especially children.

What about the ease of pressing down on the strings? Well, this can be easily adjusted depending on the gauge of strings you use on either instrument. Thinner strings will be easier on the fingers, no matter what instrument you choose.

The tuning you decide to learn will affect your ease of playing. The banjo is tuned to an open tuning, called “Open G tuning.” The guitar is typically tuned to “Standard” which are the notes E, A, D, G, B, E, and this does not create an open chord like the banjo tuning does.

This means that whenever you pick up a banjo and strum across the strings, it immediately makes a pleasant sound because the strings are already tuned to one of the chords you will learn to play.

So in this round of the banjo vs guitar debate, it appears that the banjo has a leg up on the competition. However, it is important to understand that certain guitar styles, such as the dobro that we often see in bluegrass music, will also be tuned to an Open G tuning, thereby taking away any advantage that the banjo has over the guitar.

Learning & Playing Chords

guitar vs banjo

When you’re learning to play in open tunings on the banjo, you will learn simple two and three finger chords that make up the basic chords you need to play bluegrass music. For example, the first few chords you’ll learn in Open G tuning on the banjo will likely be G, C, and D.

People often ask if learning chords is more difficult on the guitar because there are more strings. This is certainly the case when you’re playing in standard tuning. However, the chord shapes on both the banjo and the guitar all fall into five basic categories.

Once you have learned the five basic chords (C, A, G, E, and D) you have the ability to play any of the chords that you will need to learn for either instrument.

How to Decide

Ultimately, the final decision comes down to which instrument makes you the happiest. Which do you enjoy playing the most? Whatever you decide, you will find that the same skills you learn on the guitar allow you to easily take up the banjo later on, or vice versa.

The best way to end the debate between the guitar vs banjo is to actually try a few private lessons. At TakeLessons, there are a variety of experienced teachers who play both the guitar and banjo, if you need some professional guidance making your final decision.

Regardless of which instrument you choose, when you start your musical journey on the banjo or guitar, it will be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make! Good luck, and let us know which instrument you decided on in the comments below.

Willy MPost Author: Willy M.
Willy M. teaches banjo and guitar lessons in Winston Salem, NC. Willy has been teaching for over 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

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Easy Guitar Tabs

Easy Guitar Tabs for Beginners

Easy Guitar TabsEasy guitar tabs are perfect for beginning guitarists looking to quickly learn some new songs. Using guitar tabs – a simplified form of musical notation – guitarists are also able to easily share compositions.

In this article, we’ll share how to read tablature as well as several easy guitar tabs for beginners to popular songs and riffs that you can start playing today!

How to Read Guitar Tabs

Before we dive into the songs and riffs, let’s start with an overview of tablature. Guitar tabs are written out as six lines with each line corresponding to a string on your guitar, E-B-G-D-A-E from the top down, as shown in the diagram below.

how to read guitar tabs

Guitar tabs show you which note needs to be played on which string by placing a fret number on the corresponding line, but they do not tell you which finger to use or the timing of the piece.

Read guitar tabs from left to right and use your ear to determine the timing of each note. If you’re struggling with a tab, it’s always a good idea to listen to a recording of the song, or work with a guitar teacher for some extra help.

3 Easy Guitar Tabs for Beginners

Before playing the songs and riffs below, make sure your guitar is in tune. You can easily tune your guitar with an app on your smart phone. Here’s a guitar tuning tutorial that shows you how.

Now, onto the beginner guitar tabs…

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

You can play a wide range of notes without sliding all over the neck of your guitar in the song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

twinkle twinkle little star guitar tab

For this tab, keep your left hand in what is known as “first position.” Your index finger will play all notes on the first fret, your middle finger plays all notes on the second fret, your ring finger plays the third fret, and your pinkie plays the fourth fret.

Keeping your left hand still and using this fingering will help you build better speed and coordination as you learn how to play the guitar.

“Three Blind Mice”

You can also play “Three Blind Mice” in the same position noted above. Here is the tab for this catchy nursery rhyme.

three blind mice guitar tab

“Happy Birthday”

Knowing how to play “Happy Birthday” on the guitar always comes in handy! Try out this familiar tune using the tab below.

happy birthday guitar tab

As you can see, “Happy Birthday” is a melody that can be played on just one string and is composed of four short phrases. The tricky part of this guitar tab is deciding on the right fingering.

We recommend starting with your index finger on the second fret, your pinkie on the fifth fret, and your ring finger on the fourth fret. You can play the first phrase with your left hand in this position.

To play the note on the seventh fret in the second phrase, you will need to slide your pinkie up to reach. You can then play the fifth fret with your middle finger.

In the third phrase, you will have to slide your pinkie up again to reach the ninth fret, and then slide back down to play the fourth fret with your ring finger and the second fret with your index finger.

For the final phrase, use your pinkie to play the tenth fret and your ring finger to play the ninth fret. Then, slide your hand down to play the fifth fret with your index finger and the seventh fret with your ring finger.

Following this guide to the fingering of this piece enables you to hit all the notes while making minimal movements with your hand up and down the neck of the guitar.

Easy Guitar Tabs for 3 Riffs

A guitar riff is a short, catchy series of notes that is usually repeated a few times within a song. Riffs are typically simple to play and easily recognizable.

Rock and pop music are full of great riffs that you can learn to play quickly. Here are a few examples with easy guitar tabs!

“Smoke on the Water”

This popular guitar riff comes from Deep Purple’s classic song “Smoke on the Water.”

smoke on the water guitar tab

You’ll notice that you need to play two notes on the same fret at the same time in order to play this riff.

