One of the things I find myself thinking about with my approach to playing the guitar is how it has changed over the years. In the early stages of my playing I was content with putting a good grip on a chord or learning a new scale. Now the focus is on taking the musical arsenal I have available and how to apply it. If there were only two pieces of advice I could give to beginner and intermediate guitarists looking to further their playing it would be this:
1. Keep it Clean
2. Let it Ring
The first refers to proper note execution which I will delve into in my next column. The second is an emphasis on letting notes ring out while playing. Initially, this is something that should be done as a way to check one’s technique in development. For example, when practicing a new chord you should not only strum but also arpeggiate the chord to ensure each note can be heard. For intermediate and advanced players letting notes ring can do wonders for your compositions.
The use of open strings is a great way to add depth and a nice resonance to your playing. Take Ex.1 below from the instrumental ballad "Woman To The One I Love" off my debut disc "The Mad Chill Sessions":
The following two examples are from a modern rock tune I wrote called Startled. Ex.2 features a delay infused single note picked intro followed by (Ex.3) some lush chord voicings for the verses:
Until next time keep those chords jangling and single note lines ringing!
Sav Izzi is a guitar instructor, songwriter, and musician based in Chicago, IL. He currently performs with the Chicago funk, rock, and soul group BabyBrutha.
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