1. Know Your Gear:
A. Buying a new guitar:
– You have to try it yourself and don’t depend on any of your friends who have been playing for years. You have to check if the fret board is comfortable for your hand, sound is good for ears and which type of pick-up is more suitable for your style of playing
– Guitar: you have an electric guitar? Is it Humbucker/Single Coil? Is it fixed bridge, one-way tremolo or two-way Locking Tremolo (aka Floyd Rose)? Which strings size does it have? All these are very important answers you should be aware of while you’re practicing on your guitar and even while you’re buying it.
– Effect, pedals and Amps:
1. It depends on your budget, and more important depends on the sound do you want. How do I know?! Now online reviews are available more than music itself, you can simply check a review for a brand or model that you heard from a friend or through your guitar teacher or even your favorite guitar idol.
2. Take all the time you want at the store trying and understanding that effect/pedal, and do not worry do not be shy while you are there – stores salesmen are dealing with that all day and already got used to it.
iii. NOW: How come you have a guitar, effect/pedal and amplifier and don’t have your favorite sounds on your effect/amp? Or knowing the different equalization (a.k.a EQ) of your amplifier. Check everything that your equipment could get. How?
1. FIRST; DISCOVER IT YOURSELF!
2. Check online reviews.
3. Ask friends who already play as well as your instructor.
4. Check what guitar idols do! (Believe me; they all have video lessons somewhere)
2. The difference between a guitar player and a musician:
a. Guitar tune (by using a mobile app, a tuner or by ear).
- Make sure that you’re tuned before doing anything on your guitar.
b. Know the notes on your fret board.
c. Warm up every time you hold the guitar before starting to play anything.
An example for finger-picking…
d. Even if you play electric guitar, balance using finger picking and a guitar pick and stop paralyzing your hand using the pick only.
e. Learn chords! How come you play dozen of chords and only know names of few!
f. Learn scales! At least start with major and minor scale, understand it, apply it and love it! And believe me by time, you will know the rest!
g. It’s an instrument, yes! So make music…even if it’s simple now, but composing few notes together now, by time it will be a song.
3. How to go to the next level and not staying a beginner:
a. Have a plan; yes, away from determining that I am playing guitar, you should schedule fixed practice times.
b. Focus on what you cannot do! This will help you by time to improve yourself, but be aware to not use advanced techniques which by time may leave you disappointed (and preferably an instructor could help with that more than online tutoring).
c. Practice with people who are higher than your level:
– This is a well-known rule; because if you are playing with guys who are already at the same level as you, it will help you improve as much as playing with guys who are better than you.
d. Slow down shredder! Start with a simple tempo and by time speed it up, this will lead you to play very fast by time.
e. Techniques and skills come with time. Do not get disappointed when you try to do a bend or a slide and you are unable to get it right it from the start, they will come, do not worry, just keep doing.
f. Distortion, YEAH! But don’t hide behind it by playing too loud and adding to much distortion or any other effect. Make sure first that you are playing the notes correctly and don’t worry you will ROCK the place anyway!
g. I am a lead guitarist dude! No, you are a bull-shit guitarist dude! There is no such thing as I am a lead or rhythm guitarist, even legends James Hetfield or Malcolm Young are very good soloists but they ROCKS on chord progressions and rhythms. Knowing the thing is better than escaping it.
h. Sorry, I am a rock musician! Oh, really! It’s widely known that rock (and especially metal musicians) refuses to know about other styles. But tell you what, do not call yourself a musician, you are just an instrument player. Why?! You could play rock/metal very well, but zero music knowledge and that will lead to nothing by time. As we are living in a world of fusion, most musicians aware of many styles and trying to mix it, not only to satisfy the audience, but to prove to themselves that they can do it and that they really understand music. You do not have to play all styles, but what do you know about jazz, blues, pop, or even hip-hop?! Every style has its own legends and do not ever neglect that or feel that you are better! By the way, most of MJ songs were with rock and heavy metal musicians, and he is the King of Pop. Also, the legendary Jimmy Page produced hip-hop records in the 90s. So shut the crap and discover!
i. Give more time to check clean effects and stop playing all the time distorted.
j. CDEFGAB; dammit man, I hate theory. I know in the beginning it’s god damn boring, but by time you will bemoan for the time that you were neglecting it. Why?! After knowing the notes and scales, you will understand you fret board better and easily move around it. You will be able to make music properly than doing alien riffs!
k. Interlude, chorus, bridge, a verse. What the hell man, I hate all song structure shit! No, stop playing music randomly and even away from playing your instrument, listen to your favorite song and get its lyrics and understand where the verse from the chorus is. This will lead you to compose and play music on the right direction.
l. Stop learning from different sources:
– You have an instructor okay; let him guide you to the reliable online sources for practice as well as his curriculum of course.
– If you do not have an instructor (which is not recommended) then you need to follow online source only for learning.
Written by: Mena Ezzat
Edited by: Ahmed S. Khalil