Improve Your Performance

A couple ways I found that helped me learn to be a better player.

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Ok the first thing I have to say is that I have some odd views on playing guitar. These are things that helped me in writing music and improving my skills. If you think I'm totally wack and my tips are useless then don't bother leaving a comment. These are just various (well quite random) things that I found help me play guitar. I assure you that all my techniques help in playing guitar and writing music (they have helped me anyway!)

Healthy Diet = Healthy Mind

Now really you may say I'm nuts, but a healthy diet can boost your playing ability. Have you ever had one of those days where you felt tired and weak, and playing the guitar seems more than anything like a chore? Maybe it's just me? Well anyway when you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and foods with loads of protein your mind and body can perform better. Also staying well hydrated helps your mind perform better. If you go to school you'll definitely know what I'm talking about. You sit there while the teacher drones on about great literature like To Kill A Mockingbird (snigger), and you don't give uh because you are tired and bored. If you stay hydrated your mind stays on track. Ok seriously I'm not a nutritionist, but it helped me.

Amazing Memory

If you don't believe that I live in a mental hospital wait till you hear this. Simple things like chewing gum and wearing the same cologne every time you play guitar can help you remember certain licks/lyrics/songs/solos. There was a study done that proves a human can concentrate better when they are chewing mint gum. I was skeptical when I heard this, but I tried it. I studied for the math test chewing double mint gum, (because I like it ok) and took the test the next day chewing the same kind. I absolutely aced the test. So with that said, cologne or perfume can have the same effect. (or is it affect?) Well anyway when you're practicing guitar, burn some incense or spray on some cologne. If you do this every time you play, your mind can pick up on riffs and such things that you made up last time you were playing. This is especially helpful if you incorporate it with the next tip.

Don't Over Do It

So you just made up a lick or whatever, and you really like it. Don't Keep Playing It! You may think I'm absolutely insane, but playing a lick too many times can make it seem boring and uncreative. Maybe this won't work for everyone but if you play a lick, don't over do it. I like to play it a couple times just to get it in my memory, then make up another lick or chord progression that goes well with it. Also my drummer hates it when I play the same song or lick too many times, so I tend not to.

Broaden Your Horizons

This has been touched on in so many places in so many ways. It's important to listen to music as well as play it. Try listening to new stuff and see what you can come up with. I don't remember who wrote it, but someone had the idea of listening to music while you sleep. I recommend doing this, and good job to the person that suggested it. That's all I have to say for this section only because it sounds a little to sane for this article.

Strengthen You Hands

It's important to keep your hands in good condition. You can play faster, and for a longer period of time without your hands cramping. A good way to strengthen the muscles in your hand is by taking an old news paper crumpling it in a ball and squeezing it. You could buy a stress relief ball I suppose, but I use the old-school paper method because my dog usually rips stress relief balls to shreds. You could also try injecting your hands with steroids no, no, no I'm joking really, don't. Ok well I decided to keep this column short so you don't think I'm crazy and boring. I really hope this is helpful, and please go easy, this is only my second article. -ITS

