1. Play With Other People
It’s obvious. No two people play guitar the same, and for all the woodshedding you do on your own, you’ll learn more by playing with others. They might have new ways of voicing chords, a unique rhythm style, or simply turn you on to new influences. Playing dual-lead guitar, honing your rhythm while someone else plays lead (or vice versa) or swapping licks. A guitarist’s best friend is another guitarist.
2. Buy a Tuition Book
Print may seem old fashioned in 2013, but good guitar books can be a real boost to your playing. Whether it’s chords, scales, theory or all three – read more, and you will learn more.
3. Learn Your Favorite Songs Note-for-Note
Yes, it’s a tough ask. But if you want to play like your heroes, try and learn exactly what they do. It will help you appreciate the art and skill of playing guitar like a legend.
4. Get One-to-One Pro Lessons
Lessons are not just for beginners. Every player has quirks (some bad) and a good pro teacher may help iron them out. You’re never too old to learn from a professional teacher. You have nothing to lose, other than learning more.
5. Record Yourself
In your head, you may think you’re playing great. Record your practices (solo or band) and you may hear differently. It’s a simple way of hearing what others are hearing. It could be sometimes painful, but will help you identify where you need to get better.
6. Use Technology
Guitarists often get obsessed by physical wood and wire and amps. They may make you sound better, but won’t always help you play better. From impromptu recording to chord apps to amp/FX emulation software, there’s a host of tech that can help you. Try the Gibson app for starters.
7. Play Slower
Sure, you may want to be fastest guitarslinger in town. But when you slow down your playing, you’ll learn more about your own phrasing and rhythm.
8. Use A Metronome
This will also help you with tempo. Even quirky rhythm, before or ahead of the beat – see Keith Richards – relies on knowing where the beat lies. Solo practice with a metronome will help you.
9. Buy an FX Pedal
Some great music happens simply because of an FX pedal. See U2’s The Edge. “I don’t think of playing through effects,” Edge ponders, “I play the effects.” Keith Richards says The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” wouldn’t have worked without his Gibson Maestro fuzztone. Color your sound, and new worlds can open up.