There are millions of guitarists in the world. That being said, there are guitarists who are content with learning their favorite band’s songs and playing music that is a carbon copy of it.
Then there are guitarists who want to push the bounds, found something new, something unique, and make it their own.
If you fall into the second category, then you may already know that developing your own music style isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a ton of discipline.
When you are trying to create your own music style, you are using your influences to create something new and unique to yourself, almost an identity. That being said, the only way to fully create something new is to take your influences, and not let them influence you.
Sounds crazy right?
This simply means that you mustn’t allow your influences to take hold of your style. If you love heavy metal, you can’t play other heavy metal band’s songs in order to create your own style. Why? When you play other people’s music, you begin to adopt their style, whether you realize it or not. In fact, the best way to create your own music style is by not playing other bands’ music.
Broadening your horizon is one of the most efficient ways to create your own playing style. If you hate country, force yourself to listen to it. Focus on the instrumentation, because believe it or not, some country guitarists, bluegrass especially, have amazing chops.
No matter what style of music you despise, there are always reasons why that form of music is able to exist. Other people hear something in it that you may not. Your job as a self-searching guitarist is to find that quality, and open your mind to its style.
By not playing other bands’ music, you are eliminating the chances that you will mimic a specific guitar player. By keeping your mind open and exploring different genres of music, you are learning what types of techniques are universal, and you are also developing your own style without even touching your guitar. You may not notice it, but when you hear a cool guitar riff or an impressive line, you are internalizing it, and when you pick up your guitar next you will be attempting to emulate it.
Emulation is one of the ways we are able to develop our own style. Learning to play a specific lick note for not rids us of the chance to find our own voice within the given style. Emulation allows us to, well emulate, a lick within the context of our own playing and our own thinking. Believe it or not, by developing your own style you are actually developing your mind as well, as you are teaching it to think and find ways to create specific sounds on its own.
Style is something that is unique to a guitarist, and yet many guitarists do not possess this quality. Work hard, practice your scales and guitar modes, study music, and soon you will find yourself developing an identity through your playing.
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