Use Your Own Playing as a Guide to Improve Your Guitar Technique

20131228140041IMG_2980For this article a few tips how you can use your own guitar playing to get feedback on your own playing, how you can use what you already like playing to improve your style and your technique.

Are you one of those guitar players who like to mess around with their guitar? Create your own little melodies and chord sequences or sounds? Are you at times unhappy how those ideas sound? Do they sound sloppy at times? Does the rhythm of your playing not always match your ideas? Do you know how to correct it?

As you can see there are too many things to improve, logical as playing music and playing the guitar combines many skills and techniques together to create the sound you like. To get good at all of them you need to play and work on all those skills  individually. The questions students often ask is: “On what should I start working?”  “What is the most important thing to do well?” My answer is: “Look at your own playing and observe all what is weak, break this down into small segments and work on it”

Let me break down the previous statement into a practical example:  A student wants to improvise over a chord sequence using single notes.  Student is not aware of what the chords are and cannot play the rhythm of those chords.  It may be good for the student first to get to grips with those chords, get them to play smoothly and be able to name the chords as well. Once you understand a chord sequence it will be easier to improvise over this chord sequence since you understand the rhythm and all what lies underneath the chords.

Once the student starts working with those chords, student may feel that fingers cannot grip those chords clean, again this is feedback on the strength of your fingers. You could break that down to working on the strength of individual fingers to improve your overall playing.

When you work on technique individually you will be able to monitor how well you are doing: By sticking to particular exercises you will notice how your fingers will get stronger and this will benefit your overall playing for chords and single strings.

Learning from your own musical ideas is a good idea to improve your own playing: Only you play certain riffs and melodic ideas the way you do. All you need to do is observe how well you play those ideas, do they sound smooth? No? Fingers causing problems or is it music such as rhythm? Break down what it is you do not do well and work on it.

It is possible to get ideas to improve your technique from other people, but the ideas they may pass on to you may not be what you need for your own playing.

If you cannot analyse on your own what it is you need to improve your playing ask someone else to listen to your playing. This could be another musician or guitar player, but it could also be anyone who loves music and can tell you what is not right with your music. All you need is someone who can be objective and honest and give you and idea what is going on in your playing.

Once you know what your guitar playing needs you can then seek professional help or search on your own for the guidance your guitar playing needs.

Good luck and hope to catch you later on for some more ideas how to improve your guitar style.