How To Become A Well Rounded Musician

In this lesson you will learn about certain styles and artists. Picking up pieces from the artists you love. May it be from a vocalist, bass player or a guitar player.

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How to become a well rounded musician. That is the question I asked myself. Overtime I realized that you have to find what you like, and expand your point of view. Don't only listen to metal or rock. There are a lot of music genres from blues to jazz to heavy metal. Listening to only one genre makes you a not well rounded musician.
  • Step 1 What do YOU like? Don't listen to music to just be like someone else. Find at least 8 Artist you freaking love! They don't even have to be artist, they can also be composers or bands. Don't continue unless you've found em. You can only pick 2 songs per 1 genre of music. Here's my musical inspirations:
    Black Sabbath (Metal)
    System Of A Down (Metal)
    Cream (Blues)
    Santana (Freaking Latin Blues)
    Immortal Technique (Yes this is RAP, if you actually listen to the whole song you will love it)
    Jedi Mind Tricks (Rap is more about lyrics, just listen to the whole song, gives you new perspectives)
    Tenacious D (Rock)
    Note: you might not like those artists and that's okay. I for an example despise shredding, I just think it sucks.
  • Step 2 So why did I want you to list out your favorite artists? Now you know what you like and you will mostly build your music around that. Learn everything that your favorite musicians use and do. Maybe some of them have an exotic scale you like, learn it! Do they bend in an interesting way? Learn it! You want your songs to be versatile. By listening to lots of different genres and artists, you will do that. It's 50% what you come up with and 50% what you've listened to in the past that makes your songs.
  • Step 3 I know it's hard to find what you like, if you really don't find anything you like. You must invent it yourself. You can only come up with the music you like. Just listen to as many genres of music as you can and pick out your favorites. I wanted this lesson to be more about music than theory. (I hate theory but its important).
  • Things To Take From This Lesson
  • It is okay to listen to different music (Most people in my class listen to "You know Who - Baby") Listen to what you like and don't let anyone say otherwise. They don't like it? Not your problem.
  • Listen to many genres of music.
  • Take everything you've learned from those musicians and make it your own (may it be the way they bend or do vibrato, you can do it better.)
  • Only you can write the music you truly love. So stop thinking about writing songs, just get your guitar and do it (although you should get inspired first, it's hard to write out of the blue when not.)
  • 145 comments sorted by best / new / date

      DjangoUnstrung
      Guthrie Govan Django Reinhardt Allan Holdsworth Frank Zappa The Kinks, The Beatles, The Who Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Living Colour, Seal, The Clash Sly & the Family Stone Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, King Crimson Elton John, Wings Santana, ZZ Top Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk Jimi, Stevie, Eric, B.B., Wolf, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, .38 special, The Police, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen Michael Lee Firkins, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, Bumblefoot Opeth, Marty Friedman, Jake E. Lee I tried to organize them somewhat. all metal bands have been excluded because their music blows and is juvenile and cheesy.
      gypsyblues7373
      the very fact he despises shredding means tht his article is pretty much useless on a GUITAR website...
      Not really...if you look at the range of guitarists out there, what percentage of them are actually shredders? A very, very tiny percentage (unless you only listen to metal, and then it probably seems like everyone is a shredder LOL)
      BillR87
      Awesome article!! My inspirations would certainly be: Pantera - Thrash/Groove, System Of A down - Avant garde, Dream Theater - Progressive, Faith No More - Crossover Rock, Slayer - Thrash Metal, Scars On Broadway - Rock, Type O Negetive - Gothic metal, Alice In Chains - Grunge, Jethro Tull - Progressive, and sooooo many more I could name but am far too lazy today haha
      Astralmoses
      What does it take to be a writer for UG? Talking about Jazz to Metal pshh. More like from Cream to Sabbath with a rap song shoved in there. Gotta give it up for the D though. You can't base a song on a genre or it's catchy melody, you have to feel it. To learn to write with your emotions is harder than learning any song or classifying it into another ****ing sub genre. If you want to connect with your audience you have to connect with yourself.