129 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    JewMasatFlex
    wow, hard to bleev u so many ppl never heard the chewgum thing b4. it actually has to do w/ memory. while studying, ur brain remember w/e ur studying, and the flavor of gum. so then, wen u chew the gum again, it triggers ur brain to remember w/e u were studying for. ANYWAYS. good article. cant wait to try sum of this out. 5*
    jof1029
    TheUltimateSin: Dude, I think you completely missed the point of what he was talking about. He was using that particular book as an example. An example. And if you actually read, you'll see he never said anything about liking or disliking it. So ease up will ya.
    the implication from both his diction and snigger comment, is that he dislikes the book. i didnt miss his point, you missed mine. i know he was using it as an example, but his use of an example creates a negative bias towards the book in anyone who doesnt know anything about it. so, im just saying that he should think twice before citing ANY work as an example, be it art, literature, music, movies, or anything else.
    KENZI
    that coloumn is ace thanks for the tips and info, this is definately worth five *'s
    The Fringe
    thnx for the wonderful article, the chewing gum thing rocks ta v much xXXx 5 stars
    cefasnacht
    instead of chewing gum, try chewing tobacco, same idea, but now you have nicotine! just a thought...
    the_pick_gnome
    The memory thing is very cool, and I agree that playing your riff too much makes you think it sucks. I once wrote a guitar riff that I loved, and all my freinds loved, but I stopped liking it after a while, then a couple months later, I played it, and loved it again. Broadening your horizons is also great advice, some things sound great when used in styles other than they were written for. Great article, I don't usually rate, but I rated this a 5.
    minstrel
    Nice, interesting tips. I agree with the hydration thing, you dont wanna be thirsty in the middle of a song or performance. And for the others reading this, also try this tip for increasing ur talentabilities - jam; not just by urself, thts called practice. jam with other guitarists on a higher or lower level than you. i am not gonna tell you how it works, but if you try it, you will see for urself. for one thing you will unconsiously pickup extra skills and by teaching/helping ur fellow guitarist, you understand what you already know all the better.
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    mr.lame: really good tips. but you forgot to mention drinking booze helps too. lol. well partly as long as you don't get caught by your parents stealing they're drinks or your band might just end up like ours. lol. yea. good diet should really be a good factor. the fact that me and my friend are kinda over weight and our guitarist is super thin. like starving to tell you honestly. lol. but even though we're ovewr weight and easily tire, we don't get tired playing coz if you got the spirit and joy of playing, you don't feel tiredness and weariness. so let's get rocking! [POSTED: 14 August 2005 - 09:23]|
    or you sound better when ur drunk because...well....ur drunk lol
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    Scourge441: You, my friend, are a psycho. 5 stars for you. [POSTED: 18 August 2005 - 14:19]|
    amen i read that gum thing somewhere too, its pretty cool
    Klara
    hahaha i liked that gum thing. very good article, i knew some of the things, but its never bad to remind them.
    gordyboy13
    the chewing gum was interesting ill giv it a try but ppl dissin him should no it takes guts 2 write stuff like this
    Cal&Chris_Co.
    when i read the title of this article i thought that it would help me preform in association with my love life... dang!!! and TO Kill a Mockingbird, is my 2nd favorite book. behind the Bible of course. 3 *s
    TheUltimateSin
    jof1029: just cause you dont like the book doesnt mean it isnt great literature. so just keep your literary opinions to yourself. Dude, I think you completely missed the point of what he was talking about. He was using that particular book as an example. An example. And if you actually read, you'll see he never said anything about liking or disliking it. So ease up will ya.
    jamstation
    this is great. refreshing read.. though i dont know how much i can take seriously... but its new and cool. 5 stars.
    TheCatInTheHat
    Short, simple, concise and great tips. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your future articles.
    TheUltimateSin
    Great stuff man. Never knew about the gum thing. I tried it and it does seem to work with me. 5 stars for the great tips
    AC/DC freak
    personally i think its a great article, the gum or cologne thing is new to me, as is the dieting theory. still a five star article, and i dont know what To Kill A Mockingbird is about, but i wouldnt know good literature if it bit me on the ass either. haha
    jof1029
    great literature like To Kill A Mockingbird (snigger)
    just cause you dont like the book doesnt mean it isnt great literature. so just keep your literary opinions to yourself. the thing about gum works with anything. you remember something best when in the same state of mind that you learned it. so if you learn a riff while drunk, you are more likely to remember it while drunk. so it isnt just gum or perfume, you just need to get in the same state of mind.
    angusrox
    great article, man, I liked all of it. I personally practice the gum/scent point and sleeping to music. keep up the good work!
    Orneblad
    i think it's greate that you write about these more unkonventional stuff. i've tried the Strengthen You Hands-thing before (i got a thing you can get in all guitarshops fr about 15$, and it actually works great) and will absolutely try what you said about gum!
    Kunzinator
    Don't know about the healthy part, my ritalin caffeine combo keeps me going strong no matter how malnourished I am, lol. Anyway, yeah I can really identify with a lick getting boring, sucks cus it was so cool and now its nothing. Oh well I made it better now!!
    quiksilverzz
    All very good tips to point out for playing. One I've never tried; incense (going to try that). **5** on the ole scale.
    tom_nik
    hey, i chew about 2 packets of gum a day and its true that it help you remember licks and especially the order of a song... actually try this because ive been doing it for 4 years and it definatley works
    Grunte
    Great what you said about gum helps your concentration in a test or whatever. Just my schools teachers go mental if you chew gum in class so im stuffed really
    Yamiyo
    Great article... but I'm a little sceptical; you claim that chewing gum made you ace the maths test... couldn't that just be a coincidence? Like when people blame blemishes on their hand on masturbation. (I'm serious) But I suppose if it worked consistently it would work? Well anyway... great article.
    fire_red_guitar
    FenderStrat1337: Does masturbation help your guitar playing as well?? i gotta start doin that with my left hand!!
    cryan2
    nice very nice..not like other crappy articles 5 stars!! for you man!!
    spitfire101
    Nice article, i gave it 3* because although it was interesting and it helped a lil bit, it wasnt realyl what i was looking for!! nice.