Sometimes, we all hit a wall and there's no way around it. Playing guitar just makes you tired, all seems to go wrong and you feel no progress at all. That's normal, but then - fighting with it is not so easy. Here I'll provide you 10 useful advices, which helped me, and I hope that it will be the same with you!
1. Our solos sometimes are just boring, so when you can't develop any good solo, find inspiration. When improvising sounds dull and the same, there's a good way that I've picked up from Steve Vai lessons. In few words, trying to express some emotions won't work if you don't feel them at all, so try to make yourself fell the music you want to play. Review events in your head that you want to express, find some weird feelings like throwing an ice cube behind your shirt (or pants, as well) and try to play them. This is quite amusing and really helps in braking the routine. Remember to vary rhythm, dynamics, use various scales, chords. Vary everything! You are the artist!
2. Don't be afraid of clean tone! Even if you play rock or metal, or any distorted genre - turn the fuzz off and listen to your guitar. Try changing the pickup selector for different sounds and have fun with the knobs of Bass, Middle and Treble. Finding new tone is a great motivator to play. If you find one, write it down somewhere, not to lose it. Save the knobs positions, pickup selectors and any other settings you've made. Have fun!
3. Change tuning. We are used to good old E standard tuning. Detune a string or two and see how that works! You can now form new chords, play melodies that were before hard to pull out, especially wide interval jumps. Try tuning B string to E, so you will have two high E strings - that makes a very distinct sound - find out what it is! You can also try tuning every string half step lower for a Eb standard tuning, which sounds similar to E standard, but gives a more hard- rock feeling. But the most suprising effects will give you tunings that you make randomly, by detuning random strings. Try to accommodate in that tunings and write some ice cold solos!
4. Find new scales to improvise. I've written a whole article on how to find a new scale, just go there and have a read. That's refreshing! http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/scales/guide_to_creating_your_own_scales.html
5. Don't overload your practice! Maybe you're in a rut in case of too much practice? Maybe it's too much for your hands? Even if you don't feel pain your muscles can be tired, so give them a day free of work. Maybe the mind is tired also, so relax - have a party, or do anything that will make you relaxed, refreshed and ready for practice on the next day! Don't be afraid of rest, it's a very important part of practice.
6. Do you have a practice routine? If you do - maybe there's too much of material, and you're not progressing because of that. Cut some material off and focus on a particular subject every day. That helps.
7. Keep in mind your goals. If you will set a goal to become a great guitarist, and the best shredder ever, that will kill you in several weeks. Keep in mind that nobody can be perfect and don't try to be better that guitarist x. You're unique, as any musician and music is not a race. So better set a goal like I want to learn a whole-tone scale or a I want to make a challenge to develop my left hand and aim trough it. Short term goals like this will make you feel that you are really progressing. That's a great feeling! Here's my lesson on some kind of that challenge, try it out
8. Listen. That's the most valuable advice that can be given to every musician. Ever. Music is a hearing art and you should use your ears! Drop off the tabs, learn songs by ear, improvise and sing melodies, listen to classical music, or dubstep or even k-pop for some weird or interesting sounds. Let your ears be curious. Train them by singing/playing intervals and lot more! Don't underestimate their power, and remember that you are a musician and people not only look at the musicians, but listen to them. So record yourself and be rigorous to your playing. That will make you better day after day.
9. Write music! That is something that can't be compared with anything else. Playing in front of an audience a cover of very hard piece to play gives satisfaction, but think about that what would you feel if it would be your piece? Create, discover and work on your own songs every day. You know how it is when audience sings the melody or lyrics you have written? No? So now you know what is the first step to feel it.
10. Jam with other people. Music should be shared. Any backing track will not be better than a living musician with a head full of ideas. Pick those who you feel comfortable with, so you will not be shy to show your artistic visions and ideas. Never mind if its metal or blues. Express and share.
That's all for tonight, but before the curtain will fall I hope that you will find at least one advice helpful for you. My head is full of ideas like that, so stay tuned for the next updates like this in the future. There's never enough of good ideas when it comes to music!
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( C ) 2012