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Simple Tips to Better Guitar Playing For Beginners
What makes a good guitarist good, and a bad guitarist bad?
Being told you’re ‘bad’ at something can have two results. First, it can motivate you to improve, do better, and get ‘good.’ Second, it can demotivate you to the point where you just get up and quit.
This can be especially true for people learning to play the guitar, as hearing ax-wielding experts and peers tell you that you suck can be awful. But then, what makes a good guitarist good?
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Just because you can play a song really well doesn’t mean you’re actually communicating that song to your audience, or connecting with them on any level. You need to appeal to the emotions of the listener or to make them really feel the song you’re performing. For example, if you’re just playing a song really fast to show off how fast you can play it, what’s the listener getting out of that? The guitar isn’t good unless someone is listening.
Even if you don’t have your guitar with you, you can still practice. If you’re headed to a class, or work, or waiting in line somewhere, take a few seconds to visualize yourself playing something you’ve been working on and executing it perfectly. You’ll find that eventually, the visualization transfers into your playing.
Learn, and learn some more
Getting better at playing the guitar involves continuous, focused learning. Discipline yourself to learn something new every single day and play it. Whatever it is, big or small, easy or hard, getting into the habit of learning constantly will keep you developing your skills across every aspect of your playing and advance your muscle memory.
Find some buddies
Jam sessions are vital to developing yourself as a guitarist, especially if you’re in or are planning to be in a band or perform with other people. Jamming teaches you to riff off of other people, work together, and also gives you access to their skills and knowledge. There are also computer programs you can use if you don’t have a band or jam buddies. There are even phone apps that can act as accompaniments if needed.
If you get really stuck, just try playing along with your favorite songs – anything you can use to accompany you.
No one likes to record themselves speaking, or playing, or singing, but it’s essential if you want to be a good guitarist. Record yourself playing and listen back to it. Look for not only mistakes but anything that’s particularly great. Listen to the rhythm, melody, and composition of the songs you’re playing. These will help you learn to compose your own complete songs.
Again, it seems obvious, but even if you’re already playing to a good standard, taking guitar lessons can be a useful way to get an objective take on where you’re at, and where you need to go from there. There are tons of sites and apps out there now that will ‘teach’ you, but there’s nothing like the fresh ears of a guitar teacher.
Of course, none of these is any good unless you’re practicing. Make sure to set aside focused time for practice whenever you can, and you’ll be halfway to Hendrix before you know it. Good luck!