How Do You Get A Guitar Player To Turn Down?

We know the punch line to that dumb joke…put a piece of music in front of him! The joke implies guitarists play too loud, and lack reading skills.

We’ve all earned the “too loud” reputation. Learn to listen and balance your sound within a group. Sometimes the music demands “in your face” sound. AC/DC’s Black in Black offers some of the tastiest crunch chords rock has ever produced. Check out the Art Farmer Quartet featuring Jim Hall – click here to see. Jim’s mastery of single note lines, thin “shell voicings”, and thick 5-6 string chords wrote the book of modern jazz guitar.

The best guitarists play out when appropriate, then turn down, and create interesting space for other musicians to play on.

Guitarists are taught to strum chords because “that’s what they do”. Improve your music reading by learning the melodies of songs you play. A good melody teaches you melodic structure, riffs, single note techniques, and improvisation. Then play the melody up or down an octave and on different parts of the neck.

Always learn new chords and apply them. After you know the “Big Chords” (6, 5, or 4 string chords) dive into “small” chords (3 and 2 string chords). Start with Major, minor triads, and 7th chords on all string groups ie. 321, 432, etc. Learn inversions of these chords.

If you only read tablature use it to learn rhythm notation. Tab is usually attached to a treble clef. Learn the guitar part and compare the tab to the treble clef and connect the rhythmic value of notes. Also put the guitar down, learn to count aloud and clap rhythms.

Join me in improving your sense of dynamics, melody, harmony, rhythm and let’s beat the butt of that joke!