The electric guitar is a truly special instrument, and those who have the opportunity to learn it, will appreciate the benefits it can bring. However, it’s really easy to get caught up in the hype, and start for the wrong reasons. For those of you who may be looking to embark on the journey to guitar-dom, we offer you this simple guide to put you in the right direction.
Read the following “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” when it comes to your decision to learn to play the guitar.
You should: If you love being creative.
This can be said for just about any instrument out there. Learning to play music opens up a new medium to be creative; and it can be rewarding in a number of ways. Playing guitar has proven to lower stress levels and stimulate the mind. It can also invoke inspiration in areas outside of music. You can even get inspired by experiences to create sounds and songs that reflect them. The possibilities are endless!
You should: If you enjoy self-expression
If your an emotional person, chances are you’ll be a great guitar player! The electric guitar is possibly one of the most expressively versatile instruments on earth. Everyone’s sound is innately their own when they first pick up the instrument. From the amount of flesh on your fingers, to the velocity of your pick stroke, their are a large number of variables that contribute to your signature sound. Approach the guitar as you would speaking, and you’ll find it very fulfilling.
You shouldn’t: If you think all you have to do is play one string on a 7/8 string guitar
With the increasing trend of “djent” and 7-plus string guitars, a lot of teens think all you need to do to make a good metal song is pluck a single string in rhythmic fashion. Well if this is your intention, we urge you to step away from the instrument . Sure, we love a groovy drop-C breakdown just as much as the next person, but doing that exclusively just doesn’t sit well with us. If you want to get a 7/8 string guitar, don’t do it because it’s the easy way out, do it because you see potential for something new to come from it; not because you want to fit in with the “scene kids”.
You shouldn’t: If you think it’ll make you cool and get you groupies
To non-guitar players, just about anyone slinging an electrified axe looks cool. But don’t feel bad when guitar-players give you the look of disapproval as you flaunt your “one-note-of-wonder” solo. Popularity is great and all, but doing popular things for the sake of popularity just isn’t cool. Instead, try networking with other guitar players and learn from one-another. That’ll take you farther than bragging to some girl about how good your sweep-picking is, she’s still not going to give you her number. Remember, groupies are temporary, guitar-geeks are forever.
You should: If you love meeting new people
The electric guitar is great because their is such a broad network of people for you to connect with from it. Not only do guitar players know other guitar players, but they often know drummers, bassists, and singers alike. Start yourself a band and make some great music, because after-all that’s what being a guitarist is all about. The guitar sounds great alone, but sounds even better in the mix of other instruments. Try playing your guitar outside one day and see how many people you attract. Heck, someone might even sit down and start jamming with you!
You should: If you already know how to play other instruments
The guitar is usually the perfect instrument to compliment other instruments, especially if you plan to start recording on your own. If your a drummer, pick up the guitar to add some variety to your drum beats, and see how perpetual the process of song writing becomes for you!
You shouldn’t: If you just want to make money.
Any musician will tell you, it’s tough to be a full-time musician and make a ton of money. Not everyone gets the breaks that people like Slash, EVH, and Vai got. Not to mention there are about a million people chasing after the same dream, and their are only so many major record labels. Don’t get us wrong, we want everyone to follow their dreams, but make sure you have a backup plan if this is really what you want your career to be. Many guitar players teach guitar lessons or work as studio engineers on the side of their music career. Lastly, don’t start playing if your only doing it for the money…do it because you truly love it. (we advise this with any career folks)
You should: If you like toys for your toys
It’s no surprise that electric guitar players don’t stop at just a single guitar. For one, you kinda need an amp if you want to be heard, and secondly, their are a ton of cool pedals and gear that you can use to create new and exciting sounds. From delays, to reverbs, to ring modulators and overdrives, pedals add an entirely new layer of inspiration to guitar playing. There are also thousands of guitars and amps out their to suit your style and needs as a musician. Just try not to catch the GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), we hear it’s super-contagious.
-Written by Walter Bryant