If you want to get noticed, one thing you will have to learn is how to play to get noticed. One of the most common ways to do this is by adopting what guitarists refer to as an “aggressive” playing style.
Playing with a bit more aggression will help you to get noticed, highlighting you over the other instrumentation. But playing aggressively isn’t all about beating on your guitar. In fact, it has nothing to do with beating on it.
In this article, we will discuss how you can attack your strings to lend your playing more aggression and presence while preserving your instrument.
While it may sound extreme, attacking the strings simply refers to playing with more behind each pick stroke. For example, an accented note, in most cases, could easily be referred to as attacking the strings.
Because you are using more force to produce the note than usually necessary. You are putting more force behind the stroke, making the note more pronounced.
Try playing a ghost note, a note that is a simple grace, meant to be felt more than heard, next to a regular note. Then play an accented note. Notice the difference between each type of note. For the grace note, you aren’t using much force at all, just simply brushing the string with the pick.
With the normal note, you are using enough force to sound the note and make it resonate. With the accented note, you are using extra force to make the note louder and, similarly, more aggressive. In all reality, when compared to a regular note or a grace note, that is what an accented note is; aggressive.
The best way to get used to putting extra emphasis on notes us to use a metronome and practice playing a 4/4 measure of accented notes and regular notes with eighth note values. Every other note should be an accented note, so if you start the measure off with a regular note, the next should be accented.
This will allow you to get a feel for easily changing between “attacking” the strings, or using “aggression,” and playing normally. Remember; no matter how comfortable you are with attacking the strings, you want to use the technique sparingly. You don’t want all of your songs to be overly aggressive, as it will be hard for listeners to discern important passages from regular passages.
Attacking the strings can make your riffs feel heavier and more energetic, and it can also give your guitar solos a different overall feel. Try alternating and finding out what you like best.
The more work you put in, the better your technique will become and the more fluent you will be at using it. You don’t want the attacking motion to feel stiff and forced; relax and allow yourself to feel the flow of the piece. Always use a metronome when trying a new picking technique, whether you already know the piece or not. Practice hard, and have fun learning the guitar!
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