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Here is some Guitar Lessons advice from MrGuitarist
Play along with a rhythm section
Many aspiring students make the mistake of learning music strictly as an academic exercise. Play with friends, play along with CD’s, and practice with well-designed backing tracks. If you don’t already have backing tracks, we have some for sale via request.
Record yourself and listen back
The first step is to record yourself playing along with a rhythm section, actual or virtual. Then analyze what you hear in two categories. Category one is for what you like about your playing. Category two is for what you don’t like about your playing. Most people beginning this process will be very discouraged, don’t be! Have the courage to uncover the dirt! Very, very important!.
Analyze and correct your mistakes
After you have analyzed what you don’t like, patiently, persistently and systematically begin the very fruitful process of correcting yourself. It is beyond the scope of this brief write up to get into detail about how to correct your mistakes. But I will say that many, many great guitarists have gone through this process. Hundreds of studio hours have been spent hating what they were hearing. But those hours were an invaluable asset in their journey to greatness
Tip 2- Creating Melodies With A Rhythm Section
Summary of tip one:
The last tip letter discussed the importance of getting in the habit of recording yourself playing guitar. If you are learning to solo, in addition to learning the appropriate scales, make it a habit to play either with other musicians, or jam tracks with a rhythm section. Playing with others is a very valuable experience, if you wish to perform live. However, if the players are not accomplished, you should also play along with prerecorded professionally made tracks. It is certainly not necessary to play with a rhythm section every time you pick up a guitar. Doing so three or four times a week is a good start. Remember, you are trying to accomplish two objectives:
- Recognize what in your playing you like and wish to accentuate and reinforce.
- Recognize what you don’t like in your playing and wish to improve upon.
Write down your observations on two separate lists. Most people do not like to critique themselves, but it is invaluable in the long-run. Remember, many great players spent countless hours in studios listening to things they also did not like in their playing.
Tip 2: Write-up
When I listen back, I don’t like what I hear. Where do I go from here?
This is one write-up in a series that will not only address how to sound better, but how to play better! This specific letter will address soloing concerns, since most students are interested in being an accomplished lead guitarist.
The single most important thing you must do is develop your ears! You should work to get quicker and quicker at getting what you hear to come through on the guitar. This is often a lifelong process. However, it does not take long to learn to play solos that are simple but melodic.
It is a good idea to work on gradually developing your speed and technique. However, speed and technique should be used to augment an already existing music-making ability. It is missing the point to make speed a priority when starting out on the instrument. Learning to form musical phrases that work well with the music you are playing along with should always be your first concern.
Years ago I had the opportunity to study with a world-renowned jazz teacher. Every week he would ask me to compose a solo to a jazz standard and be prepared to perform it at our next lesson. This is a very valuable assignment for a number of reasons. For one, it forces us to hear musical ideas and find them on our instrument. It also gets us thinking melodically rather than just playing a bunch of notes. For those who have a working knowledge of harmony, this process helps them under- stand chord-scale relationships. It is also useful to learn to write music and play what you have written. But again, ear-training is the most important work you can do as a musician!
First, it is good to know the scale that fits with your rhythm track. From there, the key is to start very, very simply! Hum very simple ideas along with the background music. If you like what you hear, tape yourself humming along with the backing tracks. Again, set the relative volume of your voice and the rhythms section so that it sounds musical. Humming along is in itself a real good exercise.
The next step is to try to find that very simple melody on your guitar and play it. Very gradually add more very simple ideas and build your solo. Over time you will have what amounts to a song. Again, keep it very, very simple at first. Otherwise, you increase the likelihood of getting frustrated and giving up.
One big problem for Electric Guitar students has to do with coming up with enough good musical ideas. The next write-up will address this problem. It will also provide tips to help guitarists become fluid with their ideas along with their phrasing. So for now, get to work on developing your ability to play what you hear, and we will meet again at the “same Bat time and the same Bat station!”
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