Pablo Casals was one of the most highly respected cellists of his day, and he continued to play the cello into his eighties and nineties. When asked why he still kept on practising even at the end of his life, he replied, “I think I’m making progress.”
The same idea goes into playing the guitar. It’s an instrument that’s relatively easy to get started with but which takes a lifetime to master. That said, the guitar tips and techniques we’re sharing in this article should help you to get off to a good start. Let’s go!
1. Hold your pick properly
You’ll want to keep a firm grip on your pick so that it stays wedged between your index finger and your thumb when you’re playing. It’s also worth experimenting with different pick thicknesses to find out what works best for you.
2. Learn to fingerpick
Being able to use a pick is virtually a necessity for guitar players, but they should also be able to play with their fingers in certain situations. Different songs call for different playing styles, and if you limit yourself to only playing with a pick then you’ll artificially hold yourself back.
3. Learn to hammer on
Hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides can all help to give you a fuller sound when you’re working on guitar solos and song riffs. The chances are that you already know the basics, but it’s also pretty easy to teach yourself if you haven’t already. Then you just need to keep practicing until it becomes second nature.
4. Learn scales
Scales are what allow your favourite guitarists to improvise rip-roaring solos, and learning them will help you to develop your lead guitar skills. Karen Oldman, a pianist who works for Best Essays, says, “I do a lot of work with music students who are writing about scales to develop their working knowledge of their instrument.”
5. Learn vibrato
Vibrato adds character, especially if you play around with whammy bars and even behind-the-nut bends. This will add more emotion to the way that you play and create some extra depth to your sound, just be careful not to overdo it.
6. Track your progress
John Rickman of Best Dissertation suggests keeping a log of your progress by creating a spreadsheet and logging weekly updates. “Improving your skills as a guitarist gets much easier if you go about it strategically,” he explains. “And I should know. I’ve created my own regular ‘workout’ routine that I play three times a week, regularly switching it up with new challenges. Then I track it all on a spreadsheet so I can watch my improvement.
7. Write your own music
Kevin Tardy of UK Best Essays credits writing music with leading him into his career as a professional writer. He also says, “Writing your own music helps you to better understand your instrument and to discover new tips and tricks through trial and error.”
8. Practice every day
They say practice makes perfect for a reason. If you carve out at least fifteen minutes every day to play guitar, you’ll start to get noticeably better within just a couple of weeks. There really is nothing quite like hard work for helping you to become a master at your instrument.
9. Keep learning
Be like Pablo Casals and never stop learning. There will always be new opportunities to improve your technical skills and your musical knowledge. Read widely, listen widely and try to turn every day into a learning opportunity.
Now that you’ve read our guitar tips and techniques, the next step is to put them into practice. Go ahead and grab your guitar and start working on your technique. You’ll have mastered your approach to the instrument in no time.