Rock Guitar Tricks & Sounds

In this free rock guitar lesson by Peter Vogl we will learn some rock licks and sounds. There are many sounds and tricks used when playing rock, so set up your amp with lots of distortion and we'll learn some licks featuring pick scrapes, artificial harmonics, and trills. In the video we will use the backing track "rock song in E", which is track 15 from the Let's Jam! Blues and Rock CD.


Watch the lesson: Quicktime


The first sound is the pick scrape. We are going to use the edge of the pick and scrape the strings downward. A medium or light pick seems to work best, but you can do it with any pick. I am scraping the 4th and 5th strings together. The trick to finishing this sound is to take your left hand and finish the slide with it. Just run your middle finger down the strings. As you get to the end of the neck, bring your finger off the string. There should be no definite end to this sound, no ending pitch.

pick scrape tab

The next sound is called artificial harmonics. I have my own method for creating artificial harmonics. When picking a note, I hold the pick as usual, but use the first joint of my right middle finger and touch the same string I am picking. This creates the harmonic or higher sound.

Artificial harmonics requires touch. I can tell you how to do it, but you have to experiment and develop the touch. A great deal of distortion helps. Higher volumes help as well. It doesn’t matter what notes you play, but for this example, I am playing the 3rd string at the 5th and 7th frets.

artificial harmonics tab

Another sound is the pick tap or trill. Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string - 5th fret. Then use the edge of your pick and strike at the 2nd string - 8th fret. Let the pick sort of bounce off the fret board.

pick tap tab

Now let’s hear these licks in context against track 15 of the Let's Jam! Blues and Rock CD. That’s our lesson on rock licks and sounds. I hope you’ve learned some new tricks. My name is Peter Vogl and I will see you again soon.

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Watch sample clips from this lesson.


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