One easy way to accomplish this is to lay your index finger across multiple strings in a partial barre chord and only strum the G and D strings. Hold the partial barre shape with your left hand and move your hand from the third fret to the fifth and sixth frets as needed.

“Sunshine of Your Love”

This riff from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” is also quick and easy to learn.

sunshine of your love guitar tab

To use the proper fingering on this riff, start with your ring finger on the twelfth fret and your index finger on the tenth.

Now, this is a little bit tricky. When you play the first 10th fret note on your E string, slide your hand slightly up the neck to play the 10th fret with your ring finger. Now you can easily reach the 8th fret note that is coming up next.

You’ll notice that this riff calls for a bent string, as indicated by the “b” on the eighth fret of the A string. To bend this note, push the string up the neck of the guitar as you play. Bending a note creates a distinctive, bluesy tone.

“Satisfaction” – Guitar Riff Tabs

One of the most-loved riffs in rock and roll comes from the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Check out the tab below:

satisfaction guitar tab

You can play this awesome guitar riff all on one string! To practice the correct fingering and play with better speed, use your index finger to play the second fret, your ring finger on the fourth fret, and your pinkie on the fifth fret.

Free Guitar Tabs for Beginners

There are tons of free resources online where you can find easy guitar tabs for beginners. A couple of our favorite sites with popular songs include Ultimate Guitar and Songsterr.

Keep in mind as you browse guitar tabs that most of what you see online was submitted by other guitarists just like you. If a tab doesn’t sound quite right, somebody may have heard the song differently or made a mistake when transcribing it.

Online guitar tabs are a great place to start when learning how to play your favorite songs. But if you’re looking for more detailed instruction, nothing beats private guitar lessons!

A guitar teacher can give you the attention and guidance you need to master tricky songs and riffs. Check out the guitar teachers at TakeLessons today to get started.

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Photo Credit: dustinphillips

7 Easy Jazz Guitar Songs for Beginners

Beginner jazz guitar songs

Looking for some easy jazz guitar songs to get you started? Jazz music can sound very complicated, at first. It requires a combination of skills like speed, precision, and endurance. There are many great jazz guitarists that can attest to that.

While advanced jazz can take quite a while to work up to, beginner jazz guitar songs aren’t difficult or time-consuming to learn. In this article, we’ll provide videos and tabs for seven jazz songs that any beginner can start learning today. Let’s jump right into it!

7 Easy Jazz Guitar Songs for Beginners

Summertime

“Summertime” is a catchy jazz standard composed by George Gershwin. It was originally written for the opera Porgy and Bess. Sublime’s “Summertime” is based on this piece.

This eerie melody will stick in your head all day! Below is a simplified tutorial. I think this person does a good job breaking it down (even better than reading tabs):

Jazz musicians like to embellish simple melodies. Here is a more advanced version of “Summertime”:

Autumn Leaves

“Autumn Leaves” is medium tempo jazz piece by Joseph Kosma. Here is a nice recording by Eric Clapton. Listen to the song, and then learn the chord progression.

Be sure to look up any chords you’re unfamiliar with. Strum along with the recording and pay attention to the tempo! It’s not very fast. Take a look at the chords here.

Fly Me To The Moon

“Fly Me To The Moon” is a jazz standard made famous by Frank Sinatra. The steady quarter note pulse is a great way to practice changing 7th chords, a staple of jazz music.

This is one of our favorite easy jazz guitar songs. Watch this video of the Jason Mraz version to find out why! You can find the the accompanying chords here.

Blue Monk

“Blue Monk” is a B flat blues piece written by Thelonious Monk. Try learning both parts and playing it with a friend! Look here for the chords and tabs. Here is an advanced version of the piece:

Next, check out this simplified version:

Blue Bossa

“Blue Bossa” is a bossa-nova piece with an infectious groove. (Bossa-nova is Latin-influenced jazz).

Here are the chords and tabs to the song. Watch the video below and familiarize yourself with the melody. Notice the choppy way the chords are being played:

So What

This is a famous piece by Miles Davis. “So What” is a piece of modal jazz, which is built on modes rather than major and minor scales. If you’re not sure what a mode is, ask your guitar teacher for a lesson on them!

Check out the tabs for this song. This video is a great example of the main theme on guitar:

I also recommend you watch this video of Miles Davis and John Coltrane ripping the piece apart in 1959:

Nuages

“Nuages” is a piece of gypsy jazz by Django Reinhardt. Django played at incredible speeds with only two fingers! He lost his other two in a fire.

Django’s solos and improvisation move at intimidating speeds, but the main melody of Nuages is easy to understand. Here is a version of the piece for solo guitar.

“Nuages” is based on a classical piece by the same name, composed by Claude Debussy. Look up that piece and see if you can hear the similarities. Here is a recording of Django:

If it’s too difficult to play the chords and melody at the same time, just play the melody. You can do this by only playing the highest note in each chord cluster. Here is a close up version with a simplified melody:

As you begin to learn beginner jazz guitar, don’t worry about the improvisations and embellishments (the fast, fancy stuff). Start by making sure you understand every chord in the song, then move on to the melody.

Try learning one of these songs with a friend so you can both practice trading lead and rhythm.

Bonus!

Want to hear some advanced jazz? Check out this video by Snarky Puppy! There’s a cool guitar riff at about a minute in:

Once you learn some of these easy jazz guitar songs, you’ll be ready for more advanced playing. Even better, you’ll be better equipped to write your own jazz song. Have fun with your playing and make sure to practice every single day!

Post Author: Dylan P.
Dylan P. teaches guitar, music theory, and music performance lessons in Independence, MO. He has trained in many genres of music and has experience teaching students with learning disabilities. Learn more about Dylan P. here!

