In the recent Guitar Noize article 5 Steps To Guitar Success, Pappy discussed how to buy a guitar that will inspire you to play and how keeping it close at hand will encourage you to play more. Now let’s look at ways to keep inspired with your guitar playing with 5 More Steps To Guitar Success!
1) Continuously set small achievable goals. This tip is just as relevant for advanced guitarists as it is complete beginners.
It could be something like learn the major scale across all strings starting on the low E string. Once you complete that goal update the goal to start on the A string, then the D string etc. This kind of goal is simple enough to complete without too much effort and easy to constantly update, move to the minor scale, the harmonic minor, modes etc. Other ideas might be to learn a major arpeggio shape, then a minor arpeggio, a Major 7th, etc.
2) YOU be the judge of how your playing is improving. All too often people rely on the feedback of others to gauge their improvement, this isn’t necessarily a good idea because those people may just compare your playing to their own playing, or if they are trolls they will just make some derogatory comment for the fun of it even if it isn’t true. Every so often record your playing, it doesn’t have to be a professional recording just the mic on your phone for instance. The main thing is to make a recording at regular intervals so that you can hear your progression, even if it is gradual.
3) Don’t spend all of your time focussing on technique. It is very easy to spend every minute of your playing time trying to improve different facets of technique, be that speed, alternate or sweep picking, string skipping etc. This is all well and good but don’t forget your main objective is to improve your playing to be a better musician. Take some time to put that into practice playing music that you enjoy that incorporates these techniques.
4) Jam with mates. I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough, one of the best ways to improve your playing is to jam with your friends as often as possible. It is also the most fun part of playing guitar and will inspire you to practice more. It doesn’t matter whether you jam with another guitar player or a full band, it doesn’t matter if you are all beginners or competent musicians you will find a great sense of enjoyment playing with other musicians and it will help you learn how to listen to what is happening around you and how to react to that.
5) Work on your rhythm. One of the first things you will discover when you jam with a drummer for the first time is that you have to play along to them, not the other way around. That may sound simple but it trips up a lot of players who don’t listen to what is happening around them and forge ahead at their own tempo throwing the whole band out. Practice at home by playing along to jam tracks or a simple looped drum beat, you can get plenty of simple drum loops to drop into your DAW and there are a few apps for iOS & Android that have drum beats or backing tracks that you jam along to.
I hope you find this article helpful, if you have any tips let me know in the comments!