Learning Blues Guitar – Breaking Through To A Higher Level

Don’t get in a flap – it’s normal for your progress to become sluggish periodically. Every guitarist, whatever what the style, understands the symptoms. One day you realize that you’ve played the same old thing for some time, and it’s not getting any better. Also, you’re not trying to add other tunes to your repertoire. What’s going on here? You’ve hit the wall, reached your level, you’re immobile, resigned never to improve and attain your prize, which is to be recognized the greatest guitar player that lived.

Is there something you can do?

Well, yes there is. At least, let me give you some tips and approach that has an effect in my own playing. As you can possible imagine, a lot of it is based in the mind, unless you are just playing for so long that you are physically sick of doing it! Some blues guitar masters, like BB King, don’t practice for hours, and just play ‘on the night’. Incidentally, he’s also said that he’s nervous each time he plays, saying to himself that ‘it won’t work this time’ and ‘people will realize that I’m not very good’.

Try and leave the guitar alone!

Of course this is a difficult one for us guitarists. Almost all the greatest players indicate that they played licks and pieces a hundred thousand times to get so good (and I’m sure it’s true), so you need to practice until we’re exhausted, don’t we? yes and no.

We know that you are improving and training the muscular dexterity by placing our fingers on the right strings again and again, but if we do this mechanically, with no passion, then it’s not productive. Get your mind right first – why are you learning guitar? You play because it’s your passion.

Relax for a few days. Forget that difficult song you’ve been trying to learn. After several days not playing, you’ll possibly find that it just arrives as a matter of course.

Its good to return to to the basic techniques

Sometimes, when we improve in our playing, some simple techniques may be taken as learned as our playing becomes more complex. Now and again, we can become a little slapdash in our basic ways of playing, which can be very pleasurable to play. Return to these techniques and re-learn them. Listen to the old guitar legends and understand how their techniques were based on solid foundations.

Play only easy stuff for a week or so, but practice with a conscious approach and give attention to every detail.

Be Comfortable With Your Playing.

If you are contented with the music, then it will flow and appears naturally. Each one of us can get better, but its a fact that we all have a boundary of capability. Recognition of this and acceptance of it, will help you relax. Just say to yourself “perhaps I won’t progress further – I’ll make sure that the the music I do perform as good as I can make it.” After you get into this state of mind, you will improve! It’s almost supernatural!

We all have many levels of playing guitar, and not everyone can be the best. As one man put it “if only the brightest sang in the woods, it would be a be very quiet place indeed”. Recognize your place and be happy with it. Every one is unique and will produce unique music. Eric Clapton is often hailed a super blues guitarist, but when playing acoustic style, Tommy Emmanuel makes him appear just competent.

Of Course, It’s Mostly In The Mind.

Its not certain where I’m headed giving this tip, but let me tell you a little tale. When younger, I played along with a friend of mine, who was always less proficient than I was. It was because I played much more than him at that time. I was fascinated by ‘Police Dog Blues’ by Blind Blake but for me at that time it was too hard to tackle.

This friend of mine moved abroad and perhaps 11 months later, while speaking over the phone, he casually informed me that he had taught himself how to play ‘Police Dog’. The fact that a ‘less capable’ guitar player had taught himself this tune was difficult to take. I picked up the instrument and learned how to play the tune in around 3 days. This is not a testimony to my talents, but rather a comment on my psychological make up. Most musicians have quite a lot of of arrogance, and quite a sizable ego.

This needs to be taken on board, brought under control and channeled to the good side of the Force!

Jam With Other Musicians – One Of The Most Important Blues Guitar Lessons!

It’s great to jam with other guitarists from a couple of points of view. First of all, it’s enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like swinging along with other guitar players, even if it brings along a sense of competition. This competition can motivate you. Even while playing in a group, musicians are aware of each others playing level. Each one of us have our strong and weak points, and the wise player augments your strength with his own. He will additionally cover your own weakness, and the overall music can be a great example of synergy – this signifies that the result is worth more than the sum of all it’s parts.

When the players are better than you are, then this will help you to improve your skills, giving you a new approach and helping you progress.

Play Away Your Normal Way Of Playing.

I go for this idea, as it’s a lot of fun. If you normally play classical, then teach yourself some folk. If you are a picker, then strum. I think you know what I mean. Now and again we become fixed in a rut and say that we are this or that kind of musician. All we do is pick the guitar and taking on board a variety of musical styles can only help us to create higher standard.

Relax Into It.

Relax. It’s no big deal. You won’t play fantastic guitar if you are too stressed or too heavy about it. Some of the present day blues men can be a tad intense and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because we want to play the same as the classic blues players and that kind of outlook goes with the territory. Don’t get bogged down with that kind of thinking. You will never be be that old blues man, as the way we live is completely different. Be who you are, that’s all that has to be done – the rest will follow.

Jim Bruce is a working blues man making a living playing blues guitar. His acoustic lessons are fast becoming the standard to reach for students wanting blues guitar lessons.

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