Getting Into Virtuoso Guitar? 10 Top Tips
If you’ve just discovered shredding or any virtuoso guitar playing for that matter, and you want the ability to play these amazing scales, licks, techniques etc yourself, then here’s a quick Shredaholic list of things to do this week.
1. Finding tabs by an artist you like
Learning your favourite songs or musical pieces is a fantastic and also fun way to improve your guitar ability. Print off tabs or buy a tab book, then learn the songs to perfection and you will manage to learn techniques in a musical context. This is really important as it will give you not only an idea of what scenarios to use the techniques in, but it’s also a lot easier to know you’re doing it right if you can compare the way your version sounds with someone playing exactly the same thing.
2. Get as many books, ebooks and DVD’s as you can on the techniques you want to study
There are plenty of free and fantastic lessons and articles on Shredaholic, but sometimes you might benefit from structured teaching by one person alone. For example, the Guitar Speed Secret eBook by Tennyson Williams takes you through every shred/virtuoso technique one by one in an ordered approach, and because every lesson is by Tennyson and designed as a complete system, it’s unlikely that you will miss out on any information that’s necessary to build a complete repertoire.
You’d be surprised how welcome people are to answering questions on guitar – try send an email to your favourite guitarist. Some guitarists like Tom Hess even do structured tuition over the internet. It’s said that the learning process is only complete when you can teach what you’ve learnt, and there’s many, many people you can ask by email or on a forum to find answers to why you’re struggling with a technique.Which brings us onto the next point:
4. Join a forum
Even if it’s only to chat with people and get some sort of encouragement, it’s really worth joining a forum like the Shredaholic forum and getting to know fellow guitarists. These are people doing exactly what you’re doing, so why not make some friends and find out a lot about guitar on the way.
5. Pick a random lesson
There are literally hundreds of lessons on this site, and chances are there are a few you’ve not looked at because you don’t think it would fit with your style. Why not keep an open mind and pick a lesson you don’t think you’d usually choose, then learn it? Variety is the spice of life, and learning something out of your comfort zone will make you a more versatile guitarist.
6. Find ways of making practice easier
Instead of spending up to 20 minutes setting up your guitar equipment before you practice those alternate picking routines, why not just take the guitar without any cables or amp and go sit in front of the TV? Make it second nature to have a guitar in your hands, doing those boring drills while you let your brain focus on something a bit more fun. Getting those patterns into your subconscious is something you want to achieve anyway, so don’t feel guilty because you aren’t focusing all your attention on the guitar.
7. Buy lighter gauge strings
It’s said all the time, but it’s worth saying again. Thinner strings are easier to play fast with than thicker ones. If you use 9’s, try 8’s. Listen out for your guitar tone though, as going too thin can make for a lousy sounding guitar.
8. Write your own music
Sometimes it’s easier to stay dedicated to learning a difficult technique if you know it’s the only thing preventing you creating even more exciting and different musical compositions. Push yourself to learn 5 string sweep patterns, so you know that if you ever wanted to try them in one of your solos, you could and there’s nothing holding you back other than imagination.
9. Listen to new artists
Back when the Shredaholic team hadn’t heard of Jason Becker, we didn’t know what sweep picking was – so we had no reason to learn it ourselves. After discovering new artists, you discover new techniques that you want to learn – so get out there listening to new guitar oriented music to broaden your horizons. To get you started, we’ve got a load of independent instrumental guitarists in the album reviews section.
10. Visit Shredaholic.com!
This one should go without saying really shouldn’t it. But we’re still gonna say it! Knowing that people keep coming back to this site and enjoying everything on here is what keeps Shredaholic going – without regular visitors it’d be a pointless exercise. There’s plenty here for you to learn from, and if there’s anything more you want to see on Shredaholic, there’s a stickied forum thread that’s always active where you can post anything at all and we will consider it.