      ProgPunk
      Mr. Bungle (Avantgarde, Experimental) Minor Threat (Hardcore Punk) Primus (Experimental, Funk Metal...) Muse (Alternative, Neo Prog) Frank Zappa (Progressive Rock, Jazz, ...) Napalm Death (Grindcore) Tom Waits (Blues, Experimental) Sigur Rs (Ambient, Indie)
      Rimfrost
      Vektor - Tetrastructural Minds Coheed and Cambria - This Shattered Symphony The Knife - Kino Pj Harvey - Grow Grow Grow John Frusciante - Central Death - Scavenger of Human Sorrow Dresden Dolls Half Jack Kent - Tontarna
      Galfadez
      Radiohead- My Iron Lung (Alternative Rock) Radiohead- Exit Music (Alternative Rock) Radiohead- Climbing up the Walls (Experimental/Psychedelia) Radiohead- Paranoid Android (Experimental/Psychedelia) Radiohead- Everything in it's right place (Electronic) Radiohead- Kid A (Electronic) Radiohead- Bloom (Post Dubstep) Radiohead- Lotus Flower (Post Dubstep) ...just trollin', but still.
      seanjtysoe
      i listen to heavy metal, power metal, progressive metal, some metalcore, prog rock, hard, rock, blues, classical, some opera, indian, thrash/speed metal, some deathmetal. the only thing i don't like is pop. oh yeah and i like neo classical metal.
      Prog_Metal_Head
      gypsyblues7373 wrote: I looove how the author used Cream as an example of blues. Cream is NOT blues!!! Even Clapton himself would tell you that. Cream is bluesy psychedelic hard rock, the main focus being rock. You may as well list AC/DC or Led Zeppelin as an example of your idea of "blues".
      Now I don't listen to Cream, so don't have any opinion of them, but it's kinda lame to slate someone for calling them Blues, and then saying they're "BLUESY psychedelic hard rock". I mean, can we get any more pretentious than that? Just call it "Hard Rock" next time. ;
      Nero Galon
      I listen to wide amounts of music. The Gaslight Anthem - Folk-Punk Streetlight Manifesto - Spread across many types of punk Less Than Jake - Mainly ska-punk Dashboard Confessional - Acoustic, emotional lyrical. Nightwish - A wide range of atmospheric music. Enter Shikari - Some of their stuff is very good, some of it is also pretty poor in my opinion. Stuff like Mothership and We Can Breathe in Space is my favourite. Iron Maiden - Need I explain? Breaking Benjamin - Just great Nirvana - Lyrically legends Hollywood Undead - I have influences from some of their stuff such as Circles, Bullet and Young etc.
      s guy
      Bob Dylan - Folk John Coltrane - Jazz Led Zeppelin - Hard Rock Sly and the Family Stone - Funk Pink Floyd - prog and psychedelic Kayo Dot - Experimental King Crimson - prog and Psych Herbie Hancock - Jazz and Funk
      Music2Go
      vppark2 wrote: but honestly, my top 8 would go like this: 1. The Word Alive - Epiphany (metalcore) 2. Of Mice & Men - Let Live (metalcore 3. A Day To Remember - The Downfall Of Us All(post-hardcore) 4. Dance Gavin Dance - Thug City (post-hardcore) 5. Rise Against - Architects (punk rock) 6. Close Your Eyes - Song For The Broken (punk rock) 7. Foo Fighters - The Pretender (rock) 8. Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun (rock)
      You have awesome taste in music. The only ones I haven't heard of are Architects by Rise Against and Song For The Broken by Close Your Eyes, but I just listened to them and they sound awesome! Thanks for giving me two new bands to listen to(:
      Xplorer58
      Dude you lost me at rap. I now know why you despise shredding, jesus. That or you probably just can't.
      phantom_lord586
      MoshGrizzly wrote: GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal) Slipknot.... Death Metal?...
      Yeah... what?? They're nu metal and alternative metal.
      WelshKes
      Fernando Sor - Op35 No13 (Classical) Saxon - Dallas 1PM (NWoBHM) The Ramones - Daylight Dilemmas (Punk Rock) ZZ Top - Tube Snake Boogie (Blues Rock) Isaac Albeniz - Grenada (Classical) Iron Maiden - Caught Somewhere In Time (NWoBHM) Nino Tempo and April Stevens - Deep Purple (Pop/Easy Listening) Bill Haily And His Comets - See You Later Alligator (Rock And Roll) Sonatina 1st Movement - Torroba (Classical)
      phantom_lord586
      This article is hardly worthy of the front page of the site, whatever happened to the interviews anyway
      MRoby
      Stuff thats shaped me the most? Hm. I'll go with albums too. Dream Theater - Images and Words & Octavarium(Prog Metal) Yes - Close to the Edge (Prog Rock) Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians (Minimal) Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto (Bossa Nova) Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per Un Amico (Italian Prog) Voivod - The Outer Limits (Prog Metal) St. Germain - Tourist (Deep House/Nu Jazz/Fusion) Pat Martino - Question and Answer (Jazz) Joe Satriani - Engines of Creation (Instrumental Rock) These are definitely my most influential albums in my composing.
