15 11 2011

I get bored very easily.  As a guitarist, I’m not content playing the same things over and over again.  Stale food.  No thanks.  So I have to do things that keep me growing and sounding interesting.  I don’t want to bore my wife or anybody else with ears.

Recently I’ve been doing some different things that have helped me play and think differently on the guitar.  Having a blast doing it as well.   So I thought I’d share the wealth.

Play in alternate tunings.  I got totally geeked recently watching Jimmy Page demonstrate how he plays “Kashmir” to The Edge (U2) and Jack White (The White Stripes) in the outstanding documentary It Might Get Loud.  Jimmy came up with this years ago while playing around in an alternate tuning: DADGAD.  Operative phrase: Playing around.  It’s profoundly simple and cool.  (I’ve been playing “Kashmir” a lot and my wife digs it.).  With alternate tunings, you get a lot of voicings not available in standard tuning.  If you’re into this, learn a song by artists who’ve used alternate tunings a lot—Crosby, Stills & Nash, Led Zeppelin, Phil Keaggy, Pierre Bensusan, The Rolling Stones.  Better yet, create your own.

Play musical theatre.  A good deal of Broadway music is very involved, sophisticated and colorful.  Usually written by brilliant composers on the piano.  As a guitarist, you will find this extremely challenging.  Here’s something fun—learn really complex chords at various positions all over the neck.  You’ll love the colors.  Pick a show you like (A Chorus Line, Wicked, West Side Story, etc.) and go from there.

Learn a song by one of your heroes.  Eric Johnson used to learn—and I mean really learn—a song a month by Jimi Hendrix.  EJ would take the song apart like a car engine and study it.  His own readings of Hendrix classics are quite good.  Years ago, I’d learn songs by sitting next to the record player and picking up the needle, over and over and over again, and repeating the song until I’d nailed it.  Digital technology makes this so much easier.  Whether your hero is John Mayer or Steve Vai or Andy McKee, find something you love and learn it cold.  You’ll find that eventually you’ll develop your own voice and style.  It’s what millions of guitarists have done for the past sixty years.  Join their ranks.

Now go jam!!




4 responses

16 11 2011
Paul Gorelick

Chris, I enjoyed the article but don’t concentrate so much about yourself i.e. guitar. You had something I think before about the guitar. Write more about, “things” As Mitch Album does. The first one that you put out was on three topics I believe. You and I enjoy the guitar but, many readers want a topic, a point of view, your point of view Which you always so eloquently express. Paul

16 11 2011
Christian Fahey

Thanks Paul. Will definitely keep that in mind. Quite a few of my readers are musicians (especially guitarists) so I wanted to give them some practical things to stoke their fires. Thanks for your kind words as always. I love you.

4 01 2014
music online free

Very nice post. I absolutely appreciate this site.
Keep it up!

4 01 2014
Christian Fahey

Thank you for reading!

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