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Everything You Need to Know About the Blues Scale on Guitar

blues scale guitar

Learning the blues scale on guitar is something of a rite of passage for every guitarist. If you’re a beginner with reasonable dexterity and you’re serious about learning, you’ll find the blues scale to be extremely useful.

For intermediate guitarists, this scale is essential, but it’s also important to understand that scales are merely the alphabet of the blues language. It’s important to go beyond that and play real blues melodies as well, so you can start to better understand the style.

In this article, we’ll talk about the technique for learning the blues scale, as well as some more advanced theory on how to apply it to real music.  

What is the Blues Scale?

In its simplest form, the blues scale is simply a pentatonic scale. That might sound complicated, so let’s break down the theory.

Look at a piano if you have one, or look up an image of piano keys. Take a look at the black keys on the piano. They naturally fall into the pentatonic scale pattern. If you want to hear the pentatonic scale in the easiest way, just play anything you want on the black keys only.

The gaps between the groups of black keys show you something very important about the scale. Some of the notes are farther apart than others. This is because there are two types of “intervals” (or, spaces between notes) in the pentatonic scale. There are whole steps and minor thirds.

The whole step is made up of two half-steps. This is also equal to two frets on the guitar. The minor third is made up of three half-steps, which is equal to three frets on the guitar.

Whole steps and minor thirds are also referred to as “steps” and “skips.” Being aware of this pattern of steps and skips is the most important aspect of learning the blues scale.

Practice with the Pentatonic Scale

Let’s put the theory we’ve just learned into practice. The main resting or finishing note of a key is called the “root.” 

As an example, we’ll look at the key of A minor. In the key of A minor you have the notes A – C – D – E – G. Those would be all natural notes (with no sharps or flats) and all white keys on a piano.

In any key you make a pentatonic scale in, you start with the root and go up a minor third (three half steps), then a whole step, then another whole step, then one more minor third, then one last whole step.

So in the key of A minor, the interval pattern from the root  is:

(A) Skip (C) Step (D) Step (E) Skip (G) Step (A)

The same interval pattern would apply to any key, so even if the notes change, the sound of the scale will be similar. In other words, the interval structure is what determines most of the mood of a scale.

When you go to learn this on the guitar, the main thing you will learn to do is memorize “boxes” or patterns of whole steps and minor thirds that go across the strings.

We will talk about these more in the next section, but realize that it is an incredibly important and fundamental exercise to master at least one pentatonic box that you can use for playing songs.

Difference Between the Pentatonic & Blues Scales

The main difference between the blues scale and the pentatonic is the addition of one note. In the whole step between the third and fourth notes, you will play the note that falls between the third and fourth notes.

For example, in A minor, you’ll add an Eb in between D and E. So the interval pattern for the blues scale in the key of A minor would look like:

A (Skip) C (Whole Step) D (Half Step) Eb (Half Step) E (Skip) G (Whole Step) A

The reason this extra note is present is because it has a special place in a lot of blues melodies. It’s important to mention that it’s not enough just to have the extra note in the scale. The way you use it to create the blues sound is to play it in blues licks.

The best way to understand this is to learn the scale, and then play songs that use it so you can see the way it gets applied.

Playing the notes of the blues scale in totally random ways does not produce a “bluesy” sound; only playing the scale in the way it shows up in the traditional canon of songs will get you to the right place as a blues guitar player.

RELATED: 5 Easy Blues Guitar Licks

The Blues Scales in Common Keys

When you start out learning the blues scale on guitar, you will want to learn the scale in the most common keys that it’s played in. Let’s start with the E blues scale.

E Blues Scale

This scale is usually considered the easiest to start with because it uses open strings and gives your fingers more time to adjust to changes.

E Blues Scale

Source: Total Guitar and Bass

In tablature, it will look like this.

E blues scale

Source: National Guitar Academy

If you want to play in most of the keys of the blues though, you need to learn the scale in a position that doesn’t use any open strings…

A Blues Scale

The thing that is so nice about the guitar is this: once you know this shape, all you have to do is move it around to the key you want to play in!

A Blues Scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

Here is what the A blues scale looks like in tablature. 

 

A Blues Scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

Here are charts and tabs for two more of the most common keys. Give them a try and see if you can transfer the shape just by finding the root/starting note on your thick E string.

G Blues Scale

G Blues Scale

Source: ThoughtCo.

g blues scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

C Blues Scale

C blues scale

Source: Guitar Command

C blues scale

Source: SimplifyingTheory.com

Practicing the Blues Scale on Guitar

Practice these scales in a way that inspires you. There are plenty of fun ways to master the blues scale on guitar, and you should choose the ones that inspire you the most.

Remember: motivation comes from action! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Repeat the A minor blues scale from the lowest note to the highest note, and then back down until you can remember the notes in order without looking at a tab or diagram.
    • Switch between reading the diagram and then trying to remember, to see where your memory has gaps.
  • Play one note at a time in the scale, along with a metronome at 60 BPM.
  • Try to remember the finger pattern while playing with your eyes closed. Open your eyes to look only if you get lost.
  • Pick a random song and try to place the scale shape you learned on the root note.
    • You can try different notes until you find the root by ear, or look up the key of the song and place the scale box on that root.

Knowing the blues scale is like knowing the alphabet, and life is a lot better when you can spell! This scale gets used with specific licks and phrases that define the blues sound, and having a teacher to help you see the connection between the scale and the music can be very helpful.

If you would like to find someone to help you take your blues skills a step further, look for a guitar teacher at TakeLessons. A local or online teacher will help you stay motivated as you progress, and give you more fun ways to practice all you’ve learned!

