By: Laurie Lea
Learning to play guitar is rewarding and fun. All the hard work
pays off when you can confidently rip through other people's
songs as though you wrote them yourself. But, how do you go
about developing your own individual sound? It really would be
pretty boring to just sound like everyone else.
There are two schools of thought when developing your own sound.
The first is that to some degree, you ARE going to sound like
everyone else. If you were to take all of your influences, the
guitar players you admire and have been learning from, and mix
them all together the sound that comes out would be you plus
your own flavour.
To go from here and develop your own sound from it, you've got
to be open to new things. You're going to start out emulating
all of the guitarists whose playing you admire and you'll learn
all of their songs and licks. Without realizing it, you
automatically put your own twist on things which leads to
developing your own particular style and sound.
As you go through some lead passages, the original guitarist
might have used all down strokes with the pick, while you may
decide to alternate pick. This will create a slightly different
sound. Developing your own sound comes from your preferences and
the choices you make, including picking as mentioned, but also
the way you hold the pick and how aggressively you pick the
If you take one of the guitar greats and have him play on a
totally different guitar and amp setup, it will still sound like
him, with his signature sound and playing style. While you may
not notice it right away, the same will be true for you. If you
play on anyone else's gear, it will still sound like you.
To develop your style, listen to players in other genres and
decide what you like or think might work for you. A country
guitarist can take ideas from a rock guitarist, or jazz, or
blues. As you build your bag of tricks based on what sounds and
licks sound good to your ears, you'll start to hear your own
sound come through and it will be made up of all your
preferences over the years of playing.
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