Guitar Tricks and Tips for Becoming a Better Guitarist
We all want to be the best we can be, as quickly as possible, and when learning the guitar it’s no exception! Everyone knows the basics of what it takes to learn to play guitar – a good teacher, a good progressive learning guitar book and lots of practice. Still, many of the lesser-known guitar tricks and tips can easily elude us! We’ve chatted with a group of experienced guitarists who shared their most useful guitar tricks from the road, and you can take advantage of them right here!
Guitar Tricks #1: Listen
Listening is what got most of us interested in learning to play guitar. We heard a song we loved, or we listened to an amazing guitar solo or someone told us how guitar had changed their life. But once we start playing, it’s easy to forget that a big part of learning to play music is listening. We don’t just mean listening to yourself play to make sure you hit the correct notes! Keeping yourself immersed in a wide variety of musical genres and styles, and listening to other bands and musicians play as often as possible can help keep you inspired. It makes your approach to learning music fresh and exciting, and lets you hear how the pros do it. Which leads us to our next point…
Guitar Tricks #2: Play Covers
When you first start learning to play guitar, it’s important to be able to take what you’re listening to and replicate it. You can’t just rely on guitar tabs to get the benefit of learning other band’s tunes. Instead, it’s about taking the painstakingly long (but ultimately fulfilling) approach of listening to your favorite songs step-by-step and working out the notes and/or chords yourself. You do this by listening, and then finding the correct notes or chords, the correct timing and the correct phrasing, dynamics and articulation. This forces you to really think about your playing, as well as training your ear to recognize correct pitches, scales and keys – and this will help you both now and in the future.
Guitar Tricks #3: Go to Live Gigs & Shows
Playing music is as much about performance as it is about expressing yourself. As a guitarist, you can learn a lot from watching other musicians get up on stage and perform to a live crowd. Watch what they do with their hands, how and where they stand, how they speak to the crowd, and what they do in-between songs. What do you like? What annoys you? You can get a lot of great performance tips just by watching what other people do. And best of all, they’re right there in front of you! So you may even get the chance to network and chat with them afterwards about why they do what they do.
Guitar Tricks #4: Talk to Other Musicians
Musicians are everywhere! Whether they’re your parents, family, friends, music teacher, music store assistant, local bar guitarist or even the local pro – every musician has their own unique experiences, tips and tricks. If there’s something that’s bugging you, or a technique you wish you could master, chances are one of the musicians you know has the answer you’re looking for. Surround yourself with musicians and people that inspire you; it will create a positive environment that really nourishes your skills and passions as a guitarist. It also gives you great connections for when you feel you’re ready to play with other musicians and eventually go pro!
Guitar Tricks #5: Play with Other Musicians
Practicing and playing guitar on your own is an important part of becoming a great guitarist. It gives you the chance to work on the areas of your music that need attention. That said, it’s also important to play music with other musicians, no matter what they play. Playing music with other people teaches you the importance of tempo and key, and how to work with others. It also encourages the use of silence and dynamics – when to play loudly and when to play softly. You can also learn a lot from each other, and set goals for yourself as a group. This gives you something to work towards both in group sessions and individual practice sessions.
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