need a little boost?


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angusrox
05-31-2007, 12:26 PM
We've all been at a certain point in our playing when the idea of playing anymore just isn't so appealing, right? If you're saying no right now, you're lying :) Just what exactly can you do to stay motivated? Here's just a few concepts

1.) Comedic songs: they're not funny just because of the content. They're fun, too, and that's what matters! There's nothing better than getting together with another friend, acoustics in hand, and just playing some songs that will make you laugh your asses off. Can't think of anything to write about? Then learn some comedy covers. Stephen Lynch has so many songs to choose form, you will never be bored. Not to mention Tenacious D and Rodney Carrington. They also provide a nice switch-up at gigs. Granted, you have to take your audience into consideration, but chances are if they hear you playing and singing "If I were Gay" by Lynch, they'll most likely be holding their sides, or, if you're good at getting into the mood, "Tribute" by Tenacious D is good, too. There are tons of others besides the ones I've mentioned, but you can find them and decide for yourself.

2.) Walk through town with your guitar and play music depending on what you see or feel. Sound weird? It's fun, actually. If you're waiting for the heavy traffic to slow down, play something slow or peaceful, then go into some crazy-ass strumming as you dart across the road. Not only do you get to work on some easy improv, but you start to recognize the moods of different progressions and riffs. When you finally make it to the grocery store only to find out it's closed, you probably wouldn't play something upbeat like "867-5309 (Jenny)", right? Some of you may be laughing at this idea, but try it anyways, you might be shocked.

3.) Spontaneity is always a good thing, so be random. If you're playing something that's moderately paced and happy, slow it down to a minor progression, arpeggiating the chords. These subtle changes allow you to gather ideas on bridges and whatnot. We've all heard songs where the artist goes from strumming to arpeggiated chords, take "Paradise" by Tesla. Great song because of the variety.

4.) Become a Luthier! Simply experiment with your guitar and its wiring, paintjob, etc. Of course, if you don't do some background research and try it on your new $2,000 Les Paul, I'm not to blame. If you've got an extra, cheap guitar lying about, make it your guinea pig. For starters, experiment with the action (hey, some people have trouble with it, leave 'em alone)and the position of the humbuckers (tighten and loosen the screw on the sides of them to make them higher and closer to the strings or to make them further into the body, respectively). Next, you may want to change the tuners on the headstock, or the tailpiece and pickguard. Sometimes, a new look will be all that's needed to get you excited. After you've studied your axe well, and gather up the nerve, try taking out your pickups and installing new ones. hell, if you want, try the whole dipping them in parafin wax deal (Once again, I'm not responsible for something you screw up). Paintjobs can also be of great fun, especially if you take a guitar that had a solid color and turn it into multi-colored, or (better imo) changing to a semi-transparent finish.

5.) If you're at a gig, and the performance just isn't doing it for you, it'll show through to the audience. If you want to make it more interesting, then get the audeince involved. If your song has a nice breakdown to it, you can get the audience to really clap along, or introduce the band. Small improved jams are also good to introduce members with. Also, having a very catchy chorus that's easy to remember can be great fun for the audience because they'll be able to scream it along with you. If having an audience yelling your song at the top of their lungs right back at you doesn't thrill you, just stop playing now ;) If you want to have some real fun with the audience, try to find someone who can sing (how you do it is up to you) and gram 'em and take 'em up on stage. You can put them in the spotlight and tell the rest of the audience that they're gonna sing along with you (it's most likely best to do a well-known cover, unless they're a close friend that knows your originals). If it goes well, the audience will probably be cheering like crazy.

Well, that's it for now. If I get a good response from you guys, I may do additional ones on the same concept.