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Bass vs Guitar: The Differences, Difficulty, and How to Decide

bass vs guitar

For aspiring musicians trying to decide between bass vs guitar, there are many factors to consider. What style of music do you want to play? What do you find most enthralling about that style? And, where do you see yourself fitting into that style?

These are all key questions to answer when considering which instrument to learn. Here, we’ll uncover the pros and cons of playing each instrument.

One important thing to realize is that whichever instrument you start with, you’ll learn concepts that apply to other instruments as well. This is all part of your musical journey and will help you become a multi-faceted musician.

To help you find the better fit for you, let’s start by breaking down the differences between the bass player and the guitar player.

Already made up your mind? Cast your vote on the best instrument to learn below!

Which instrument do you prefer: bass or guitar?

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Bass vs Guitar: How to Decide

Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is the foundation for all music. Without bass, there is nothing to weigh the music down and bring it all together. Oftentimes, the bass player is the most essential element in creating a successful band. They determine the “feel” of the music by laying down a pattern of notes according to their rhythmic pattern with the drums.

Bass players are often understated individuals who appreciate the improvisational nature of their instrument. While other instruments have to stick with their respective written parts, the bass player has a greater ability to play what they feel is right (especially in blues and jazz progressions).

For this reason, the bass player usually learns to be fluent with scales and chordal patterns so they can lay down an awesome bass line! When considering bass, you must ask yourself: is this the role I want to play?

Are you the “understated foundation” of the band? If you feel like this is the right place for you, then the next thing you should do is consider the style of music you want to play.

A Note About 4, 5, or 6 String Basses

guitar vs bass

A bass player has a unique choice in the number of strings they want on their bass guitar. You can purchase basses with 4, 5, or even 6 strings. For the most part, the only real difference between basses with more strings is the availability of higher or lower notes on the instrument.

Most 4-string basses are tuned like a guitar, that is: E-A-D-G. With 5 or 6 string basses you can choose to add lower notes, like B-E-A-D-G, or higher notes. While a 5 or 6 string bass can seem enticing, a majority of the time all you will need is 4 strings.

Pros of Bass:

  • Bass is arguably the most important instrument in a band. A song without bass just isn’t right.
  • Bass allows you to improvise and be active in the creation of a song.
  • You can choose between a wide variety of bass guitars including 4, 5, or 6 string basses.
  • Tabs for bass guitar are readily available.

Cons of Bass:

  • Since the strings on a bass are bigger to provide the right tone, bass players have to work to get really strong fingers.
  • The neck of a bass is also very long, so starting out on a full-size bass might be difficult for musicians with smaller frames.

Guitar

guitar vs bass

The guitar is a very flexible instrument. A talented guitarist can fulfill several roles including rhythm section, lead guitar, or a mix of both! But generally, if you like to be the center of attention, the guitar is a good fit for you.

Guitarists play a defining role in the style of a band. If you listen to artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Kirk Hammett (from Metallica), and then compare them to Tommy Emmanuel, you’ll see just how much flexibility there is with this instrument.

Guitar players are often at the forefront of the band. While the bass provides the foundation of the music, the guitar player builds upon it. By building chord progressions from bass licks and matching them with a drum beat, the guitarist can create some awesome songs!

Pros of Guitar:

  • While bass does have more freedom within a song, if there is a solo it usually goes to the lead guitar player.
  • The strings on a guitar are smaller than on a bass, so there is less finger strength required to learn the guitar
  • There are numerous styles of guitar. You can play like Tommy Emmanuel or Kirk Hammett – the possibilities are endless!
  • Tabs for music are readily available.

Cons of Guitar:

  • The guitar is just as much a rhythmic instrument as a lead instrument, so it requires you to learn more chord shapes than bass.
  • There is never a shortage of guitar players, so getting a gig can be difficult.

Musical Styles for Bass vs Guitar

guitar vs bass

What style of music do you hope to learn to play? What do you listen to in the car? Do you listen to rock, country, blues, jazz, or classical?

Both the guitar and bass have unique responsibilities within each genre of music. Neither guitar nor bass is any better than the other for a certain style of music; they simply perform different tasks.

For example, blues music offers improvisational freedom for both the bass and guitar. The bass player gets to make unique bass lines and the guitarist gets to play solos.

Where Do You Fit In?

If you’re still trying to decide between bass vs guitar, try taking a few introductory lessons. There are many guitar and bass teachers online and locally. Taking beginner level classes or lessons will give you a taste of each instrument so you can make a more informed decision.

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The 10 Best Guitar Brands for Acoustic & Electric Players

best guitar brands

Many beginning guitarists ask the same question: which are the best guitar brands? Is there a particular brand that outshines the others?

Finding the best guitar really comes down to your interests and determining the type of music you want to learn. Although the material you’ll learn for electric, classical, and acoustic is very similar up front, certain guitars are more appropriate for specific genres of music.

In this article, we’ll dive into several top guitar brands to help you decide which guitar is right for you, no matter your style.

Top 10 Best Guitar Brands

Most guitar brands offer a variety of different types of guitars. However, each company is most likely known for a particular style. Here are some of the best guitar brands to get you started!

Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

Taylor


Taylor is a brand known for high quality instruments and well-defined tone. They have been building guitars since 1974. Many of their top-end guitars are made in the United States, while cheaper Taylor models are made in Mexico.

While Taylor guitars are very nice, this particular brand comes with a fairly hefty price tag to match. If you’re ready to invest in your first long-term acoustic guitar, then this is an excellent option!

