Jason Sidwell ponders on the myriad ways to approach the lessons in this and every fabulous edition of Guitar Techniques.
We often get asked, ‘How can I get the most out of an issue?’ Well, considering each one’s content represents anything from six months to over a year of tuition for an average guitarist (whatever that is) you’re going to need a lot of time and concentration. Time to read, absorb and practice; and concentration to critique, apply and expand on what you’ve learnt.
One way to use GT is the popular ‘one page at a time’ approach, working through each page until you’re satisfied (or fatigued!). This is the completist’s preference. Or you may want to go straight to your favourite article and pore over every detail until the next issue arrives. This is the niche approach. Or you may look through the whole issue with an analytical eye, circling in pencil everything that intrigues from, say, a harmonic (eg jazz walking basslines, Exs 2 and 3, page 73 and 74) or a technique perspective (Hard Rock, Pentatonic legato, Ex 1, pg 69 or Woodshed’s fourth finger string bends, page 89). In many ways, this last option is very beneficial – you’ll spend precious time concentrating on all the specifics that concern you. It’s a bespoke approach that you can keep track of and revisit each time, all thanks to your highlighting pencil that keeps you focused. Whatever approach(es) you choose will depend on the results; if you’re moving along admirably (broader vocab, more precise fretting, versatile picking) then your choice is working well. If you think there’s more mileage to be had though, try another approach and see if you gain more. We all develop at different rates using a whole variety of approaches; there is no one size that fits all. Your task is figuring out what works best for you and then reaping the rewards. Enjoy the issue!