      Redfinton22
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      Hahhahaahahaha I am freaking crying right now
      Redfinton22
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      Wait, are you serious?
      CoolMcAwesome
      vanklef92 wrote: Aerith's Theme - Nubou Uematso - orchestral
      great song. so many good songs from FF7, and video games in general.
      led_sevenfold
      jimi hedrix, angel (bluesy rockish awesome) every time i die, for the record (????) beastie boys, do it (hip hop) led zeppelin, kashmir (rock) nirvana, in bloom (grundge) avenged sevenfold, buried alive (metal) parkway drive, smoke em if you got em (metalcore) escape the fate, the ransom (post-hardcore)
      xplosive59
      Metal Nokturnal Mortum - Valkyrie Drudkh - Only The Wind Remembers My Name Prog Camel - The White Rider Aphrodite's Child - The Battle of The Locusts/Do It Jazz Yoko Kanno - Space Lion (Cowboy Bebop OST) Jaco Pastorius - Donna Lee Blues Stevie Ray Vaughan - Riviera Paradise Robert Johnson - Crossroad Funk/Soul Curtis Mayfield - Superfly Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground Rock Funkadelic - Maggot Brain Les Discrets - Le Mouvement Perpetuel Electronic Air - La Femme d'Argent Hybrid - If I Survive Rap/Hip-Hop Public Enemy - By The Time I Get to Arizona Nas - Halftime Classical Beethoven - Piano Sonata No.14 in C Sharp Minor, Moonlight Sonata Bach - Toccata & Fugue In D Minor Toccata Soundtrack Vangelis - Love Theme (Blade Runner) Nobuo Uematsu - Terra's Theme (Final Fantasy 6) I think that covers it...
      phantom_lord586
      MoshGrizzly wrote: GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal) Slipknot.... Death Metal?...
      Yeah... what?? They're nu metal and alterntive metal.
      mpk3432
      the very fact he despises shredding means tht his article is pretty much useless on a GUITAR website... and having a very wide music base isnt really a brilliant thing for a writer, if you listened to the likes of maiden and priest, then you would have more knowledge of 80's metal an be better at writing that kinda stuff, same with gnr and aerosmith for hard rock, gary moore and stevie ray vaughan for electric blues having a broad but shallow taste is a terrible idea for a writer, a narrow and deep taste will make you an expert in one area, and that will be much better u can like other stuff but i wouldnt say it helps with writing in a particular style unless you have a deep foundation in all the different genres personally, i like most stuff from classical through blues an jazz, rock and roll to metal, but i have a good foundation in blues and rock, and therefore i am better at writing for them
      CHerrmann95
      Make your life easy and just play pop punk music. It takes no talent, trust me, I would know.
      MoshGrizzly
      GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal)
      Slipknot.... Death Metal?...
      MrFlibble
      This can all be summed up simply by saying "if you only listen to and play one kind of thing then it's going to get dull quickly".
      gypsyblues7373
      I looove how the author used Cream as an example of blues. Cream is NOT blues!!! Even Clapton himself would tell you that. Cream is bluesy psychedelic hard rock, the main focus being rock. You may as well list AC/DC or Led Zeppelin as an example of your idea of "blues".
      gypsyblues7373
      Also, another thing is, if you want to become a well-rounded guitarist...listen to well-rounded guitarists! Guys like Carl Verheyen, Guthrie Govan, Danny Gatton, Andy Timmons, etc., that play across a wide range of styles themselves, sometimes even within a single song.
      theshadow180
      Iron Maiden - Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Metal) Dream Theater - Octavarium (Progressive Metal) Trivium - A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation (Metalcore/Progressive Metal) Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? (Thrash Metal) Joe Bonamassa - Happier Times(Blues Rock) Black Label Society - Counterfeit God (Metal) Dire Straits - Romeo & Juliet (Classic Rock) Tool - Aenema (Progressive Metal)
      mrjack465
      Nine Inch Nails (Industrial) Radiohead (Art) The White Stripes (Blues Rock) A Perfect Circle (Hard Rock) Marilyn Manson (Rock) Tool (Progressive Metal) Jimi Hendrix (Blues) Rage Against the Machine (Metal Rap Awesomeness)
      MonsterMetalMus
      GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal)
      You didn't seriously just call Slipknot death metal did you....?