Breedlove


Breedlove is a lesser-known guitar brand that emerged just a few years ago. Their acoustic guitars offer a great sound, while their process for sourcing materials and testing for quality is a key aspect that sets them apart from larger companies. Instead of mass producing factory-made guitars, every Breedlove guitar is unique in its own way.

The Passport Dreadnought Mahogany guitar has become one of Breedlove’s most popular models because of the rich tone produced by its dark wood. You can see in the video above how the Breedlove style truly sets them apart from the rest of the industry.

Yamaha


You may know them for their motor division, but Yamaha was originally founded as a music company. They began with pianos and after being successful in that market, they built their guitar brand. Today, they’ve been building guitars for over 50 years and are still going strong.

Yamaha manufactures guitars that start in a very reasonable price range and end in the upper levels of the atmosphere. If you’re looking for variety, look no further. The various types of guitars that Yamaha offers have consistently good reviews and are great for all occasions.

Martin


If you have spent any time in the guitar world, you’ve definitely heard of Martin. They have been one of the top guitar brands, in the acoustic space, far longer than anyone else. In fact, they’ve been building guitars since the 1830s!

Many of Martin’s antique models have sold for thousands of dollars, even with some damage. Martin guitars have always been lauded for their perfect tone and comfortable feel. These guitars will definitely require more of an investment to purchase, but they are well worth the cost in the long run.

Arcadia


On the other side of the spectrum from Martin, Arcadia is a company that makes very good beginner guitars. Their focus is on providing you or your child with an affordable guitar to begin learning.

Their models range from the DL41 (a full-size acoustic guitar) to the DL36 (a ½ size guitar). These guitars are very affordable and can be purchased for $100 or less on Amazon.

Eventually, you will want to upgrade to one of the other top guitar brands on this list. However, if you’re just starting out on the instrument, Arcadia is a good way to go! Check out the DL41 in the clip above.

Best Electric Guitar Brands

Fender


Fender is a guitar brand that has risen to legendary status in the electric marketplace. While they are primarily known for their Telecasters and Stratocasters, they also offer some unique solutions for the acoustic guitar player as well.

Of the Fender electric guitars, the Stratocaster is a fan favorite. If you’re looking for a dirty blues sound like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix, you can’t get anything better than a Strat!

Gibson


Because of their unique innovations like dual-coil pickups, the Gibson sound has developed into one of the most recognizable tones available. This is one of the many reasons Gibson made our list of top guitar brands. 

The Gibson Les Paul is probably one of the most iconic guitars to emerge during the rock era. If you prefer the modern rock sound of Slash and his peers, then the Gibson Les Paul is the way to go! The only big drawback of Gibson guitars, for most beginners, is their price tag.

Epiphone


If you would like a Gibson-esque sound but are just starting out on the guitar, you need to check out Epiphone, a company that is owned by Gibson.

Their guitars follow many of the same processes as the traditional US-made instruments, however they are made overseas. This allows them to sell at a much more budget-friendly price.

Ibanez


For all the shredders out there, Ibanez is the perfect fit for you! Players like Joe Satriani, Paul Stanley, and Steve Vai all use Ibanez guitars because of their unmatched hard-rock capabilities. Along with a Floyd Rose tremolo system, Ibanez electric guitars give you the ability to do things other guitar brands simply do not.

In some ways they are a cross between Gibson and Fender. They have a similar body style to a Stratocaster while using the dual-coil pickups of a Les Paul. These guitars are primarily for rocking out and testing the limits of guitar engineering. If you want to shred with the best, go ahead and try one!

Jackson


Jackson is another brand that has re-interpreted the nature of guitar music. This is a brand you will rarely find outside of the metal and rock genres. Their guitars are designed to sound great with heavy distortion or on a clean channel.

If you want to play modern rock, a Jackson guitar is a great choice. Famous for their Floyd Rose Tremolo system, they offer guitars that range from $199 to $1,299 so there is something for everyone.

Ready to Start Playing?

Hopefully you found this list of the best guitar brands helpful. By now you know where to shop for guitars, but have you found a place to advance your playing skills? TakeLessons offers private, one-on-one guitar lessons with experienced and qualified teachers.

If you’re not ready to purchase private lessons yet, check out the free online guitar classes at Takelessons Live. At no cost, you can join a group of like-minded learners and begin taking classes on your own schedule.

Did we leave any notable guitar brands off this list? Let us know who you’d add in a comment below!

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DIY: Homemade Capo Tutorial in 4 Easy Steps [Video]

How to make a DIY Homemade Capo

If you want to learn how to make your very own homemade capo from scratch, keep reading. In this article, we’ll share four simple steps to put together a DIY capo on the fly – with just two materials!

When you’re jamming with friends and there’s a new vocalist in the mix, you might find yourself having to play in unfamiliar keys. If you left your trusty capo at home, no problem! Follow this easy guide and you’ll learn how to make a capo in no time.

DIY Homemade Capo Tutorial

You can solve the key-change conundrum with relative ease if you know how to make a capo on the fly. Essentially, you need a rigid strip of material that can be clamped onto the neck of your guitar.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  1. A pencil or sharpie
  2. 2-4 rubber bands (medium thickness)

Yes, you only need two simple materials for this homemade capo. If you can’t find rubber bands, a good alternative is a hair band.

Now that you have all you need, here are the steps for how to make a capo.

Steps to Make a DIY Capo

  1. Make sure your guitar is in tune.
  2. Place the pencil or marker upon the desired fret.
  3. Fold the rubber band in half and loop it over both ends of the pencil.
  4. Add more bands as needed to achieve the desired tension. Check this by plucking each string and listening for a clear tone.

