There is definitely some magic that sets the amazing guitar players apart from the good ones. However, you cannot really point to a specific skill or a trick of a guitarist that gives rise to this distinction.
Here, we explore a few hacks that could help guitar players at all levels of proficiency to improve their overall playing and produce some fantastic music.
This hack or technique is a lifelong pursuit of many guitarists. Vibrato is a technique where the string is repeatedly rocked back and forth, causing the pitch of the note to quiver a bit, but not enough for it to turn into a different note or even sound out-of-tune. It is more typically associated with an electric guitar but is an important one for acoustic players too. If you can master this one, it will make you sound more smooth and fluid.
A good place to use vibrato in your playing is to start at the end of a phrase. Irrespective of the note you land, vibrato can help you add some emotion to your music.
Bending is somewhat similar to vibrato but can be difficult to execute correctly. If you over or under-bend a note, it will sound off-putting to your audience. Accuracy is crucial to producing some incredible sound using bending.
A brilliant exercise before performing this is to check your reference pitch between each bend to ensure that they match up. Over time, this will help develop muscle memory for your ears, and you won’t even have to pay attention to it. The trick is to be patient with this one.
Keeping the tricks and techniques aside, a few fundamentals can help you amp up your guitar playing with the right amount of focus. By space, we mean the time between the notes you choose to play. This provides a terrific window to anticipate what comes next, making it as important as the notes themselves.
To practice this, imagine you’re speaking, and the guitar is your voice. Play some notes as you breathe out and stop as you breathe in to listen to what’s happening around you. It could be a backing track or other musicians, but it will help you be in sync with the music around you.
By ‘pocket,’ we are referring to the rhythmic nature of playing the guitar. This is possibly the single most crucial factor for creating a lasting impact on your audience with your music. It does not mean playing perfectly on tempo, but rather the groove you follow within that tempo. It’s about being aware and observing what’s going on around you.
#5. Emotional Intention
The final hack in this list is perhaps the most conceptional one. A great guitarist will always have a clear emotional intention to drive the musical decisions they take while playing and instill that feeling within their audience. Music is very subjective and is perceived differently by each individual, but it has this unique ability to communicate feelings and emotions, unlike any other medium. The emotional intention is a requisite for connecting with the people that listen to your music.
Perfect execution of technique might not garner as much appreciation for your music as conveying the emotion and feeling it would get. No matter if you are a beginner or an expert guitarist, you need both the skill and ability to connect with people to make you sound amazing.