Lessons In­tro­duc­tion

Guitar Techniques - - News -

Mu­sic ed­i­tor Ja­son Sid­well in­tro­duces this month’s lessons with more words of wis­dom.

Con­fi­denc e is one of the most im­por­tant at­tributes you can have as a player. Re­gard­less of style, abil­ity or in­stru­ment type, it’s a hugely in­valu­able com­po­nent to how well you come across to an au­di­ence. Not only did I see this truth through­out the week I was at this year’s IGF, from stu­dents and fel­low tu­tors, but also dur­ing dis­cus­sions I’ve had with name play­ers. For ex­am­ple, here’s a re­cent quote from stu­dio A-lis­ter, Allen Hinds, when I spoke to him for a re­cent ar­ti­cle in GT’s sis­ter ti­tle, Gui­tarist. “When I was a stu­dent at MI in LA, I sat with Robben Ford one week out of ev­ery month. Once I had got over the ‘jit­ters’, I saw first hand that he was hu­man af­ter all. The big thing I learnt from him was all suc­cess­ful play­ers have one thing in com­mon… con­fi­dence. To the point that, if I had to choose between more tech­nique or con­fi­dence, I would take the lat­ter ev­ery time.” Most in­ter­est­ing; de­spite the abil­ity that Allen has, he would rather trade some of it to in­crease his sense of com­fort and con­trol. Of course, the ques­tion borne from this is; how to get (more) con­fi­dent? Some mu­si­cians ap­pear to be born with it, to the point that, re­gard­less of their abil­ity, they will per­form to a very high level, seem­ingly ef­fort­lessly. Can seem a bit un­fair, eh? Of course, there are sim­ple and well-known solutions to puff­ing up one’s sense of worth (imag­in­ing the au­di­ence naked; pre­tend­ing you’re your favourite gui­tarist; th­ese kinds of things). But I and count­less oth­ers rec­om­mend one im­por­tant per­spec­tive; the more pre­pared you are be­fore a gig, the bet­ter you will per­form. This is be­cause you have cul­ti­vated a solid foun­da­tion to rely on when a gig feels like tough go­ing, or some­thing out­side of your con­trol oc­curs (a band mem­ber throws a wob­bler, or some great player walks in the door just as you are about to go on). By know­ing the ma­te­rial, prac­tis­ing and iso­lat­ing the tough sec­tions, run­ning a mock gig sce­nario on your own and with the band (very use­ful this!), and having all gear checked and work­ing well, your level of con­fi­dence has a very def­i­nite re­al­ity to draw on. So, whether it’s a gig you’ve got com­ing up, or you’ve planned to do a one-take record­ing of Gary Moore’s Cold Day In Hell (page 36) in three weeks’ time to test your mem­ory and chops, I hope your lev­els of con­fi­dence are di­rectly pro­por­tion­ate to the amount of prepa­ra­tion you’ve put into your gui­tar play­ing. Now smile, and step out onto that stage!

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