That’s it! This is such an easy way to put together a homemade capo on the fly, with materials that are readily available. Need to see the process demonstrated visually? Watch the steps in the quick video below:

5 Reasons Every Guitarist Needs a Capo

Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a capo, in case you weren’t already convinced that you need one.

  • A capo creates a moveable nut or barre. For example, if you place the capo on the second fret, you’ve moved all the chords up one step (a C is now a D).
  • It allows you to play chord shapes that you’re already familiar with, but in a different key. So with a capo, a bit of transposing savvy, and a handful of chords, you can play some previously hard to reach tunes.
  • Using a capo allows you to explore different chord voicings, or inversions, which can make a chord sound brighter or darker, and add interest to picking.
  • It is helpful for changing tunes to a more comfortable range, or key, for vocals.
  • A capo adds depth when playing with other guitarists. Some can play open chords while others place capos at different locations, which creates a broader sonic range and textural interest.

Now you know some of the benefits of using a guitar capo, so even if you’re only slightly familiar with this tool, you can begin exploring its capabilities.

You’ve also learned how to make a capo very quickly and easily if you wish to try out these concepts without spending any money.

While practicing your skills, be sure to look into private guitar lessons or online guitar classes to help you achieve your musical goals, as personal feedback is a very important part of the learning process. Have fun with your DIY capo, and rock on!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches guitar, drums, piano and more in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She’s been teaching since 2010 and has her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University. Learn more about Tracy here!

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The 50 Best Guitar Songs Ever (From Different Eras & Genres)

best guitar songs

Everyone’s list of the “best guitar songs” will be different, but there are certain moments in history when we all seemed to fall in love with the same music together. These songs have stood the test of time, and become enshrined as the classics of guitar repertoire.

Although the following list is by no means comprehensive, it is a representative sample of some of the best guitar songs of all time – including everything from classical to rock.

The 50 Best Guitar Songs of All Time

Before we dive into which songs made the list and why, check out this clickable infographic for a preview of 25 top guitar songs.

Best guitar songs of all time

Best Acoustic Guitar Songs

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd


This popular song was destined to some form of greatness because of Pink Floyd’s established reputation. The fact that the main acoustic guitar riff is so playable has also helped this song become a staple for many beginning guitarists.

Fire and Rain – James Taylor


This song was one of the singles off James Taylor’s second album that made him particularly famous in the 70s. To this day, he still frequently plays “Fire and Rain” in concert. It’s known to both older and younger audiences who are familiar with his music.

Hotel California – Eagles


A reflection on the excesses of the Rock ‘n Roll lifestyle, this song features both acoustic and electric guitar work that stands out and complements each other.

Blackbird – Paul McCartney


An ode to struggling Black women in Detroit, the unassuming charm of this song makes it a favorite for beginning guitarists. The unusual left hand intervals make it challenging but not unattainable.

American Pie – Don McLean


An enchanting (and sometimes cryptic) ode to Rock ‘n Roll history, this song is still popular as a tune for beginners to learn their basic guitar chords on.

Wonderwall – Oasis


Released on their second album, “Wonderwall” has become Oasis’ biggest hit. It’s the most streamed song released before 2000, and it’s the archetypal example of 90s pop chord playing.

More Than Words – Extreme


Ironically the most popular song of a much heavier band, this song was released in 1991 and has since forced its writers to embrace their softer side. Known for their heavy, funk-metal style, Extreme reached a much wider audience with this vulnerable ballad.

Dust in the Wind – Kansas


Another crowd pleaser on this list of best guitar songs, “Dust in the Wind” particularly hit a nerve during the spiritual seeking of the hippy era. The intro has charmed fingerpicking beginners since the song’s release.

Redemption Song – Bob Marley


Taking inspiration from Marcus Garvey, Bob stripped away all the rich instrumentation of his reggae roots and reduced this song to simply the acoustic guitar and singing. The song has remained popular both as a protest song and a staple among beginning guitarists.

Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel


This song begins with a simple but haunting guitar hook that is immediately recognizable to fans of the folk-pop duo. Paul Simon’s fingerpicking technique remains a great teacher for beginners of the craft.

Best Rock Guitar Songs

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin


The song every guitar teacher gets tired of teaching, but still listens to in secret and quiet admiration of its epicness.

Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns ‘n Roses

Another perfect example of a heavy band whose most famous song is a vulnerable love song. This one somehow manages to maintain its epic rock quality amidst all the intimate lyrics.

Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix


This is one of several songs Jimi did that changed rock history. The raw power that he holds together with his indescribable talent made this a piece that captured the imagination of rock guitarists for generations.

I Love Rock ‘n Roll – Joan Jett


A perfect integration of power chords and simple blues licks make this an ideal introduction to rock guitar. It’s also great for getting people to sing with you in a bar!

Sunshine of Your Love – Cream


Another song that is often used to introduce rock guitar to beginners, this song has a soulful punch that continues to draw Clapton fans back to his early days.

Back in Black – AC/DC


Of the tremendous library of ridiculously catchy riffs in the AC/DC canon, this one stands out near the top.

Seven Nation Army – Jack White


Many millenials who didn’t grow up with the early rock records find this song to be the gateway to the rest of the rock experience. Easy to play, easy to love!

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana


This is another song that is famous partially because of its poignant lyrics that spoke to the rebellion of a generation. It’s also a perfect song to learn power chords on.

Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple


This song gets a bad rap because so many guitarists know the first hook but not the rest of the song. The rest of the song is certainly worth a listen, though!

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne


This song has both one of the easiest power chord riffs and one of the hardest guitar solos. It’s a song that fans love to sing and guitarists love to play!

