#1
I am a singer, first and foremost, but I use the guitar to accompany myself. I prefer my Yamaha nylon-string guitar. I like the warm sound of a classicalSpanish/concert guitar, and I use it when I play unplugged -- without amplification. I use my folk/western/steel-string guitar when I am plugged in or when I know the night will be focused on Cash/Elvis/Buddy Holly etc.

My question for the forum: How to I spice up my guitar playing? I have been playing since I was a teenager. In recent years I have started playing up the neck with different placements of the standard major and minor chords. I play a few maj7 chords when it seems appropriate. I prefer fingerpicking, and without purposely choosing a picking pattern, I seem to come up with a different one for each song that fits the rhythm. I have learned scales, and worked on blues a bit. I had a series of Bossa Nova lessons from a Brazilian guitarist, but just developed a couple of songs out of it.

So I can accompany myself fairly well with chords. What I'm missing when I listen to myself: interesting guitar phrases for intro, ending, and between lines; clear and succinct solo lines when I do try a musical interlude; interesting harmonic statements just with guitar.

What help is out there for me? I can read notation for classical guitar (standard notation), and I am developing a small classical solo repertoire. I see all kinds of things on the internet about people trying to become guitar gods by soloing over the band. What I don't see are well developed arrangements for the singer. Should I sit down and take the time to write compositions myself (for all my 200 songs)?

Any ideas?

thanks!
#2
I think I'll take this to another website and see if I get any response.
#3
I like your motivation. "Spice" can only come from within. How far do you want to take your guitar playing? When I first heard Richie Haven, I saw the acoustic as a much needed rhythm instrument (4 me personally). The guitar was now capable of rich layers of poly rhythms, based on my strumming wrist, thumb, pinky, plectrum, and middle finger. I don't agree with using nylon strings-just think the sound is dull, but that does not matter.

Singing is THE main instrument in Folk and in some Country/Western music, like you said, the guitar IS the accompaniment. I can't tell you if it's a good idea 2 compose 4 all of your 200 songs, that is up to you. The missing link you speak of during interludes etc, could be solved with a 2-3 note sweep, using ANY method/rule of theory that you wish (note agreement) That is the awesome thing about knowing theory and composing, you can use it to your creative advantage
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1981 Fender Lead I Seymour Duncan humbucker, Mesa BoogieIIIRectifer, MKIIRhodes,PRS
#4
for 30 years i felt the same way about guitar - it was mostly an accompaniment. too much going on on your guitar may take away from your singing.

on the other hand, the easiest way to get used to little flourishes is to play them. go to youtube and learn some things you see there - not full songs, just the interesting bits of business that catch your ear. learn a bunch, then adapt what you've learned to your own songs without copying the riffs you've learned. also try playing along with albums with similar types of music. that way, you'll sort of help define your style for your flourishes as you'll be the lead player to the albums.

even better, if you have recordings of all your own songs, play along with them, but dare to put in little flourishes here and there. if you're like me at all, you'll find when you play along enough that those little pieces of flash become second nature and you won't have to actually "write" them - they'll write themselves.