There isn't a musical instrument quite like the Electric Guitar.  You go out and buy one, planning on touring the world like a Rock & Roll God.  You take it home, plug it in and... Well, you might need a bit of practice before you go around making millions.  I would recommend looking around the web for some beginner tutorials.  Learn a few chords, play a few simple riffs and maybe even pick up some scales.  "But I want to play like a God now!"  Well be patient.  Playing guitar takes practice and patience.  There are, however, a few "Advanced" techniques that you can learn, which are surprisingly easy to do.  They sound awesome, and make you look like you know what you are doing. Without any further ado, here they are:


The Palm mute is a tehnique used in almost all styles of rock.  The basic idea is that you use your picking hand to mute the sting, making a more percussive sound then a regular note.  To start, place your fretting hand on the note you wish to play.  Any note on the E or A string is the easiest.  Play it a few times.  See how it sounds full and has a bit of sustain?  That's what a regular note sounds like.  Now, with your picking hand gently press the palm of your hand against the strings.  Be very gentle, as anymore then a light touch will totally mute the strings. Pick the note.  You want it to be so you can still tell the differnce between notes, but the sound is a bit more flat and all sustain is cut off.  If you hear any sustain, press your hand down a bit harder.  If you can't hear a tone, lighten the tension a bit.  It is easier if you place you're hand slightly in front of the bridge of the guitar, as this will improve both your accuracy and your speed.  Effective ways to use palm mutes would include adding a little variety to some riffs or playing quick notes between power chords.


Harmonics are another thing that can make your guitar solo more interesting.  It's difficult to describe exactly what they are, but once you hear them they make alot of sense.  The first kind of harmonic you can do is a natural harmonic.  Place your finger over top of the metal bar that  separates the frets.  Place it on either the 5th, 7th or 12th fret.  use about as much pressure as you would well palm-muting.  Pick a string, and if done correctly, you will hear a very high pitched note.  One way to see if it works is to take your fretting hand completly off the string.  The note should remain high pitched, even when not touching the strings.  This techniqe sounds especially good if you have a whammy bar, as the note will sustain for a while without losing volume.


What?  The technique used by Eddie Van Halen to create crazy guitar solos is easy?  Well, yeah.  The only thing that's remotely difficult about this is building up speed.  Incase you don't know, tapping is a technique which involves using both hands to play notes, and using a series of hammer-ons and pull-offs to create really fast solos.  To teach this technique, I will use a specific example.  The first thing you want to do is place your picking hand near the 12th fret.  With your fretting hand, place your index finger on the 5th fret of the high e string, and your ring finger on the 8th fret of the high e string.  You will need quite a bit of gain on your amp to pull this off.  With your middle finger of your picking hand, press down on the 12th fret.  If done right, it should sound the 12th note, as if you just played a hammer-on.  Then flick down with your middle finger, picking the sting and playing the note on the 8th fret.  Flick down with your ring finger after that, playing the 5th fret.  Hammer on with your ring finger, playing the 8th fret again.  You should now be in the exact same postion you were when you started.  All that's left to do is repeat.  The most important thing to do when learning this technique is to start slow.  Master the pattern, and then increase your speed.  It may take awhile, but the reward is well worth the wait.  Good luck with your guitar playing experiences!