Phrasing Techniques

One of the things I love most about the guitar is that there are many ways to play a given phrase / melody line. i first really started appreciating this when I first started listening to and watching Steve Vai. Specifically the “For the Love of God” solo. Watching the way he plays the main melody was a surprise – I had envisioned him playing it totally differently. I hadn’t seen anyone slide up and down to notes like he did. It was a real eye opener.

No other solo instrument offers the variety of options as the guitar. Take for example a melody line that goes E – G – A – B – D – E – G – E. The piano offers few options on how to play this line, as far as getting from one note to the next. However, on the guitar, you can pick all the notes (staccato), hammer on the notes (legato), slide up to the notes, bend up to the notes, and whammy bar up to the notes. There are probably even more ways! This gives the guitar player an expansive palette to work with.

Download the tab with all the phrases here.

The key here is to experiment with different methods of navigating your phrases. Different songs will call for different techniques.

Most importantly have fun with it!