Sunday, March 29, 2015

Guitar Playing Tips---How To Create Your Own Guitar Style

By Mark Grove

So many players at jams have asked other players,how to get their own style and not copy the greats.

You have to model the players to some degree.Yeah, I know most players these days seem to want to be totally original. At least they say that.

We all steal to some degree.You can't say that Mark. I'm an original player.Yeah, sure you are.

In one of my last articles, I talk about playing to vinyl records. Just listen to what I'm saying here.

If you can't find a suitable guitarist locally to learn from, learn from the best on vinyl. Clapton,Slash,Zappa,Page, Malmsteen and Johnson.  Eric Johnson that is.

Just my picks.

You may not know all these players. Doesn't matter. If you're a blues or rock player, take some of slash's material. Not Guns n' Roses,but his (Blues Ball)Project. His blues band basically.

Slash is a complementary player...not a virtuoso. But he plays like he means it when its his turn. Slash is a phenomenal player in blues mode, and was lucky enough to grow up around the top players when he was a child. His mother made gowns,apparel and concert suits for the top players around in the late 60's and 70's.

I can't remember his site domain, but look for Slash, Blues Ball on Google. Sure you want to learn other types of music, but keep to your staple music. Be it blues, rock, C and W or what ever.

If you stray too far from what you play you'll go in too many directions,and your playing will have major flaws.That's like a conversation I had the other day with Dee Curtis, my consultant for Canadian Guitar Player.

He plays blues strictly,and we both agreed if he started playing jazz and fusion type material constantly, he would be veering too far away from the flame. So to speak.

If you stray too far from the type of music you love, you understand and create value for fans with, you won't do the last thing.

Make money. Its not about money, but if you do the other 3 you'll succeed and make money.

Here are some tips to have your own Guitar Playing Style:

Don't play too many notes: Players who lack experience tend to think playing many notes will cover mistakes and sound hip. Play slower and keep time like a bass player if you're a beginner.

Play like a sideman::If you're playing at a jam don't try to play like the lead guitarist. Even if you're better than the lead. Reason being, you don't want to follow the lead guitarist.

Learn to follow and apply the technique of the drummer and bass player. This will keep your playing in a different vein. Learn slowly is the key.

Learn from Vinyl and CD's: CDs have a different vibe than vinyl when you hear it. Because of the digital versus analog tone and sound. Play to it over and over again. You'll play vinyl more your way than a CD.

Reason being you can hear everything more clearly on a CD and subsequently players tend to overplay to it. Tascam has a great CD player that you can use to play to.You can also take out the guitar or bass part and play that part as well.

Good little unit.

You'll learn your own style more if you use vinyl. Try it out and see what your results are. Record your original playing with Analog equipment as well.Your recording will be more creative. If all you use is digital, your playing and recording tends to be less than stellar.

I know a blues player who uses analog equipment only to make demos. He uses an old Tascam 4 track tape deck and an Onkyo tape deck as well. He uses a Shure 57 mic and a 30 watt practice amp.

He just uses the mixer built in to the Tascam.

If you can't handle analog equipment and make it creative with your playing, how do you expect to do anything with digital. Its like your money. If you can't handle small amounts of money and invest it properly,without wasting it,how do you expect to be able to handle millions?

Okay, change up the cover tunes if any just a little here and there.  But don't change it when mixing and mastering it. You'll ruin your original playing and intentions.

Learn at jams and play with better players than yourself. Choose a player locally to learn from. Jam by yourself at times and record it. Its like being a writer.

You have to come up with articles and ideas for what ever you're writing about. If all you do is glom ideas from others and Mags, you may never come up with your own writing style.

You will always emulate other players. Jamming with others, your own band and by yourself will give you all you need to challenge yourself.

Come up with riffs and phrasings that blow your mind. If you don't like your work keep working it until you do. Don't always change your tunings, amp or guitar settings either.

Think about it.We always hear about golfers who change their swings and putting mechanics, only to end up adding strokes that lose themselves a cool hundred grand in a major tournament.

So, don't play note for note when covering, and write and record your own tunes that captivate you.

So get to work lads.


Peace and success to all players.

Mark G
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