      tdwpozzy
      I Wont See You Tonight Pt. 1 - Avenged Sevenfold (Metalcore/Balladry) Jasey Rae (Live, Straight to DVD) - All Time Low (Pop Punk) The Great I Am - Agraceful (Metalcore) My Apocalypse - Escape the Fate (Post-Hardcore) Scissors - Emery (Christian Post-Hardcore) Pushing Me Away - Linkin Park (Nu Metal) Enchanted - Taylor Swift (Pop) King for A Day - Pierce the Veil (Mexi-core)
      danielblau1
      1.radiohead(alt rock/experimental) 2.muse(alt rock) 3.avenged sevenfold(hard rock/metal) 4.foo fighters(hard rock/grunge) 5.tool(alt metal) 6.red hot chili peppers(funk rock) 7.rise against(punk rock) 8.metallica(thrash metal) 9.all that remains(metalcore) 10.john mayer(blues rock/pop rock) Yea so there are ten. But I just freakin love music!
      TheRealEffect
      Well, this is stupid. But I'll do it. 1. Blue Album weezer (power pop) 2. Faith No More (alternative metal) 3. Dog Fashion Disco (alternative metal) 4. Mr. Bungle (experimental) 5. Fall of Troy (math rock) 6. Gorillaz (alternative hip hop) 7. Linkin Park (Nu Metal) 8. Porcupine Tree (prog rock) 9. The Prodigy (breakbeat/drum and bass/big beat/) 10. The Wombats ( indie rock/pop )
      socialdiseaze4l
      Limp Bizkit Mudvayne Attack Attack Friday Night Boys Nevershoutnever Abandon all ships Black Veil Brides Asking Alexandria
      Smokinjoerules1
      scarabs wrote: GlacierMan wrote: SLipknot (Deathmetal) lolwut
      SLipknot are a heavy metal band that sing about death all the time as well as heavy vocals...pretty sure that's close to death metal if not spot on. To me though, every kind of metal is just metal or heavy metal, i dont bother with all this: metalcore/death/black metal...it's just metal ffs
      RockinZiemak19
      My eight biggest influences are probably: Metallica Led Zeppelin The Rolling Stones The Beatles AC/DC Nobuo Uematsu Iron Maiden Avenged Sevenfold
      Nethero
      Smokinjoerules1 wrote: SLipknot are a heavy metal band that sing about death all the time as well as heavy vocals...pretty sure that's close to death metal if not spot on. To me though, every kind of metal is just metal or heavy metal, i dont bother with all this: metalcore/death/black metal...it's just metal ffs
      Yeah, except they don't.
      dr-g0nz0
      Good article. Mine would probably be: Between the Buried and Me (prog metal) Dir En Grey (prog metal) Tool (prog metal) Rammstein (industrial metal) Mars Volta (experimental prog) Anti Flag (punk) Bring Me the Horizon (fagcore haha) Thee Michelle Gun Elephants (Japanese rock) Nirvana (grunge) Frank Zappa (can't put a genre on it.)
      gypsyblues7373
      Now I don't listen to Cream, so don't have any opinion of them, but it's kinda lame to slate someone for calling them Blues, and then saying they're "BLUESY psychedelic hard rock". I mean, can we get any more pretentious than that? Just call it "Hard Rock" next time. I didn't mean to come off as pretentious, but considering that the blues gave birth to rock n' roll, you'll find a billion bands that are "bluesy" (Aerosmith, AC/DC, GnR, etc.) but are by no means blues bands. That's like trying to pass off Yngwie Malmsteen as classical music, or Extreme as funk.
      noahi9
      Here's an example of how I'm well rounded with my musical tastes. 1. Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull (progressive rock) 2. The Lemon Song - Led Zeppelin (blues rock) 3. Bach Partita in Dm - Paul Gilbert (neo-classical) 4. Son of Mr. Green Genes - Frank Zappa (jazz) 5. Flight Over Rio - Al di Meola (jazz fusion) 6. Symptom of the Universe - Black Sabbath (doom metal) 7. Rock Forever - Judas Priest (heavy metal) 8. Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten - Nile (death metal)
      aildjacksback
      my turn 1.august burns red(techy metalcore) 2.born of osiris (progy metalcore) 3.the maccabees(indie) 4.skream(dub/drum'n'bass) 5.animal as leaders(jazz fusion/prog 6.joe bonnamassa(blues) 7.netsky(d'n'b 8.imogen heap(lovely music)
      pantera27
      cynic(jazz fusion) aeon(technical death metal) devourment(slam death metal) horde casket(grind) king diamond(metal) boards of canada(experimental electronic) wagner(classical) foo fighters(alternative) kings x(hard rock) elton john(rock)