5 New Years Resolutions For The Guitarist

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New Years ResolutionNow that Christmas has come and gone this year and we all sit on the floor playing with our new trinkets just peering around the corner, eyeing us down is the year 2012.  Its merciless gaze alone speaks but one word to us all.  Resolution.  Yes the one time of the year where we vow to reverse some aspect of our day to day life.  If you’re on the fence about what to commit to or you just don’t feel like thinking that hard about it then I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of resolution presets for you.  Pick as many as you like.

1. Get faster

For whatever reason out of all the instrumentalists out there the guitarist seems to be the only breed that often comes with an obsession with playing as fast as possible.  When was the last time you heard a trumpet player even ask about developing speed so they can shred?  While speed has its role for other instruments only guitar seems to have performers that are stylistically defined by their speed.  And that’s the moral of the story.  Speed is part of the contributing factor that makes the guitar better than any other instrument so your New Year’s resolution should be to play so fast it sounds more like a snare drum.  I want links to Youtube of you all playing 1/32 notes at 300 BPM.  NOW!

2. Learn to read sheet music

We are now in an era dominated by tablature.  I say pitch those goofy things to the curb and get out those old song books your mother tried teaching you years ago and start learning.  The first half of my tenure as a guitar player was exclusively through the means of of tablature.  At some point I had just sorta decided I wasn’t going to use tablature again until I understood sheet music and honestly since then I’ve never looked back.  When you can look at a score and really understand it you can really see the life of a song from a perspective that tablature can’t offer.  Better yet my teacher has devised a Tone Note method which really gives the guitar unique versatility with sheet music.  Pick your poison.

3.  Transcribe a song

I remember years ago there were loads of tab web sites, most of which have been shut down because of a huge copyright uproar.  I’ve often thought it was a curious move since half the time the tabs were wrong and ultimately the power to learn a song lies within our ear.  Really, unless you have a hearing problem, the written score is just a middle man to learning a song.  If you can hear then you can learn any song.  All you have to have is a bit of patience.  Really.  That’s it.  And the pay off is indescribable.  The longer and more intently you listen to a single song the more detail you’ll hear and that kind of skill can easily carry over to other songs.  it’s awesome.  Do it.

4.  Study a new genre

They say variety is the spice of life.  Under that mentality I say find a genre you don’t like and study and learn it until you can find things about it you do like.  Of course you don’t need me to tell you that you can just stick with genres you only sorta like as opposed to outright dislike, but I say just go for the jugular.  I used to completely dislike country music, for example.  For whatever reason all that twang this and truck that never worked for me.  One day I decided I was going to listen to nothing but country until I found songs I liked.  Granted it’s not exactly taster’s choice for me it worked.  The benefit?  I dunno.  I like more music.  Music’s always good.

5.  Do something new with song writing

I know some people that don’t really get into song writing, so hey.  Make your resolution to write a song.  If you are into song writing then write something completely out of left field.  If you’re hip into death metal write a country song.  If you’re really into those 30 second grind songs, then try your luck with some 15 minute Dream Theater type thing.  Song writing is all about imagination, so put it to good use and do something that will make your friends say “you wrote this?  Nooo.”

Roll Your Own

Now I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that you’re more than able to come up with your own.  In fact it should probably be more encouraged that you do.  You’re probably more likely to follow through with your own anyway.  We’re just here for backup.  In the meantime you can always swing by our Facebook page and tell us what yours is.

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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