As there are no shortcuts to success in business, similarly there are no shortcuts to become a great guitarist. Every musician needs hours of practice with their instruments to be called the best in their chosen fields of specialty . Remember ‘Practice makes one perfect’. To become better with the guitar needs not only practice but also some skills in various processes like technique, tuning and the likes. Here are the seven major abilities to become better than before.
- Technique: understanding the techniques of the guitar
is what truly distinguishes a good guitarist from a great guitarist.
Most people will try to copy the guitar sound to play tunes that sound
right, rather than understand the technique behind these tunes. It is
important to understand what technique truly is. It is not just tricks
and tips of the guitar; it is a whole concept of knowledge that is vast
and varied and can help the guitarist get better at his strumming.
Having the right technique of the guitar is the foundation or the
building block of the guitarist. Some important techniques that need to
be picked up and mastered are picking, hammer-ons, pull-offs, vibrato
and string bending. A guitarist without technique is like a teacher
without passion. The music sounds dull and monotonous. Technique is
what makes all the difference to a guitarist.
- Tuning: tuning is the most important thing for a
guitarist. If a guitarist does not know how to tune his guitar or play
in tune then he is not a good guitarist. The guitarist without the
right tune or tuning will only end up sounding amateurish. Tuning can
have the desirable effect according to the genre of music. If a punk or
rock guitarist wants a particular rough effect to his tunes, he will
tune his guitar accordingly. This can only be done when the guitarist
is completely aware of tuning and tunes. It is not necessary that
perfect tuning will lead to perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is very hard to
come by and can be only achieved when the guitarist is completely in
sync with his guitar and its sound. Tuning is not a skill that is
acquired overnight. It takes time, patience and lots of practice to
become perfect at tuning.
- Musicianship: most people who take up the guitar are
those who have some natural talent or want to explore some inspiration.
But remember that those who are naturally inclined towards music, or
have inspiration should not mistake it for talent and avoid practicing.
Each and every musician, be it a talented one or a natural one or an
inspired musician needs to practice. You will see the best musicians,
especially guitarists just practicing their tunes for hours on end.
They do not have the attitude that because they are good they need to
not practice. Infact it is the opposite, for them it is to get better
that they practice. Musicianship is important for a guitarist and one
that requires hours of practice for it to fully develop. Musicianship
requires a fine balance between techniques, scales and chords. As an
amateur guitarist you may think that you need inspiration before you
hit the strings. This is not true. Ask any musician and he will tell
you that to get inspiration you need to practice. Just keep playing the
old tunes over and over again, trying to make them unique and the
inspiration will hit you.
- Creativity: to be any kind of musician, be it a pianist
or guitarist you need some degrees of creativity. Creativity is
related to musicianship and practice. These cannot function without
each other and are more often than not dependent on each other.
Creativity is also about being flexible and is what makes people
flexible. When you are creative you can do anything. How a guitarist
reacts and adjusts to the unexpected is what makes him creative and
what will get you to adjust anywhere and to anything. Especially in
live performances when there are glitches or when one band member
throws out the unexpected, these can be covered up by your creativity.
- Ear training: ear training as important to guitaring as
tuning and technique is. Ear training helps bring other processes like
creativity, technique, musicianship and confidence together for a
guitarist. Ear training is considered by the best guitarists to be the
most difficult skill to learn and perfect. You will notice that most
rock guitarists have ear training down to the tee, as they start rock
guitar by picking up tunes by the ear. Classical guitarists are the ones
who play by technique more than they play by ear. The way to improve
your aural skills is by listening to a lot of music, understanding
patterns, chords and techniques applied in the particular piece of
music. Transcribing songs, transcribing music and transcribing rhythm
are great ways to improve ear training. A guitarist can also take
trainings with an aural instructor to improve their untrained ear.
- Confidence: confidence and stage presence come
naturally to those who are born leaders, and those who have perfect
knowledge and techniques of the guitar. Once you know your techniques,
tuning and aural skills perfectly, confidence is all yours. Ofcourse
lets not forget those born charmers who exude charisma and personality
are the ones who have the best stage presence, as they are the ones that
are most confident in their skin and around people. The shyer ones
need not be worried, as they practice and get better with technique and
skill they will get more confident about playing in public and on
- Practice and more practice: the only way a good guitarist can become a great guitarist is by endless hours of practice. Though the thought of practicing the guitar for hours can sound boring to some, but those who are really dedicated will understand the importance of practice. Techniques, tuning and ear training can be honed by hours of practice. Practicing for hours and hours everyday will ultimately pay off when you are standing on the stage and strumming along to your music and making the crowd sway, or when you are the lead guitarist with a rock band and making the crowd rock to your songs, you will be truly satisfied.