Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Does playing guitar seem like a slow process? Do you find yourself wondering why you're not getting any better? A true in depth understanding of guitar takes years to master, but we think we've solved that problem in a new way. In this blog post we're gonna cover a few quick things that can help you understand your guitar and your playing in a new way.
1) Why Are You Practicing?
Is your intention to write, cover, become familiar with the neck?
We all have idols when it comes to guitar. We all aspire to be a John Mayer to a certain extent, but what John was doing was trying to write music by himself with an 8 track in his room. Practicing the greats. Stealing techniques and putting his own emotion into them. Because he was focused on finding his sound, all of the work he put in was directly impacted.
Once you’re aware of your goal, practice will become 1000x more productive.
2) Practice Sans-Headphones
I remember the days of shredding to Metallica with my headphones on and thinking “Wow I’m a BEAST”. Hours later going to show my friends and realizing I was TRASH at the time.
Being able to hear yourself provides tactile feedback that will help you make adjustments you normally wouldn’t if you couldn’t hear yourself. Take the time to practice with a metronome so you can really get a feel of the guitar without the influence of other instruments covering you up.
3) Don’t Rely on Gear to Cover Up Mistakes
A guitarist is only as good as their gear.. said no one ever. Except the Edge. He gets a pass.
Your rig can be an awesome addition to your skills, but that’s what it should be: an addition. Have you ever met someone who can play on any acoustic and make it sound like a Martin? Some of that is the build of the guitar but MOST of it comes down to what the player is doing.
Don’t ever convince yourself you can’t sound good until you have better gear. Rob Scallon made a guitar out of a shovel sooooo.
4) Inversions Are Your Friend
When you see a guitar, you probably see a sea of notes, and navigating those notes can seem like trying to get to shore in a storm. We understand.
The reason inversions are so important is because when you look at a chord chart that has chords listed, the chords are not always meant to be played on the first 4 frets. Why do you think so many covers on YouTube sound so off? They fail to capture the feeling of the song because they are limited to the chords they know. LEARN ALL CHORDS WITH OUR CAGED SYSTEM EXPLANATION.
5) Picking the Right Pick
You may have bought a bag of picks from your local music spot, or got a bag of 1,000 from amazon for $2. Maybe you were unaware of the massive difference pick shape and thickness play in your playing.
Thick picks are great for individual string control. They provide stability, control, and durability. It’s a kind of difficult to snap one of those.
Thinner picks are great for acoustic guitar. They slap the strings in a way that give the guitar a percussive element. Thin picks provide percussion, flexibility, loose playing style.