Monday, October 02, 2006

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Guitar Players

Here's a great article. We sometimes overlook the simple things.

By: Tony Williams

1.Change the strings regularly - there is perhaps no more
important aspect of playing a musical instrument than that of
maintaining it properly. Guitar strings wear out with regular
use and even more quickly become coated in grease and dead skin.
So it is imperative that you wipe the strings after playing and
also change the strings as often as needed.

But how often do strings need changing? Well, if you only play
your guitar a couple of times a month then you will probably get
away with a couple of sets of strings per year. But if you play
in a band a couple of times a week or more then you should renew
the strings at least once a week. And forget the old wives tale
about boiling strings, that is for fools and practical jokers;
fit new strings every time.

2.Play what is required, not what you like - Just because
you have mastered that tricky right hand tapping technique does
not mean that you should try to use it at every opportunity.
Instead, concentrate on what feels and sounds right for the
piece you are working on. It might not be as self satisfying to
play five notes where you could have squeezed in fifty, but it
can often be far more effective - and remember that you will
always get the chance to impress your mates on another song.

3.Practice effectively - Do you have a regular practice
schedule? If not, then you should develop one! Your guitar
practice should include different techniques, slow playing, fast
playing, rhythmic playing, etc. Don't just play what you enjoy
playing during solo practice sessions, but instead remember to
devote some time to the stuff you find difficult.

4.Play with the band, not over them - Never turn your amp
up to eleven and expect the rest of the band to join you. Not
only is it a recipe for tinnitus and premature deafness, but it
will quickly get you replaced by a more considerate guitarist.
An effective guitar player will be listening to the whole band,
not just him/herself, and if the guitar sounds too loud the
effective guitar player will turn the volume down to a level
that matches the rest of the band! if you think you might be
guilty of this then try listening objectively to the whole band
next time you play and ask yourself if it sounds well balanced.

5.Be original - Don't just copy your guitar heroes. Of
course it is natural and essential to actively learn the chops
of your favourite players, but don't just copy them verbatim;
instead you should try to mix and match the techniques you have
learned to develop your own original licks.

6.Keep an open mind and ear - Just because your favourite
player uses a Marshall stack or a Mesa Boogie combo, and plays a
Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul doesn't mean that you
have to do the same. All of the best player's sounds are unique
and exclusive, and it goes far beyond the equipment used. Think
of the different sounds produced by for example Jimi Hendrix,
Hank Marvin and Eric Clapton - they are all Strat players but
all sound different and apart from each other.

7.Enjoy yourself - the fact is that successful guitar
players actually enjoy what they do; think of Eddie Van Halen
leaping around the stage with a wide smile on his face. I'm
willing to bet that the reason he became such a great player in
the first place is because he actually loves what he is doing.
So when the time comes, go out and enjoy it!

About the author:
Tony Williams is a musician, writer, and self-confessed
eBay fanatic. He is also the editor and webmaster of MuZiCk, the irreverent rock music
, and Rich
Pickings, your online guitar advisory service

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