Best Folk Guitar Songs

Sweet Home Chicago – Robert Johnson


This unassuming folk blues song comes to us only from field recordings, but it was incredibly influential on many British rock stars. Johnson’s raw guitar style and troubled lyrics heavily influenced the Stones, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and others.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ – Bob Dylan


This unapologetic protest song summarized the rebellion of the hippy generation and became a folk standard that is still sung and played to this day.

If I had a Hammer – Peter Paul and Mary


Sung by many folk artists, this metaphorical song served as a rallying cry for social change and remains a campfire favorite.

Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Bob Dylan


One of Bob Dylan’s more personal songs, the intricate fingerpicking in this tune lends a unique quality to lyrics about love gone wrong. Have a listen and you’ll quickly find out why this made our list of best guitar songs. 

Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Guthrie


Many audiences wonder if Arlo made up the verses on the spot. In any case, the 16 bar guitar loop is the jumping-off point for a lengthy political rant that anyone with a sense of humor can enjoy.

Scarborough Fair – Simon and Garfunkel


Based on an English poem, this song is accompanied by Paul Simon’s mysterious fingerpicking and a vocal melody that many remember as a childhood lullaby.

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell


This song is definitely a foot-stomper! It has had activists singing the charged lyrics since its release – at the height of the environmental movement in 1970.

Mr. Bojangles – Jerry Jeff Walker


This song was written in New Orleans when the composer was arrested and put in a cell with a street dancer. The story has been a favorite among folk artists since its premiere on a radio show in 1968.

Minor Swing – Django Reinhardt


First recorded in 1937 by the Hot House Band, this is one of Django Reinhardt’s most famous tunes. It’s also a standard introduction to gypsy jazz.

Guitar Boogie – Arthur Smith


This song was first released in 1945 and has since been played by many other thumb-picking greats, including Tommy Emmanuel.

Best Classical Guitar Songs

Asturias – Isaac Albeniz


A landmark of the classical repertoire, this piece is more reminiscent of flamenco traditions from Andalucia than the northern Spanish region of Asturias. This is probably because it was given its name by a German publisher after the composer’s death.

La Catedral – Agustin Barrios-Mangore


The masterpiece suite by a South American composer, La Catedral is a musical illustration of a grand building and a service within the building.

E Minor Bouree – J.S. Bach


This piece is a popular selection from the Lute Suite in E minor. It often tricks beginners because it sounds good at a slow speed but it’s meant to be played rather quickly.

Etude in A Minor – Dionisio Aguado


Often the first piece a classical student will ever see, this simple fingerpicking etude is a great introduction to the process and pleasure of classical guitar!

Recuerdos de la Alhambra – Francisco Tárrega


This piece is the most legendary of tremolo classical guitar pieces. Using a technique that involves rapidly plucking a single string, the difficulty of this song is matched only by its profound beauty.

D Minor Chaconne – J.S. Bach


One of the most profound pieces in the classical repertoire, this piece was originally written for violin. It has since been transcribed for pretty much any other instrument that has a virtuoso to play it, and guitar is no exception!

Mazurka Choro – Heitor Villa-Lobos


This prolific Brazilian composer had many great pieces, and this one is the first in a suite called “Suite Popolaire Bresilienne.” Give it a listen and see if you can resist the urge to learn all five movements.

Prelude from the E Major Lute Suite – J.S. Bach


One of the most famous and uplifting pieces in classical repertoire, this piece falls under the fingers almost serendipitously and fills a room of any size with the warmest musical bath you can imagine.

Study in B Minor Opus 35 no 22 – Fernando Sor


A gem of the beginner’s classical guitar repertoire, this is a piece that teachers often introduce to their students. Give it a listen and you’ll see why it’s so unforgettable!

Romanza – Anonymous


“Romanza” is another charming piece frequently learned by beginners. The gentle repetition of fingerpicking over the beautiful Spanish melody make this a favorite for both players and audiences.

Best Electric Guitar Songs

Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers


Mournful and rich in feeling, this guitar riff is great for getting early picking techniques going. It’s also an excellent choice when you want to play something recognizable to a lot of guitar fans.

Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits


This is a favorite of music lovers and musicians alike! It includes a rhythm riff that’s not too difficult, along with some solo passages that will give any player a run for their money.

Gravity – John Mayer


John said he was particularly proud of this song because he felt he could apply the lyrics to any situation he found himself in. The soulful guitar work captured the interest of many electric guitarists, both aspiring and established.

La Grange – ZZ Top


This band had a knack for writing hooks, and Billy Biggons had a knack for playing crazy blues solos. Both are reasons “La Grange” made it on our list of the best guitar songs of all time!

Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd


Anyone who has played in a band has probably heard more audience members scream “Freebird” than any other song in history. Most people actually request it as a joke!

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles


The fact that the lyrics of this song refer to a guitar is almost accidental among its deep reflective nature. Maybe it’s a factor in the song’s popularity with so many guitarists.

Eruption – Eddie Van Halen


“Eruption” ripped open the gates to progressive guitar playing. The song still stands as a staple for aspiring electric guitar virtuosos to master.

Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry


This pioneering piece opened up the sound of early rock to wider audiences. It’s another favorite song for electric guitarists to learn.

Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan


This song can be difficult to learn at first because of its muting techniques, but it brings along the full power of the Texas Blues to anyone who masters it!

Layla – Eric Clapton


“Layla” is revered for both its powerful lyrics and its captivating virtuosic guitar hook. Clapton fans expect to hear it at every concert.

Now that you’ve seen our list of the best guitar songs of all time, what would you add? Let us know in a comment below!

