The number one thing you should always be doing is looking for & putting into action new ideas that will improve your guitar playing. So here today are 5 tips that will improve your guitar playing today!
Tip #1. Practice new material on a clean channel.
When you’re learning something new it’s always good to practice “clean” so that you can really hear yourself. Make sure you are not making any mistakes. And if so, which ones are they & what’s needed to improve them.
This will also allow you to improve your ear because you are hearing the natural sound of the guitar with no effects. You can add those later. But whenever your practicing chords, scales, rhythm phrasing, picking patterns, harmony notes & a whole world of other stuff related to playing guitar.
So when you are practicing these things you really want to tune into what you are doing. And the best way to do this is to play clean. Listen to the tone being produced. Listen to the pitch of that tone. Capture the vibration that the string is making. All this can be accomplished by tuning in & listening while playing on a clean channel.
Once you have it down and feel you can execute the technique flawlessly, then & only then will you want to put distortion, gain, overdrive, fuzz or any other type of effect in the signal. This way you know if you are reaching the next level. When you try to put gain or distortion in the signal & you don’t have the technique down, it comes out sounding…..well, not too pleasant.
So make sure you do this. And if you have questions about creating a practice routine, check out my lesson on that by clicking the link.
Tip #2. Learn things through entirely.
A common problem among most self-taught players is that they learn bits and pieces but not the whole thing. This creates “lack of trying” When a hurdle pops up the runner stops. You must learn to get over hurdles. They will always present themselves at the most crucial moments & they will make you want to quit, but if you find a way to plow through somehow, you’ll find victory on the other side.
So if you are learning a song, learn it from beginning to end. Get over the hurdles. All songs and musical passages of any kind are going to have their hurdles. You just have to:
Break it down into sections.
Take it slow one little section at a time
Piece them together bit by bit
You must have patience!! Those that are truly passionate about learning, accomplishing goals & moving forward are those who find a way to do this. You must become this kind of person in order to get good at playing guitar.
Tip # 3. Open your mind to new styles
When you open your mind to new musical styles, you open yourself up to new techniques & new ways of thinking. Every style of music (country jazz, rock, etc) have their own special vocabulary that makes them who they are. Gives them their character.
When you approach learning these techniques you begin to see very clearly a whole other way of thinking. And this is good because not only does it expand your mind, but it also allows you to learn some different ways to approach the guitar.
Then you begin to not only learn new concepts & playing methods, but you also add tools to your guitar playing toolbox. To get good, you want to acquire a mechanic’s toolbox full of guitar playing tools. Look at both Jimi & Jimmy. They both had a warehouse full of guitar playing tools. That’s what made them so great & mysterious.
Be like them. Acquire tools & learn how to use them. Carpenters have tools, so do guitar players. They are just different types of tools that are needed for the trade. And the best way to do that is by being open-minded to new musical ideas & concepts related to learning & playing guitar.
Tip #4 Play with music and other people
Playing with others can do wonders for your playing if they are the right people. If not, they can’t. But if you happen to find someone you can play with, I suggest you do so. Playing with others can do wonders for your learning. They can be someone that:
Helps you to get over those struggling hurdles.
You can bounce ideas off of
Can help encourage you & you do the same
Can just make learning & playing more enjoyable.
Now if you can’t find someone, learn & play songs on the radio or to a CD or iPod, or your phone. No matter how you do it, play with songs. I can’t emphasize this enough. It will improve your playing 100%!! You will develop listening skills. Like listening to the other instruments, finding where you should be in the mix, how you go into certain parts as individuals & come back together as a band. How to hold rhythm & recognize different rhythm ideas when they are presented.
Playing with recordings improves your motor skills, eye-hand coordination, ear-hand coordination as well as your internal clock that every musician must develop. This is not easy to do at first, but give it a try. And if you give it an honest try, start out with something simple, you will begin to see in no time how this learning strategy improves your playing.
Tip #5. Practice Consistently!
You must be consistent! Or else you’ll never get there. It’s much better to practice a little each day then a lot every other day. It makes your mind stay more focused on the task at hand. Plus your motor skills get developed more thoroughly as well as remembering musical concepts.
By having a daily practice routine, you will begin to see a transformation in your abilities & understanding of the guitar. You will begin to see how the music is put together so to be a pleasant experience to the ear. And you will also build self-confidence on the path to your guitar playing success.
So take these 5 tips, apply them to your learning & I guarantee you will see results for the better in your guitar playing. Until next Lesson, Take care.