As with any other musical instrument, guitar playing calls for loads of practice and commitment. If you want to become a pro at it, you will have to put in a good deal of blood, sweat and tears!
Often times, we enjoy the sound of a pro playing guitar, and in that moment, you forget just how much time and effort the player has taken to reach such mastery and deliver such skill.
As with any other skill, it is possible to reach that flat curve where you do not learn anything new, and where your prowess does not grow.
You maintain the same techniques and can only be able to do the same old tricks.
The truth is that it can be a very frustrating experience, especially where you have no clue what to do about it.
To make sure that you keep getting better at your ability to play your guitar, you have to challenge yourself with new techniques every now and then.
So, what does challenging yourself with new methods and technique really involve?
How to become a better Guitar Player
Teach yourself how to bend a string
While this is one of the hardest skills to master, it may actually surprise you how simple it can really be if you gave it several consistent tries.
There are several techniques that will get you there, but for a beginner, you may want to begin with a quarter bend, then to a whole bend, to a whole and a half and then graduate to other bends.
To begin with, play the starting note and then try and get to your target note and then go right back to the starting note.
When you go back t the starting note, try and bend it to the target note and listen keenly to the sound you are going to make.
In case you are using your pinky finger or ring finger to bend the string, you might want t use the index and middle finger to accord the others a little support since they are considered weaker.
Give this practice a go every single day, and you will find that you are also going to develop finger strength as you go.
Record yourself as you play
Now, a good lot of us are not big fans of listening to our own selves play guitar or any other instrument for that matter.
It actually gets worse when it comes to singing.
Well, it is important that you record yourself and listen to the sound you make as well as watch the techniques you use.
This way, you are going to have a visual and audio recording of the riff that you are playing, and you are going to see what mistakes you made where.
Additionally, as time goes by, you are going to see exactly how far you have come and to see your skill grow by the day.
Try using two notes to make music
Diversity and creativity are two important concepts when you are playing guitar.
You can actually try and teach yourself how to play just one singular note a couple different ways.
However, for finesse and accuracy, try and make music on two notes.
This will cause your mind to get creative and come up with ways to play these two notes in an interesting manner.
You can incorporate such technique as the use of vibrato, the use of hammer-ons, as bends and pull-offs and others.
Avoid repeating bad habits
In the course of your regular practice, it is only natural that you learn a bad habit or two.
Often times, we convince ourselves that it may not be harmful, and that it may actually work.
Do everything within your abilities to try and unlearn these bad habits.
For instance, while it is common to see many people practicing while seated, you need to know that this is a bad habit, and that you need to practice while standing for best results and even posture.
No matter how advanced you become, do not forget the basics of guitar playing, or this could cost you the essence of the skill altogether.
Play a style that you are not used to
This is one of the hugest parts of challenging yourself.
If you want to see just how far you can get and what you really are capable of, go on and try a new style or genre of music that you have never tried before.
Each music genre has its own uniqueness and intricacies, and finding these out could help you learn a good deal about your abilities, and challenge you to learn that which you are already not conversant with.
Practice with other guitarists
This is one of the most important activities that you need to incorporate into your practice sessions.
Whenever you play with other people, you learn a whole lot of things, including when to step in, when to stand out, when to support another guitarist’s rhythm and even when to pause.
You learn how to play in a team, so to speak, and what this does is that it gives you a better musical ear and accords you the ability to learn the dynamics of music as you play.
Take some time off
While you may want to take it upon yourself to play guitar every single day, it would do you a whole lot of good to actually take some time off it. sometimes the guitar, and any other instrument, can get quite familiar, and you may find it a little disinteresting.
When this happens, you know it is time to take a break.
It could be a couple days or even a week, but do not allow yourself to stay away too long, or you might struggle with a skill you had otherwise already mastered when you finally get back to it.
Learn another instrument
Learning and playing another instrument actually teaches your mind how to navigate different musical aspects, and it allows you to come up with ways of diversifying your sound.
When you take on an instrument such as drums, you also get to influence your rhythm prowess which also positively influences your guitar skills as well.
Bending a string
Develops your finger skills and also adds strength to the fingers
Allows you to watch your skill grow and lets you see where you are going wrong
Using two notes to make music
Helps you to diversify your skill and to increase your creativity
Playing a different style
Increases the diversity of your skills
Learning other instruments
Gives you a break and helps you work on other musical skills
When it comes to guitar mastery, no one can claim to know it all, or to have learnt every skill there is to learn on the strings. Even the best guitar players in the world take loads of time to practice and grow their skills with new technique. If you are looking to be counted among the best, it is important that you take the time to practice as hard as you need to, challenging yourself to reach new horizons and to discover skills in yourself that you did not suppose you had. When you have had a good solid run, remember to catch a break!
Can replacing my guitar pedal help in any way?
Yes, it allows you to discover new riffs as you play.
Is copying another guitarist’s style bad for me?
Yes and no. while it may teach you a new way of playing, it may eventually cause you to lose the essence of who you are and what your style is. It is important to keep to your style as much as you can.