Tips for guitarists
- Make sure that your guitar is in tune. This should be obvious. Unfortunately, it seems that quite a few guitarists don't do this. Make sure that your guitar is properly intonated; it doesn't do you any good to tune the open strings if notes fretted higher up the neck aren't in tune.
- Control your volume and tone with your picking hand. Your picking hand is much more nimble and expressive than controls and pedals. Learn to go from a whisper to full-on crunch with just your picking dynamics. Learn to play with your bare fingers as well as with a pick.
- Change strings often. Don't rely on "worn-in" strings to smooth out your tone; that's what your picking technique is for. Worn strings cause tuning and intonation problems.
- Lower your pickups. They'll respond more accurately to your picking and won't interfere (magnetically or physically) with string vibration.
- Practice without pedals. Try to be creative without pedals. Use pedals to add color and flavor when playing with a band.
- When your're playing by yourself: listen. When you're playing with other musicians: listen. Play every note with intent. You don't babble incoherently; you shouldn't do that with your guitar either.
- Listen to all kinds of music. You don't have to like or even understand everything you hear. If you keep an open mind, you may hear something that sparks your imagination.
- Give your gear a chance; it's only part of what makes your playing sound good. Work on your technique. Be sure that you have something to say, musically.
- Any fool can pick up a guitar and play something in a matter of hours. The masters of the instrument spend their entire lifetime learning how to play. Strive always to improve your playing.
- It's much worse to lose the groove than it is to play a bad note. Always stay in time.
- Don't compare yourself to others. Honor your own musical voice.
- Always maintain your sense of humor and your sense of adventure.
- There is no "best" in music.
January 18 2006 05:35:14 GMT