Why guitarists should read biographies

Musical heroes

We all have our musical heroes.

Usually we discover them early on in our guitar playing experience.

Heroes can be a wonderful guiding light that give us something to aim for, and drive us on to take our guitar playing to greater heights.

Sometimes it’s our heroes that motivate us to take up guitar playing in the first place.

Musical heroes can also seem to be an alien breed though. This is particularly true when we view them through the lens of the ...

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Guitar vibrato and its importance

Unless you play nothing but straight-ahead jazz guitar, vibrato is important. 

Good well-defined vibrato brings life to a guitar solo and is a significant part of what gives a guitarist their ‘voice’.

Weak vibrato, or no vibrato at all, can leave a solo wanting.

Listen to a guitar solo by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler and you’ll hear three very different vibratos.

So what makes one guitarist’s vibrato different to another? There are three ...

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Are my hands too small to play guitar?

When you first start to learn to play guitar, there is a lot to get to grips with.

It can take quite a while to train your hands to get used to unintuitive positions and movements involved in guitar playing.

During this time, seeing experienced guitarists can easily give the impression that they are better suited to playing guitar than you are.

Maybe the most common question adult learners ask themselves during this time is ‘Have I left ...

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Improve the quality of your guitar playing

So you’ve learned lots of chords and scales, you’ve developed a decent sense of time, and you have a nice armoury of phrases to use in improvisation. 

But how does all of this actually sound when you play?

Fret-buzz and guitar playing

Fret buzzTry recording yourself playing a familiar chord-based tune and listen back with a critical ear. Are the notes clean and pure or are you getting fret-buzz ...

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Can you sing what you play on guitar?

Can you sing what you play on guitar, as you play it?

It’s not something that many people can do the first time they try it. But there are great benefits to be gained from developing this ability.

Learning to sing what you improvise gets you inside the music and away from thinking only in terms of shapes on the neck. You learn to intuitively know what notes will sound like before you play them.

This approach is often championed in the jazz world but ...

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