Maximized Guitarist. Part 2

A long overdue remake of a great topic. This is an article on how to Maximize your guitar playing ability, and expand your musical horizons.

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Maximized Guitarist. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about it? Be honest now. You've probably thought of your immediate favourite guitar idol. Whether you're a shredder liking Satriani, or a gritty type person idolizing Neil Young or a technical type who appreciates Clapton or experimental who enjoys Hendrix, without a doubt, you've probably thought about your idol.

I guarantee you that your signature sound is developed by listening to your idol which is the case with most everybody. You look up to your idols. You idolize them, worship them, admire them, you get the idea. The passion, energy and fire that is conveyed in their music is what you want to hear in you own. They've gotten to where they are, or where they have been by staying true to themselves and their roots. Experimenting, learning, building confidence and perfecting their skill. Their desire and passion keep them going. That's what you want to keep you going to. Not for fame or glory, but for the music.

But how do you maximize your guitar playing ability? Here is an article to help you do it.

Play Alone Or With A Close Friend

Genuine musicians tend to enjoy playing alone. For obvious reasons it should seem, playing alone sets the foundation for your confidence building. Let's face it, not a soul enjoys screwing up in public. Whether it be a musician in a subway or a kid at a talent show or someone playing for a group of friends or their parents, you run the risk of screwing up in public. And it isn't fun and has shattered many of my friend's dreams of music, or at least put them off of it for a while. When you're alone or with a close friend, you're not trying to impress someone. Your mistakes are helped and not ridiculed. You don't feel like a failure. You just feel like you can play. Private practice as opposed to public playing is a good way to build the foundation for your confidence, and hone your skills.

Learn New Songs, Licks, Solos & Riffs

Keep it fresh. Summed up this section in 3 words. Ironman, Smoke On The Water, Day Tripper, they're all good songs with good riffs that made some influence for sure, but to be blunt, they're over used, and stale. Learn as many songs as you can. Hear a song on the radio, and start putting chords together and figuring it out. Mess around with solos you can't pin down, learn that blues lick you always thought was cool or blues turn-around you love, or bass line that you can't get out of your head. Premeditated or on Impulse, it's good to be fresh, and keep it real.

Rhythm Is Necessary!

Rhythm is 75% of the song and timing is everything. Simple chord progressions like Am, C, G, F in 4:4 can sound one stale, bland old way. Or jazzed up to sound like a variety of genres depending on the rhythm that's used. It could sound heavy, jazzy, bluesy, hard and metal, but it all depends on the rhythm. Learning your solos is needed, but don't neglect this crucial piece of information.

Learn Theory

I can't stress this enough. To get anywhere as a musician, you should understand why things are the way they are. Why the major scale is 7 notes and an octave, why bar(re) chords are movable and interchangeable, why relative major and minor chords work together, why & where augmented and diminished chords are used. Theory is valuable, and you will need it if you decide to pursue music as a career.

Practice

Obvious no-brainer. Talent and skill don't just happen. It takes hard work and effort to get to where you want to be and where your idols got. Don't strain yourself though. All it takes is a half an hour practicing something you want to learn and an eight hour nap on a daily basis, and over time you'll get it. Work hard at what you want, but don't neglect what you already know. Practice new things, and review what you already know to stay sharp, and keep improving.

Get Inspired

Go to a concert, slap on a CD or DVD, read online or magazine lessons or interviews of your idols. Just get inspired and stay inspired. Inspiration is one of the biggest tools you'll need to become great.

Unplug And Learn About Other Instruments

Practice you're acoustic work as well as your electric work. It's great to know about all angles of the musical world. And while you're at it, play electric, play acoustic, play bass, play the piano, play the keyboard play the flute, play everything. Musical theory and instruments are all relative; the only thing different is the sound and how it's played.

Multitask

When you're watching TV or talking on the phone or on the computer, have you're instrument with you. Pay attention to one thing, but subconsciously, build your picking speed, run through a lick or scale, practice you're slap pop and thumping skills. You can do two things at once, and every minute you hold you're instrument and do something with it, paying attention or not, you're perfecting how to use, and honing your skills.

That's all there is for me to say on the subject. Thanks for reading. I may do more articles if this one turns out well.

