With Black Friday just a few days away, you may be searching for a new guitar, or keyboard, or just more music gear. If you are, cool! Here are some helpful notes when you step into the local guitar store this Friday specifically to look for a new or used guitar.
Recently I found myself in the market for a new guitar. I’d known for months that I needed a new acoustic guitar. The music I love to play just wasn’t working with what I had. I found that the guitar I had was great for singer/songwriter music, but not optimal for instrumental pieces.
I’d finally talked myself into looking for a new guitar. But when you’re looking for a new instrument, you’ll find yourself playing the game "20 questions" with yourself. Maybe some questions are more technical like “what type of pick-up(s) does the guitar have?” or "what type of wood was used to make it?" But the fun questions can include: “How cool does it look?” or "Is it my favorite color?"
Here are a few things I learned in my most recent endeavor!
What type of music are you playing?
Of course if you’re playing acoustic music, you’re probably not looking for an electric guitar! Each genre of music tends to have their guitar standards. Metal tends to lean towards Jackson or Schecter guitars. Blues and rock players like Gibson and Fender. While Martin and Taylor guitars rule the acoustic sound.
What do your top 3 favorite artists play?
You might find that your favorite "guitar gods" all favor the same type of guitar. That really helps your search! In my case, I found that Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, and Joe Satriani all play Ibanez guitars. Sold! Find out what your favorite artists prefer and that’ll help you find the sound you’re looking for!
Pick up a few guitars
On paper they all look great! Maybe you’ve already got your eyes set on “the guitar”. Play it first! Each guitar has a different neck, weight, bridge. There are so many factors into what makes a guitar feel good and your guitar should feel perfect! Once you think you’ve found the one, don’t be afraid to checking out another guitar or two… just to be sure.
Give it time
If you’re anything like me, you’ll walk into a guitar store and want to buy seven guitars right then and there. I’m always far too eager to add a new guitar to my collection. From this though, I’ve learned- take your time! Don’t rush any decisions. You want to be sure this is the guitar that’s right for you in the way it sounds, looks, and feels.
Keep these tips in mind next time you go check out a new guitar and I’m sure they’ll help narrow it down to the perfect guitar. Once you've picked up the new axe, visit us at Littleton School of Music and we'll help you learn to play to your potential! Come see why we are a great choice for Denver Area Music Lessons in Guitar, Voice, Singing, Drums, Piano, Bass, and more!
We all know that being a musician is a labor of love. There is no magic potion that takes you from barely knowing an A chord to shredding Van Halen in a day. There are no shortcuts! So why am I offering ways to “instantly” get better? Is it even possible to help you play better by reading this article? Why, yes it is.
Playing better doesn’t mean skipping steps. It doesn’t mean going from beginner to advanced in 3 short days. "Better" means using what you have as a musician currently and making it sound the absolute best that you can. These “tricks” can be adapted for any level of musician and work!
Take 2 minutes to warm up to your instrument. Take a moment to get in the game and get ready to perform or practice. You’re not going to play your best the moment you pick up a guitar. Go through an exercise or hit a few chords. Once your hands have warmed up to your instrument you are ready to play better than if you had just grabbed it and started jamming.
Often times we forget about dynamics. You control the volume more than your amplifier does. Generally we start crushing the drum kit or play chords as loud as we can as soon as we start learning to play. But your accent notes can get lost in the loudness. If you want people to hear your chord changes, you can make them louder but also make the other notes quieter. Put yourself in control of the volume and you’ll add so much more to your playing.
No. I am not asking you to play at 1 beat per minute. It’s just a natural tendency to speed up once you’re grooving, especially if you’re with a band. One person speeds up, and everybody else does. Another person speeds up and a song that started at 120bpm is now 150bpm. That sure is a huge difference! Pace yourself and let your songs "breathe"... so to speak. Nobody wants to hear the faster, 3-minute version of Stairway to Heaven.
Play With Emotion
No matter how technically proficient you are, if you’re not feeling the song, you are missing the point! A sad song never sounds better than when you are sad yourself. Be in the moment with your song. Try and learn to feel the emotion the song calls for...and play into that feeling.
Let that last note ring out
Whether you’re just practicing or you’re on stage, let the last note ring out. That last note means you’ve accomplished something! It’s the last note in your scale exercises or the last chord of a song. Let it sing long as a victory! If you end a song too quickly it may be jarring for your audience. Even if you think you let songs ring out, give it another few seconds to sink in.
So from here on, every time you pick up drum sticks or your guitar keep these in mind and you’ll instantly hear a difference. What’s stopping you? Go grab a guitar now and start rocking! And of course we always love to mention that if you are looking for Guitar Lessons and general Music Lessons in Littleton, CO we are a great place to look! Call us today and we can help you secure your spot. (303) 972-7625.
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