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The 80-20 rule and guitar playing

The 80-20 rule and guitar playing

How long would it take you to learn another language to a high standard? If you worked hard at it, maybe about 5 years. How long would it take you to speak that same language absolutely perfectly? Probably another 20 years.

Meet the 80-20 rule

T80 20 rulehis, in a nutshell, is the ’80-20 rule’. Often you can achieve an 80% outcome in some field with 20% effort. To achieve the remaining ...

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Why guitarists should read biographies

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 ...

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Make guitar practice as easy as possible

Make guitar practice as easy as possible

Life is busy. We all have slightly too many commitments or interests, and we all need some downtime too. As much as we may love our instrument, sometimes guitar practice can feel like hard work. Other times guitar practice seems easy and we wonder why we don’t always put in 8 hours a day. Most of the time however, our feelings lie somewhere between these two extremes. Whether we can put in a good practice session often depends on what ...

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Guitar vibrato and its importance

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 main areas:

- ...

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Are my hands too small to play guitar?

Are my hands too small to play guitar?

For someone that’s considering taking up the guitar, or that hasn’t been playing long, it’s natural to ask this kind of question. The answer in virtually all cases however is a flat ‘no’.

Pros and cons of our physical makeup

Physically we are all slightly different to each other. Some of these differences bring a few small advantages in specific areas and some bring small disadvantages in others, but few are insurmountable. Someone with very small hands may not be ...

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Improve the quality of your guitar playing

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
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 in ...

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Can you sing what you play on guitar?

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 what notes will sound like before you play them. This approach is often championed in the jazz world ...

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Which arpeggios should guitarists learn?

Which arpeggios should guitarists learn?

Arpeggios are the notes that make up a chord when played in succession, as oppose to at the same time, and are just as valuable a resource for creating music as scales are. In a way arpeggios are mini-scales of just three or four notes.

There are as many arpeggios as there are chords but in reality, we only need to learn a moderate number of them in order to meet most requirements. ...

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