78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sabre0001
    good article...couple of points though: Rythem is far more important than 75% - a mate of mine can play fast and learn hard stuff pretty quick but he has no rythem, so it all sounds crap...Even worse when he's playing with people...*cringe* Also, i dont think that music theory is vital - great if you're in a rut and drawing a blank but if it sounds right, play it...
    strumntheguitar
    Decent article, good points, but i do disagree with the necessity of learning music theory. It may surprise you that Jimi Hendrix, Slash, and several other famed guitarits knew very little about music theory. The only theory you need to know is what sounds good together and what doesn't, and you will still be able to be an excellent guitarist.
    redwing_suck
    This kind of "read this and you'll be a lot better"/"inspirational" article is the most overdone thing on UG. Spam deleted.
    dandenmark
    your "multitasking" idea directly confilcts with high voltage's "guitar practicing-how healthy is your diet?" article, where the first thing he says is to never play the guitar while watching tv or eating. But otherwise it's a sweet article!
    theonlybman
    and mr. egotistical has to make a million spaces so everyone will see his stupid ignorant comment
    theonlybman
    I think guitarkid thinks that he's gonna be great by not knowing theory and not practicing.
    gair182
    meh, pretty generic article still, it was to the point and unbiased. 3 stars.
    GuitarJunkie
    AlreadyTooLate: however you dont have to be able to read music to be a great musician i shouldnt have to remind you guys that hendrix couldnt read mussic to save his life. yet hes the greatest of all time and theory isnt that neccesary however it is good to have. very good articl.
    True...he did know what he was doing though theory wise, he didnt just improv everything although that was a big part of his musical creation process...dont get me wrong though, i agree you dont have to be able to read music to be an amazing player...but you need to know what why and when to do certain things, which is in essence having a good background of music theory
    dogsballs
    nobody enjoys reading shit like this. go and talk to your little brother and leave us alone!
    joblow
    The reson Slash - Hendrix - ect were so great and didnt know music theory or how to read music is because they played 10 + hours a day every single day from age 14 to 20. When you play that much you have time to figure shit out yourself. But times change and kids dont grow up the same anymore. Thats why todays muisc sucks. All in all good read. 4 stars.
    guitare_kid13
    jl_audiopro121: Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how talent is how good you arrange music,you may have a good riff and you dont know how to followed it ,thats when it show your talent
    EV0L
    i love how he said "keep it fresh" (refering to licks and junk) and then brought up ironman, daytripper, and smoke on the water; three songs all from over 20 years ago each
    AusFender911
    oh damn, i was hoping this was going to be another hilariously terrible artical like the original "Maximized Guitarist". Good job unfortuanetly
    Metallica12_12
    "You look up to your idols. You idolize them, worship them, admire them" No jk its a awsome article and btw solos are only as good as the rythem thats with them.. [QUOTEjl_audiopro121: Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how ] I have come up with some awsome solos some are built around sclaes some are more hendrix style and kinda random my point.. These solos sound cool but wont fit intoa song unless i have the proper rythem part with them. Maybe your going to right the next Eruption but i doubt it. The most memerable part of a song for most people is a rythem. Also rythem is not just strumming a chord pattern. Many songs have a rythic part without chords eg. Fade To Black and alot of Master of Puppets has awsome picked rythems that are nearly as hard as soloing. And real "talent" would be having the brains not to say what you said and realizing that some times you can't play the flashy solo because it stops your song fomr sounding good.
    guitare_kid13
    jl_audiopro121: Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how someone get this guy a brain
    guitare_kid13
    jl_audiopro121: Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how can this guy be more stupid,he thinks their is no talent in strumming(lol).Just take a look at Led Zep's "over the hills an far away" or "stairway to heaven",there is totally a lot of strumming in those songs(which is very easy to play)but just the way the music is arrange shows a great talent. I agree with Maet, you have no right on a guitar
    Shoestick
    Wow. [sarcasm]This was original.[/sarcasm]And number one is a pile of crap. Without a doubt, playing with a group of musicians is a thousand times better than playing by yourself.
    spikedemon!
    I wouldn't really agree with the multitasking thing...i think you should be focused when ur practicing
    Maet
    dandenmark: your "multitasking" idea directly confilcts with high voltage's "guitar practicing-how healthy is your diet?" article, where the first thing he says is to never play the guitar while watching tv or eating. But otherwise it's a sweet article!
    Chris means something completely different. Chris is saying that when you want to practice guitar, that's all you should focus on and not have any distractions. What I'm saying is if you're watching TV or on the phone or something, and you have your instrument handy, why not practice thumping or building picking speed subconciously?
    jl_audiopro121: Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how
    After that statement, you have absolutely no right to be playing guitar, let alone critiquing other people's musical work.
    SOF
    Lotz of you guys diss this article, but what are you really doing? you are just showing the rest of us, who keep an open mind and who are really true about music, that you are arigent, childish dumbasses. Awesome article for the beginner musician. Try gettin alil more technicle on y our next one.
    jl_audiopro121
    Everyone is like "rythem rythem rythem" any moron can strum back and forth on diffrent chords real talent is shown when soloing. most people that dont solo is becouse they dont know how
    Fedaykin
    the "play other instruments" part is so true. I truly understood chords when I started palying piano (after 2 years of playing guitar)
    Pyro128
    Theory isnt everything though. My buddy has theory out the butt but isn't quite able to improv well enough and stuff. Playing by ear is a very useful technique. Master both to become great.
    AlreadyTooLate
    however you dont have to be able to read music to be a great musician i shouldnt have to remind you guys that hendrix couldnt read mussic to save his life. yet hes the greatest of all time and theory isnt that neccesary however it is good to have. very good articl.
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    pretty good...and joycey-all these "tools" as he calls them essentially do different things, i think this is off personal expericance, cuz theory gave ME the mentality of how a guitar works-therefore making me a better writer and better player...its all about how ur brain interprits things...but in all, learning all u need to know brings oyu closer to your potential. thtas th eonly thing everyone has in common with interpritation
    Joycey
    Pretty good apart from the theory part experience has taught me different that's all but still a good article!
    tremonti887
    those are all good points, but one very important aspect of music is to have "feeling" in your work. Put your heart into what your playing...good article