How to play non-standard guitars - a few hints & tips

Hampshire Guitar Orchestra » Guitar stuff » FAQs » technique

One of the most common questions we get asked is

"How do I play a xxxx guitar?" or "What's it like to play a xxx guitar?"
Where your choice of xxxx can be

Well, it's really very easy, and we've prepared just a few hints and tips to illustrate the quite small differences between a "normal" guitar and its cousins.

Each member of the guitar family that we've listed is played in essentially the same way - chord shapes that work with one member work with all. A piece that you can play on classical guitar can be played on any of the guitars above without changing anything. Of course, the (unmodified) music might sound laughably gruff or chirpily twee, because of course these different sizes of guitar are to complement the prime guitar, not duplicate its music.

Notation

Every guitar transposes, so that the top open string is written as open E, regardless of what comes out. There are no new clefs or pitches to learn, and no new fingerings. See our transposition FAQ.

Tuning

Tuning is the only time when the non-standard pitch matters. See our tuning and tuners FAQs.

Plucking techniques

Not a lot changes here either, but it's time to go two different ways - follow the links below :

playing technique | smaller guitars | larger guitars