Developing Style

Investigation of style and how it is to one's benefit to broaden and expand this pallete.

Ultimate Guitar

When I first began to play the guitar, I wanted to be just like Kirk Hammet from Metallica. I set up my amp to sound just like his. I learned half the songs in the Metallica repertoire. Then it was on to Megadeth, and from Megadeth to Slayer, Pantera, Sepultura and original thrash metal music I was beginning to write myself.

Now that I'm 23, my strongest instrument is that acoustic guitar and my strongest technique is fingerstyle jazz.

How did this happen to me? Where did I suddenly jump off the thrash metal bandwagon and begin play ja..ja..jazz of all things. It's unthinkable!

Or is it?

Style is something that takes time to develop, for me it took over a decade. Throughout that time I learned to play a garden variety of riffs, solos and chords, and I even wrote a few songs of my own. Then as I got older and started playing with other musicians I found that my lightning leads and killer licks just weren't cutting it. Was I not fast enough? Did I need a new distortion pedal?

No, the other people I had found to jam with just didn't want to play thrash metal.

So I learned to play blues, and I learned to play jazz, and I learned to play clean and acoustic and folk. I learned to make absolutely dissonant noise. I learned to work with feedback and actually turning the volume DOWN....

And sooner or later I found myself here. You know what? I couldn't be happier.

So don't fret...ha ha, ok that was bad...just keep playing whatever you like. The truth is, it's all connected anyway. Ever listen to Opeth?

Most of all, don't be afraid to learn a new style, like jazz or blues or even country. Yes, even country. In truth, these are all just colors on your pallete. The more colors you've got, the more fun you can have.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bubonic Chronic
    Yah, open your ears and minds. Mine are still in the process of opening, and I'm enjoying (almost!) every minute of it.
    Bubonic Chronic
    "i wont play anything out of the rock-metal lines of music, anything outside there, including PUNK SUX. thats my style "HEADBANGER"" What do you call Opeth? Metal stems from blues, which was heavily influenced by jazz, which was built upon Classical - it's truly all connected.
    I listen to everything and i must say some nights there is nothing like putting on some chet atkins and just kicking back and strumming along. Then there are other times when metallica is all i want to here. I totally agree with this guy and he is right, mark knofler is a prime example of everything he has said.
    I belevie in the shit you whrote but I will stick to Metallica and metalmusic.
    Hmm im gonna hafta disagree for once here....i think that a person shouldnt let playing in a band with other people cahnge the way he is[plays]....
    I completely agree with the article. I'm not an old guy and I can enjoy playing jazz and bluesy kinda stuff its enjoyable. I really do like indie/emo kinda stuff, but it is really worth any guitarists while to play an assortment of music.
    i wont play anything out of the rock-metal lines of music, anything outside there, including PUNK SUX. thats my style "HEADBANGER"
    Well, I like to play everything from Old Trashy Metallica, to Blues. Jazz is a little difficult for me though, so fast and rythemic. But I still love Turning my Humbuckers full blast and cranking the distortion, and rocking out to Metallica / ACDC. One Min later I am play some uber blues in C Minor. So I guess your right.
    Great point. and the fret joke was very appropriate and i liked it
    *I meant if I hear the song "Stairway to Heaven" COVERED one more time, i might snap
    I will agree. Different styles and style change are completely necessary. If I hear the song "Stairway to Heaven" ONE MORE TIME, I might snap! lol!
    Lol, I'm an idiot, I thought that "UG Stranger" was a guy but I guess it's an unregistered person... I apologize for my stupidity.
    UG Stranger: STOP POSTING IN ARTICLES LIKE A MAD MAN!! And no, 17 year-olds like me love blues and jazz too...
    your joking bout who the opeth part is right Stranger?
    Steve Falcone
    The fret joke could have been better but, this is a great article any way. You're absolutely right, discovering new styles is what playing guitar is about.
    dear god most of you i swear are 8 years old, if you are true guitarists you'll learn to play a little bit of everything. im sick and tired of people directly placing guitar with rock. Blues bluegrass, folk, country, jazz, blues, rap, rock, pop, emo, classical, metal, modern, foreign,techno, rave, acid, kiddie, they all have guitars that all sound different and play different things, to be a good guitarist you have to go beyond rock. look at reic clapton, his rock version of layle was outdone by his jazzier verison of layle when he played unplugged