Who Said Practice Makes Perfect? Here Are 7 Rules to Help Make You a Better Guitarist
20 Oct. 2014

Who Said Practice Makes Perfect? Here Are 7 Rules to Help Make You a Better Guitarist

Henry Rollins Knows a Thing or Two about Live Performance

Let’s face it, not all of us can be Jimi Hendrix. Even so, virtuosity is everywhere, and you’ll hear guitarists from time-to-time that will have you thinking, “I’m just going to stop playing, this guy is just too good!”  It can be discouraging to persevere as a guitarist with so much other talent out there, but fear not. This article is just for you! Besides practicing, a whole lot, there are 7 easy things you can do to really impress others no matter what your skill level may be. Remember the 7 rules listed below, and I can assure you’ll be better than most guitarists out there.

1) Listen to the Stage Manager. There is so much talent out there, venues can usually pick up bands within a moments notice if needed, and word spreads fast. Stage Managers are friends with other stage managers so be nice. Former Punk Rocker Henry Rollins put it best: “Listen to the stage manager and get on stage when they tell you to. No one has time for your rock star bullsh*t. None of the techs backstage care if you’re David Bowie or the milkman. When you act like a jerk, they are completely unimpressed with the infantile display that you might think comes with your dubious status. They were there hours before you building the stage, and they will be there hours after you leave tearing it down. They should get your salary, and you should get theirs.”

2) Tune Your Guitar! Tune before gigs, and in between songs if your guitar goes out of tune again. Being out of tune slights all that hard work you put into making your song, ever so heavily. It will just sound like a mess. Technology to battle this has recently emerged, such as the Gibson Min-ETune™ System, shown below. It literally tunes your guitar for you while you play! Invest in this if deemed necessary.

Gibsons New Min-ETune Automatic Tuning System

3) Get a Good Tone. Take time to learn the tone knobs on your amp and your guitar. I suggest to first, mess around with the guitar tone knobs and the pickup selector too. If you hear too much pick noise or it’s too crisp for your taste, roll back the tone knobs a bit for a smooth, warmer
tone. Then, learn to use the bass/mid/treble knobs on your amp. Hearing too much loud, high-pitched noise? Dial back the treble. Too boomy? Dial back the bass. Not enough body in the sound or need more classic crunch? Turn up the mids. It goes a long way and takes hardly any time to master, trust me. This will up your street cred and make you sound really good.

4)  Open Your Ears while Jamming. Collaborate. Create synergy. It gets old quick jamming with a guitarist who plays while lost in his/her own world all the time.  Plus, you’ll get so much done as a band. You may even come up with songs on the spot this way that you can all say you had a part in writing.  What a feeling! Also your drummer is keeping the pace, so always have a ear out for that.

Slash Ignoring Michael Jackson – The Only Exception to Rule #4

5) Don’t put your grand finale first. Think about if you were to watch a fireworks show and they play the grand finale first…impressive yes, but chances are you’re not sticking around for the rest of it. Think of your live set-list along these lines. You want to be able to keep them interested at the end so they’ll be chomping at the bit to add you on Facebook, tell their friends and get more people involved in the amazing experience you just offered them.

6) Learn Slow, Play Fast! This one can be pure agony but you get tenfold what you put in. You know all of the notes, you can play them as fast as the original, but it just sounds sloppy. All you have to do is play it slower, make every single picked note count, and with a little practice, you will begin to speed up with the same precision and sound incredible. Trust me!

This 18-minute firework show in San Diego lasted all of 10 seconds due to a glitch – Don’t let this be your live set

7) Know what strings work for you and your guitar. If you find you’re having hand pain or are fatigued when playing, it’s not the end of the world. Try some lighter strings. Click here for detailed info on acoustic guitar strings. This will work wonders. If it continues to happen, of course there are other things you can do such as trying different sized necks, but it all starts with your strings. Cleartone makes just about every set imaginable so take a gander and see which ones work for you. Email tone@cleartonestrings.com if any questions every arise, we’re always happy to help.


Also, without mentioning… don’t crabcore… See below



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