View Full Version : Playing Style.

05-03-2012, 10:08 PM
It's something I've been thinking about a little bit recently. I haven't exactly plateaued with regards to skill, because there will always be tips and tricks I can pick up, but I've reached the point where I can't get any better without a significant time commitment.

However, I do think I've reached the point where I've developed something that could be termed a playing style. It's not exactly unique enough to distance from other artists, but everyone has their own little preferences and flairs.

For example, vibrato. I prefer to use a fast vibrato on the last note rather than a slow one, but not to hold the note for a while. It gives it a bluesy edge which is in line with my guitar tone - something which fluctuates between non-tone fuzzed-out, modern rock and bright blues - but wouldn't work if I was trying to play longer melodic lines.

I also hardly ever put silences into pre-written solos, but pauses and clips are extremely integral to the type of thing I improvise - partly a sense of time, partly trying to avoid awkward phrasings, and partly because now it's a habit.

I won't add vibrato until the very end on bends unless I'm playing on the third or fourth string and bending up to a root note, then I'll apply vibrato the whole time, particularly over chord transitions.

Have you noticed particular habits about yourself that have become stylistic? Where they came from doesn't matter, whether through habit or error or relentless, devoted training. Tell me. It's the little things that make it.

05-04-2012, 04:42 AM
Hmm. I haven't really over analyzed my playing like that in a long time. I definitely also am at the stage where I know I haven't plateaued, and that I know it takes a serious amount of time for me to get better at anything.

I think it was John Mayer (Total douchebag, but an under-rated player in my opinion) who spoke in an interview about how at the start, while learning to play, you could absolutely double your playing ability in a week. Then after awhile it took a month, now it takes years to double your skill. Maybe it was Jack White that said that...it was one or the other.

Well, as for little habits/trademarks, yeah I definitely have certain little things I do all the time in my playing.

One I can think of is while playing chords - any kind, open, barre, power, major, minor, diminished, whatever, I always end up using a hammer on, on one of the notes. I think it sounds awesome. For example when playing a simple G major, I will almost always hammer on the B note (second fret A string). It works especially well during arpeggios, and you can easily build little riffs and melodies out of it. With barre chords it works extremely well for funk or blues rhythm playing. Try a barred E minor chord, and hammer on the full chord shape, while keeping your first finger barred. It sounds great.

I rake a lot. Like a whole lot. Especially before bending a note. If that's not the term you'd use for it, it's just when for example I'm about to hit a note on the high E string, and bend it into next week, I'll mute the G and B strings with my index finger and rake (drag) the pick across those first, and then roll into the E string and bend with my third finger.

I noticed that when I learned to finger tap, the very first time I learned it, was the first lick in the solo to Crazy Train, which uses a double hammer on with the left hand, after the first tap with the right hand. I used to have to put a very real amount of concentration into not using a double hammer on, in every other situation and song that I used finger tapping. I think I'm really only getting over that now, because I wrote a song of my own that uses the regular slow one hammer on.

With bending and vibrato, I basically just try to mimic David Gilmour, or Gary Moore, who in my opinion have the greatest bending and vibrato in rock music. I think because of the Gilmour influence I incorperate a lot of pre-bends into my playing too. Which is when you bend the note before you hit it, and then bend back down to the original note of the fret. It takes some practice to bend it to pitch without hearing it.

I never go all the way back, or all the way forward on a wah pedal, because it sounds horrid. I do like to go very very slowly from the (almost) back position to the (almost) forward position while doing a repetative lick, because it sounds like it's ..umm.."opening" or something. I don't know.

Lord Phidias
05-04-2012, 07:38 AM
I just play like shit and I like that fine.

05-04-2012, 10:07 AM
On guitar, I play wrong notes on purpose. Like, all the time. I love replacing whole chords with just harmonics on a weird fret, like, the 5th or 6th. I do that in between measures to create a divide between the last note of a measure and the first of the next. It's not even on purpose (anymore), so I guess that's just a style.

I also like replacing chords with jazz chords. Major 7s, diminished 6ths, minor7b5s. I really like the idea of using weird chords as powerchords, like, instead of root, 5th, octave, playing root, minor 3rd, dim6th. I want to make music that has weird sounds that people aren't ready for.

With bass guitar, I play a lot of open strings. Most of the basslines I write are on the G-string with open A and open D. I also like playing barre chords with the bass and letting the guitar just feedback through it, instead of both playing the same things.

Uhh, with finger tapping stuff, I just kind of suck. That is the one thing I know I can work on with a little bit more time and devotion. I've been writing a lot of finger tapped guitar lines lately, but I can't play them very well yet. Just gotta keep at it. Any tips, coneman? I feel like I just need to get to know the whole fretboard better. I'd love to be able to write stuff like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqKnn5UNo1Y&feature=related).

05-05-2012, 02:57 AM
Any tips, coneman? I feel like I just need to get to know the whole fretboard better. I'd love to be able to write stuff like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqKnn5UNo1Y&feature=related).

Cool riff in that song. I'm not sure weather you mean general tapping technique, or in particular for this style of song, but I once asked a guy who is awesome at that style of tapping did he have any tips for getting better at writing that kind of music, and he told me the most obvious, and basic advice I had ever heard, but if he hadn't told me, I probably would never have thought about it in such a simple nature.

He just explained that he writes a really solid catchy bassline on the guitar first with his left hand, make sure that's great before you add tapping, and the tapping naturally sounds better. It really helps when writing this stuff. Whereas before if I tried to write that stuff, I'd automatically be tapping with both hands and wondering why nothing really worked.

This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvmkMkQHAPU is quite possibly my favourite tune in that style.