19 Ways to Mastery
(If You Want to Be a Pro Player)
19 Aspects of Electric Guitar Playing You Need to Pay Attention To In Order to Achieve Mastery
Scales – Scales are one of the basic building blocks you will need to learn. There are different variations from major and minor to pentatonic, Lydian, and many more. They are used as a backbone for constructing chords as well as melodies and lead guitar solos.
Now if you want to shred across the neck and achieve that shred sound, you will need to learn the scales that give you this type of sound such as the harmonic minor scale, the Hungarian minor scale, the Phrygian dominant mode and the Octatonic scale…just to name a few.
You’ll need to learn the modes of these scales, the modes of the Octatonic scale, although there are only 2.
You’ll need to learn how to interweave through these modes across the neck and over the right cords.
Scales will definitely build your technique. And since chords, licks and melodies come from scales, they are a good place to start.
Chords – Like scales, learning different chords and how they are constructed and interact with other chords is one of the basic aspects of electric guitar you need to know. Without learning chords it will be extremely difficult for you to compose your own songs and learn the songs from your favorite bands.
Without knowing harmony, you will be lost when it comes to improvising and soloing. You meed to know how triads are built, what chord tones are in each chord, which ones sound best over certain chords and finally, where those notes are on the neck.
Chord Progressions – Not only do you need to learn how chords are formed, you need to understand how different chords fit into a chord progression. Playing random chords does not sound great; you will need to learn which chords should be played next in a progression to express the type of feeling and sound you are going for.
Praying and hoping that your solo will sound good over some random chords is a recipe for disaster. You need to use your ear and learn your theory so that you sound like you meant to hit that note at the beginning, middle or end of your solo. You cant just compile a bunch of licks hoping that you’ll land on a cool note, you have to be sure of that note.
Hate to burst your bubble but you’ve got a lot of studying to do. No sugarcoating here bros.
Legato Technique – Legato is flowing from one note to another as smoothly as possible. With electric guitar this is achieved through hammer-ons and pull-offs. By working on your legato you will add depth and flair to your playing.
Depth and flair will go a long way too. Legato is one of the coolest sounding techniques you could muster up. It will take some time because you need to develop finger strength and in some cases, lots if it.
Start today and you won’t regret it.
Rhythm – While many want to go straight into shredding and playing solos, working on your rhythm is an essential foundation to your playing.
Mastery will come in due time. If you set time away each day to work on what you LOVE to do. Then its only a matter of time. Make mastery your goal. Think about that word. Dwell on it. Look it up and see how its defined in the dictionary.
Here are five more ways to mastery:
Odd Meter – Most popular music on the radio today uses a 4/4 time signature but only working in 4/4 (or other common signatures such as ¾ or 6/8) can limit your playing. If you want to branch into jazz or progressive music, getting comfortable with odd meter is essential. Personally, I love odd meters and you will too, if you’ve played in 4/4 your entire life. You can get some extremely cool sounding riffs and ideas just by eliminating or adding odd meters to your music.
Improvisation – One of the best ways to spark your creativity is through improvisation. Whether you are jamming with new friends, auditioning for a band, or trying to create a new song it is important that you learn how to properly improvise so you are not just copying what is already out there.
Speed – Developing speed can be difficult if done incorrectly. Learning not only how to increase your playing speed but how to be quicker while retaining note accuracy is extremely important.
Arpeggios – Arpeggios are notes that are simply the notes of a chord played one at a time. If you play any type of music that has key changes, such as jazz or modern blues, understanding your arpeggios and how they outline harmony is crucial.
Sweep Picking – Very popular in metal, sweep picking is a specific technique for playing arpeggios. You “sweep” your pick across the strings to play quick, fluid notes from an arpeggio. This is one of the techniques that separate beginners from advanced players.
Mastery in these areas will take time. Don’t think about the mountain in front of you right now. Think about the next step. Don’t look up, look forward towards the next step before you. Don’t psyche yourself out by thinking about how long it might take. Its the process thats the fun part, not the destination.
“Fall in love with the process.” – Eric T – Motivational Speaker
Tapping – Tapping is another specific technique for playing notes that involves using your fret hand to tap on the freeboard instead of picking. This can create a dynamic sound and even be mixed with legato and sweep picking techniques to create impressive sounds.
Songwriting – Having the technique and foundation to play the electric guitar is very important, but learning how to apply those techniques to create a song is also necessary. Without the ability to write your own song you are left imitating what is already out there.
Reading Music – If you want to study music and improve, learning how to read music should be one of your top priorities. By learning to read music you unlock hundreds of years of compositions that you can study to create your own style.
Ear Training – Being able to read music is a must, but sometimes you simply cannot find sheet music or tabs for a specific piece you want to play. In this case, learning how to recognize notes and play by ear is necessary.
Music Theory – Regardless of what type of technique, chord progression, or scale you are learning you are studying music theory. With proper music theory training, you gain the basic knowledge to understand why you are doing something. This unlocks the potential to quickly expand your growth as a guitar player.
Licks – Licks are specific notes, patterns, and variations that every guitarist should have hidden in their back pocket. Learning popular licks from different players will help form a base that eventually becomes your style.
Etudes – Etudes are very short compositions for an instrument that are used to study specific scales, notes, or techniques. Learning how to play existing etudes and create your own can speed up the learning process for techniques and open up new methods of playing.
Bends – Moving from one note to the next on a guitar by only moving frets can leave your playing a bit stiff. To add soul and feeling to your playing, learning how to properly bend in half-steps and full-steps can elevate your playing to a new level. Make sure to bend to the right pitch. You can achieve this by working on your ear training. All these areas tie together to make you a master player.
Vibrato – Vibrato is a specific type of bending technique that is characterized by a very slight change in pitch. This helps boost the tone and feeling of the note you are playing, adding depth to your music. Once you achieve mastery in this area, you will sound better than most guys who play guitar. Vibrato is king. It separates the men from the boys. Take some extra time to master this eloquent skill.
As you can see, learning the electric guitar requires training in a lot of different areas. If you want to speed up the learning process, the easiest way to do so is to have someone show you how to do it.
By hiring an electric guitar teacher you will be shown the quickest, most efficient ways to learn techniques as well as get a true understanding of music theory that can be difficult to learn on your own.
Its NEVER too late. Get started today. Mastery is closer than you think.