A New Approach To Old Guitar Techniques

by : Miguel Comulada

Have you ever felt that you just cannot get ahead on your guitar technique? Like even though there is plenty more to learn, you just cannot seem to make any progress? I know the feeling. It happens to all of us and it is quite natural. It's called getting "stuck in a rut".

How can I get out of this? you may ask. Well, I have found over the years that the best way to snap out of it is to look back. Yep, that's what I do. I go back to some older licks and try to incorporate them into my playing in a different way. I preferably go back to those guitar licks that I consider to be "too easy", or just "boring" for my current playing level and therefore I don't even play them anymore.

See, sometimes it's better to just take what you already know and sort of reinvent it.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

A few weeks ago I was going through a practice session. I was trying to learn this monster lick by Eric Johnson. I have been trying to get this lick down for over a month, and it didn't seem to be working out. Frustration was mounting, and with that - of course - my motivation level was going way down. It was like my playing ability had reached a plateau. Everything that I played seemed boring and pointless. Except that lick, that lick sounded new and refreshing, but for the life of me I couldn't get it down.

I decided to just put that lick to the side and try something else. I realized that sometimes is just better to walk away from it and try it later rather than getting burned out and frustrated. What I like to do is go back to some of the techniques that I know I can dominate and just try to give them a different voice.

I found this tape that I had recorded back in 1993 - that right there shows you the importance of recording your guitar playing. I suggest that you do so at least every other practice session and just listen to yourself, but thats a different article all together. Back to the subject!

There was some stuff on that tape that I didn't even remember I knew, and let me tell you, these old licks that I had left behind came back with a vengeance. It wasn't very hard to get them back since they were way more simple than the stuff that I was currently trying to learn. But the fact that I had forgotten about them, made them seem new.

Try playing those old licks in different keys, maybe an octave lower or higher. Try to add a bend here, a trill there and that type of thing. You might find some hidden jewels that you had all along.

Now go play!