As a teacher, the biggest thing I see missing in young players is an understanding of Timbre.

In a nutshell, timbre is the tone or sound quality you get from your instrument.

A good instrument will deliver a lot more timbre possibilities but every instrument is capable of pumping out a variety of different tones.

The best way to exemplify it is if i told you something serious in a funny voice... you'd hear the words, but the tone of my voice would make you think i was joking. If I told you something loving in a screaming tone, you'd hear the words, but be confused by why I was yelling.

This seems obvious.

But I've seen students playing lullabies with the twangiest slap
and heavy tunes with a delicate fear of the instrument

Notes need to be delivered in the right way

Think about the emotion or feel of the song your playing and try to reflect this in your tone... happy songs... bright tone... sad songs... soft tone... heavy songs... aggressive tone... etc

It's not easy and takes a long time to develop good timbre skills, you need to get to know how the areas on your guitar create certain sounds... experiment.

Try writing a small song/melody everyday with a different emotion... sad, happy, excited, angry, relaxed, etc

Also, sound-scapes are cool ways to explore sounds.... try getting your instrument to create sounds from the beach, or the forest, or space.

here's a daily melody i wrote when I went to see a 20 week scan of my baby in the womb...

It is all done on an acoustic guitar... I tried to imagine some sounds the baby would hear and musically recreate some emotions... the big chords represent the mothers feelings, and the small melodies that answer represent the babies response to these emotions...


Interested to see if anyone has thought about these points in their learning or whether any other teachers share my views


Good God is it ever lacking. Thank you for bringing it up. This is one of the main reasons I try discourage people from reading off tab solos all day as opposed to getting to know the feel of their instrument and experimenting. What's the fun of playing a melody when you can't add any color to it?