These are the songs that inspired most kids to pick up an axe in the first place. If you’re interested in learning the guitar, this list will give you some easy songs to start with as well as some masterpieces to aspire to.

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The 7 Best Guitar Picks for Every Kind of Guitarist

Cool guitar picks

The best guitar picks are the ones that help you achieve the tonal sound you’re looking for, while providing just enough grip and comfortability.

When you take a trip to your local music store or shop for guitar picks online, you will run across thousands of options. Don’t be intimidated! Every guitar player starts off trying a variety of different types of guitar picks.

Guitar picks are made out of many different materials including nylon, plastic, wood, stone, or metal. Some picks are floppy and some are stiff. They can also be small or large in size.

The cool guitar picks on this list each provide a great deal of tonal variation. So if you’re trying to get a nice and bright, jangly sound, or a darker, more muted sound, there is a guitar pick on this list for you!

The 7 Best Guitar Picks for All Guitarists

1. Sharkfin Guitar Picks

Sharkfin - Cool guitar picks

Sharkfin picks give you a lot of versatility, and the way they’re cut provides an easy grip. With a sharkfin pick, you get the traditional sounds that come from a regular pick, in addition to unique tonal qualities brought to you by the knurled edge.

You will be able to achieve different effects by dragging the knurled edge along your strings or brushing them as you strum. These unique guitar picks usually run between $1-$2 and are sold by Landstrom, Dunlop, and others.   

2. Stubby Picks

 

Stubby - best guitar picks

Its small size, hardness, and overall look make the stubby a necessary addition to this list of cool guitar picks. The stubby pick feels comfortable and has a bit of a rough grip which makes it easier to hold.

Numerous brands make stubby picks, such as Dunlop and V-Pick. You can find them for a little over a dollar, then try out multiple brands to see which one you like the best.

3. Nylon Flex Guitar Picks  

Nylon flex best guitar picks

This is a great option for guitarists who want a really floppy pick for strumming, and many reputable brands sell them. The Herco Flex 50 specifically produces a nice, bright tone and gives you all the flop you could need. It also has just enough grip to not slip from your fingers.

A Herco Flex 50 should run you about a dollar, though sometimes the thicker versions cost a bit more. If this option isn’t available at your local music shop, a good runner-up to this model would be the Jim Dunlop Nylon 60mm pick.

4. Star Picks

Star pick - Cool guitar picks

You should definitely consider adding a Star Pick to your collection of best guitar picks. The .73mm pick is an excellent choice from Star Picks because of its hardness. A hard pick produces a bright, biting sound. Some players prefer a pick to have that bite when it comes to playing solos, because it makes the solo pop out of the mix a little more.  

When using a naturally bright guitar like a Fender Statocaster, hard picks are great for getting a little extra tone above the rest of the band. The Star Pick has these advantages, but also seems to grip to your thumb pretty well. It has a small star cut-out which makes it really easy to hold. These unique guitar picks are fairly cheap, usually costing a little less than a dollar.

5. Tortex Picks

Tortex - best guitar picks

The Tortex picks by Dunlop come in a variety of colors and thicknesses, and are fairly inexpensive. Many guitarists like the feel of this pick. You will notice a considerable change in tone when using it, but you may like it if you’re into a more mellow tone.

When you’re using a Tortex pick, the tone does not really become muted, but the ringing quality of some strings are brought down. So if you have a guitar that seems a little too bright, the Tortex might be the perfect pick to help take away some of the harshness.

There are a couple other comparable picks that don’t darken the tone, such as the Clayton 1.07mm pick and the Dunlop Ultex pick. The Clayton is especially easy to keep a grip on.

6. Metal Thumb Picks

Metal Thumb Pick - Cool guitar picks

Metal thumb picks are probably one of the most useful and unique guitar picks to own. These metal finger picks are perfect for boosting the volume on your guitar just a little bit. For only a dollar you can’t go wrong.  

Some people find that using a regular pick is difficult because they are easily dropped, or they get cramps in their hands. The advantage of using a thumb pick is that it doesn’t fall out of your hand when you play.

You can find these cool guitar picks in metal, plastic, and some that are a hybrid of plastic and metal, although the hybrid picks tend to be more expensive. One good thumb pick to check out is the Dunlop 3040T.

7. Felt Picks

Felt picks - Cool guitar picks

Even though they’re marketed for ukuleles, felt picks are very useful for guitarists as well. Felt picks typically run around $1-$2, which is a bargain for the cool tonal variety they bring to your playing.  

The muted sound that you get when playing with a felt pick is truly unique. It’s not muted to an extent that you can’t hear your instrument, but it certainly changes the tone and can make your guitar sound like a totally different guitar. This pick would be very useful in recording sessions if you’re trying to go for the sound of two different guitars, but only have one.

Final Tips

No matter what type of guitar or genre of music you play, there is something on this list of best guitar picks for everyone. Most types of guitar picks run for less than a dollar, so if you can afford it we recommend buying a bunch and trying them all out.

If you want to start out small, try the thumb pick and felt pick first. These guitar picks are the most distinct in the tonal sounds they create, so you’ll be able to really experience and appreciate the variety that different guitar picks can provide.  

This selection of cool guitar picks should give you plenty to try out and practice. You can find them at your local music store or online. Remember that a good guitar teacher can help you learn proper picking and strumming technique, and TakeLessons is the place to go if you want to find an experienced guitar teacher in your area.  

Willy MPost Author: Willy M.
Willy M. teaches acoustic, bass, blues guitar and more in Winston Salem, NC. Willy has been teaching for over 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to adults in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

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