When you first begin learning any instrument it is important to develop a clear picture of what you want to sound like. In other words, having an idea in your head of what style you want to be playing. You can save yourself a lot of time if your playing has a clearly focused goal. For example there is no need to learn metal guitar if your dream is to become a Country music guitarist.
While developing a clear picture of what you sound like is important you should never take that to mean being closed-minded about other styles and their techniques. It is important to try to develop an individual sound, but you should spend at least a portion of your time listening to other types of music.
In your musical life you will probably change styles at some point. This is natural and it is a sign that you are developing as a musician and as a guitarist. Some people begin playing folk music and Bob Dylan songs and end up playing hard rock, and vice-versa. So while you should have an idea about what you want to sound like be open minded about changing.
What do I want to sound like? This can be very difficult or very easy depending on the individual. Some people are inspired to play the guitar like an individual or a band. For these people their style will generally mimic their favorite player. Also if you’re fond of a particular style you can learn the songs and techniques that fit that style.
For people who don’t particularly want to sound like anyone there is a bit more work to do to find and define a style. The best way to do this is to listen to a lot of music and try and play as many different styles as you can and see what you find the most enjoyable and rewarding for you.
Finding a sound that suits you can take some time. For some people this could be years. For others it could be a split second decision that comes from hearing a particular player. For others it may take some serious listening to a lot of different music to decide what they want to sound like.
Once you have decided on your style then it is time to learn how to play like that. The best way to do that is learn songs that are classics in the genre you want to emulate. This means learning a few of the most popular songs from that style and becoming familiar with the techniques used in this kind of song. It is a good idea to learn songs by a few different bands instead of just one. This is so you get exposed to a few different playing styles.
Related to this is using the right kind of guitar for the style you want to play. You don’t need to be too worried about playing the exact same axe as your favorite player. However you should have a guitar that is common with players of the genre you are trying to emulate.
It is a shared belief amongst the entire Jamorama Team that it is never too soon to start writing your own songs. Even if you can only write the most basic songs it is worth trying. You should try and add elements from the songs you have learned. You may find yourself writing stuff that is quite derivative initially, but that’s OK. Just keep working on your playing and trying to get the sound that you hear in your head into your hands and played on the guitar. Don’t get frustrated if you have trouble. Some players spend their entire life trying to get the sound they want. Writing your own music is very rewarding and will give you another direction in your musical life.
Learn more about Moses Robbins on his Google profile.
I believe it is important to learn from all of the players you admire then meld them all into your own sound while never sounding exactly like any one of those players that you emulate.
Mondo, maybe you already know this, but sweetwater.com has a Gilmour pick guard pre-wired with the same EMGs he uses in his red Strat. $299.
Its not even a year since I started playing. I have a longggggggggggggg way to go……. 🙂
I’ve been trying to sounds like David Gilmour for nearly four years! Still a long way off. haha.