Improve Your Guitar Playing

Improve Your Guitar Playing

By Paul Whitehead
In Jun 2, 2014

The digital era has been with us for a while now and that doesn’t mean only for video games and the occasional Facebook checkup. Digital equipment has become relatively cheap and basic software can often be free. This gives the average guitarist no excuse for not starting to record their playing. This is also because it can be extremely beneficial to do so. Here are a few reasons why and how this can improve your guitar playing.

Improve Your Guitar Playing Tip No 1: Metronome

  • Most recording software has an in-built metronome that is required to run whilst you are recording an instrument. Tips for this would be to record with the metronome, then, once you’re done, listen carefully to how accurate you were to the strict time keeping. At first, you may be harshly surprised how off the click you were. Don’t give up and continue until you become more accurate. Once you hear the playback has more accuracy, you are not only improving in timing but will most probably be able to record in most studios with ease. This is because most professional studios these days use a metronome and some for of digital software to record their instruments.

Improve Your Guitar Playing Tip No 2: Listening To Yourself

  • Listening back to your playing can create a healthy objective view of it, and will lead to constructive criticism. Many students tend to just give up and say ‘I suck’. Well, with recording your playing you can sit back and listen to your playing and see how you ‘suck’, or even be pleasantly surprised to find you don’t ‘suck’ at all. This is because you’re able to listen carefully to every detail as it’s different to hearing yourself via a playback of a past recording and listening to yourself while you are playing. Remember not to over criticise yourself though as it’s a learning process.

Improve Your Guitar Playing Tip No 3: Layer Guitar Parts

  • Having many tracks at your disposal to layer guitar parts over each other can also be a valued skill. This is because many session guitarists are paid to do all the guitar parts on an album. Practicing this way will help you understand what works together or doesn’t.

Improve Your Guitar Playing Tip No 4: Sharing Is Caring

  • Sharing your recordings via the Internet could possibly bring others to take an interest in your playing. This is a great way of networking, by showing people what you can do and what styles you prefer to play or are the best at. You never know who’ll take an interest in your guitar playing.

Improve Your Guitar Playing Tip No 5: Archive Your Ideas

  • Referring back to your recordings is a great way improve your guitar playing. Try to have a big amount of space or even an external hard drive in order to keep everything you record. You never know when you might need that one riff you thought really sucked but, now works like a charm over that neoclassical country infusion that you just made. It’s also great to refer back to when you first started recording. You should find you’ve improved leaps and bounds listening back to yourself. Also because you’ve become a more confident guitarist when it comes to the dreaded ‘tape” that doesn’t lie.

Things You Might Need To Record:

  • Computer/8 or even 16 track analog tape recorder (if you can find one at a decent price)
  • Sound card (when using a computer)
  • Recording software. Usually, you should get a free entry level version of some software with your sound card, be sure to ask the salesman before you buy though
  • Maybe a microphone, if you want to record from your amp, or some form of amp simulation software, such as Amplitube or Native Instruments Guitar Rig (just a ‘heads up’ though: if you want to get a soundcard, also be sure it has phantom power 48 volts so it can power your microphone)
  • And voilà! Get recording!
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*Completing a BMus (Hons) at COPA *Plays for “Layla Scar” and “Book of Thieves” *Is a beginners specialist *Knows the secret Pat Metheny chords *Plays in the Rhema Young Adults Band *Also plays keyboards *Can even play Jonas Brothers songs *Has completed a Higher Diploma in Guitar and Keyboards from The Academy of Contemporary Music in London

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