Intro to 10 Tips To Becoming A Good Guitarist
I would like to state these tips are things that I have seen while teaching for 30 years. It’s important to know that I also have picked up some bad habits (out of laziness) and would like to note that I am not preaching, I’m just observing.
Keep A Good Attitude
There are, and always will be, people better than you. Take the opportunity to learn from that. There is nothing wrong with having a lot of confidence, but know when to be humble as well.
Be very conscious of your tempo while practicing and performing. It is very easy to let the tempo get away from you and it happens to everybody. Listen to the drummer when performing, they work a lot harder on this stuff than guitarists. Always use a metronome when practicing even though it can be very annoying sometimes.
Be Well Rounded
I see a lot of guitarist who can run circles around me with blistering solos and crazy acrobatics but know very little about basic rhythm and keeping a good groove. Learn all you can from a great rhythm and blues guitarists. Learn as many chord shapes as you can. Playing solid rhythm guitar will get you more work and gigs than all the solos in the world.
Learn how to actually read music. Reading Tabs is a quick way to obtain melodies and solos. Having the knowledge to read standard notation and understanding rhythm notations will put you miles ahead of your average guitarist and land you more gigs with better players.
Play With Other Musicians
Try your best to perform with other musicians. It can be overwhelming and intimidating but the confidence, experience, and practical musicianship is something you will never learn in your room.
Scales are a fundamental necessity of music and must be learned. Its important that after you learn the physical fingerings, you use those notes to make music not just run scales. Many guitarists play scales up and down the neck with amazing agility but don’t really make music. Improvising is about creating melodies, it’s not a contest of how fast you can play.
Most guitarist practice sitting down, which is fine, but you will no doubt slouch over while practicing. This is probably due to the weight of the guitar that’s inevitably pulling you forward. Nevertheless, over the years you will develop poor posture and chronic back pain. Be a little conscious of sitting straight. Your back will thank you later.
Leave your guitar at the same height when you practice sitting down or standing up. The deviation of height will make it uncomfortable while performing standing up. Always use a strap, that will keep your instrument at the same height more consistently.
Use Your Ears
Try to hear the changes, riffs, solos, whatever you can by ear. I see students everyday relying on online guitar sites. Although these sites can be very helpful and get you started with your favorite tune, keep in mind many of them are wrong. Use these sites as a starting point, but finish learning by ear.
Listen to The Greats
When learning guitar in a certain style or genre take the time to actually listen to the greats of that particular music and you will pick up a lot more than any teacher will be able to do for you. I get a lot of students who want to learn Jazz or Blues guitar but when I ask them who their favorite artist is they have no clue or even better they don’t even like jazz. I think many like the idea of playing jazz or blues but don’t want to take the time to absorb the flavor by listening to the music. We hoped you enjoyed this article on the 10 Tips to Becoming A Good Guitarist.
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