Playing a guitar is an art form and like all the arts, the thing that makes an individual artist stand-out, be unique and interesting is their individual style and technique. Whether you play an acoustic guitar or electric guitar it involves practice and dedication. By making clever and efficient use of your practice time you can get better value from the time spent.
In music performances, rhythm guitar is a technique and role that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section (e.g., drumkit, bass guitar); and to provide all or part of the harmony, i.e. the chords from a song’s chord progression, where a chord is a group of notes played together. Therefore, the basic technique of rhythm guitar is to hold down a series of chords with the fretting hand while strumming or fingerpicking rhythmically with the other hand. More developed rhythm techniques include arpeggios, damping, riffs, chord solos, and complex strums.
In ensembles or bands playing within the acoustic, country, blues, rock or metal genres (among others), a guitarist playing the rhythm part of a composition plays the role of supporting the melodic lines and improvised solos played on the lead instrument or instruments, be they strings, wind, brass, keyboard or even percussion instruments, or simply the human voice, in the sense of playing steadily throughout the piece, whereas lead instruments and singers switch between carrying the main or countermelody and falling silent. In big band music, the guitarist is considered part of the rhythm section, alongside bass and drums.
In some musical situations, such as a solo singer-guitarist, the guitar accompaniment provides all the rhythmic drive; in large ensembles it may be only a small part (perhaps one element in a polyrhythm). Likewise, rhythm guitar can supply all of the harmonic input to a singer-guitarist or small band, but in ensembles that have other harmony instruments (such as keyboards) or vocal harmonists, its harmonic input will be less important.
In the most commercially available and consumed genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in both the recording studio and live venues. However the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and especially bluegrass music, and almost exclusively in folk music.
These five things will help you improve your guitar playing:
Dedicate Your Practice Time and Practice Hard
When you’re serious about trying to improve your guitar playing you need to dedicate some time when you can really focus on your playing and improvement.
When you reach the stage you can easily play a scale or song with ease and don’t really need to think about it, then it’s time to move on and do another scale or song.
Even if you only practice for 15minutes a day, working hard at it and concentrating provides more benefits than hours of mindless repetition. If it’s not hard there’s little benefit.
The advantage of practicing every day is brain muscle coordination; with enough mindful practice your fingers will follow your thoughts without the need to consciously move them, muscle memory
Always Perfect Something
During every practice session, you should perfect some aspect of your playing, such as difficult chord progression’s, new scales, solo or new picking styles. Practice it a bit, then practice something else for a break, but keep returning to it, to master a particular aspect
Don’t Get Stuck in a Practice Rut
Many guitar players get stuck practicing a particular aspect. It’s important to perfect things, but you also need variety and contrast. Don’t always play the same songs, pick up new different tunes from out of your comfort zone so you become more versatile
Scales Are Every Player’s Thing and So Are Chord Changes
Many acoustic and electric guitar players don’t like scales, but they help to improve your fretting hand’s dexterity and give you a greater chord range.
You need to practice matching your strumming hand coordination with your chord changes so they’re smooth and in time.
Use a metronome or drum beat when practicing to set your internal rhythm clock, this helps when slinging it together and working with others
Be Open To Change
Try and practice with different guitars as each guitar has its own quirk’s and you may find other guitars handle quite differently. Try having a practice session’s playing an acoustic guitar if you normally play an electric or vice-versa, so you become a good all round player. You never know when you might want to play, but don’t have your guitar with you.
It’s also a good idea to change body positions you use when practicing. This will allow you to easily adapt so that you can easily play sitting, standing or walking as playing the guitar is very social.
To improve your acoustic or electric guitar playing you need to take the time each day to practice mindfully and try to perfect an aspect of your playing each session, but always remember playing the guitar is meant to be pleasurable, not a chore and a bore, so find things of interest to base you practices on.
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