Practical Tips for Developing Your Own Style on Guitar
Have you always dreamed of becoming a guitar god?
Do you want to develop epic guitar skills that will shape rock history?
Are you trying to forge a guitar sound that people will recognise the moment they hear you play?
At some point in every guitar player’s life they have a dream of being the next Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen or Slash, and completely reshaping the course of rock history.
Each of the aforementioned guitar players have an instantly recognisable sound and a totally unique playing style.
It’s important to understand that these legendary guitar players looked up to their own guitar heroes just like you look up to them. They also spend countless hours in the practice room learning the licks of their favoruite players.
So what actually contributes to the development of one’s guitar voice?
Listening To A Wide Variety Of Artists And Musical Influences
The more guitarists, bands and musicians that you listen to, the more diverse musical examples you will be able to draw influence from.
It is highly likely that you will pick up tips, tricks and sneaky licks from many guitarists and the more you listen to the more that you will learn.
Guitar great Frank Gamble developed his unique style by listening to a lot of horn players and recreating their solos on guitar. (He says so himself in his book, The Frank Gambale Technique Book which I highly recommend reading).
Similarly, Marty Friedman of Megadeth fame drew influence from listening to traditional Japanese stringed instruments and trying to emulate their sounds.
Draw influence from whatever you think sounds good, even if it means getting your sources from outside rock music. It will all contribute to your own unique sound.
Emulating Your Favourite Guitar Players
Pareto’s Principle (commonly known as the 80/20 Principle) states that 20% of the things we do account for 80% of our results.
If you apply this to learning guitar you’re probably going to draw the most of your influence from 3 to 5 of your favourite players out of the dozens that you listen to.
These 3-5 guitar players will make up 80% of the music you listen to, learn and play. So your own sound will be the intersection of the few favourite guitar heroes that have the biggest influence on your own unique voice.
Aim to learn all of the tricks and stylistic features that make your favourite guitarists unique. Not only will you be able to sound like them, but eventually a blend of them which sounds like you!
Eventually when you create your own licks and guitar solos your own unique style will sound like an amalgamation of your favourite guitar heroes.
Always Seek Out New Music And Try To Improve Yourself
Music is a constant journey towards unattainable perfection.
The closer you get, the further away you become as your ever-increasing self-awareness reveals to you everything that still needs to be improved.
When learning guitar it’s important that you never rest on your laurels or believe yourself to be done.
Looking for new music and new sources of inspiration is a great way to constantly evolve your style and avoid becoming stale and predictable.
There is so much music in the world that even with a hundred lifetimes you’d never get to hear everything.
Start looking for musical inspiration from other guitarists, film scores or genres you find you dislike, you never know what you can learn and adapt into your own style.
Never Stop Trying To Learn New Things On Guitar
My favourite guitar player of all time Eddie Van Halen says this whenever he is asked about developing a unqiue sound on the guitar.
“play, play, play and play! And eventually you’ll get to where you want to be” (source = Brainyquote)
Developing your own voice is a never-ending musical journey and something that is uniquely special to each individual guitarist.
By taking into consideration some of the ideas presented in this article you’ll be well on your way to developing your own voice on the guitar and who knows, one day you may shape the history of guitar players for the next generation.
Just like your spoken voice changes as you get older, so to will your voice on guitar reflect who you are as a player.
Never stop learning new things, and bring wonderful music to life on your guitar!
About The Author
Michael is a guitar teacher from Melbourne, Australia and makes it his personal mission to help aspiring guitarists find their own voice on guitar.
He founded Melbourne Guitar Academy in 2015 and has helped thousands of guitar players in his 15 years as a professional teacher. More recently he has been enjoying a position as Head of Guitar for Topmusic Co, an online training program for guitar teachers all over the world.
If you need help developing your own unique sound sign up for Strathmore Guitar Lessons and become the next great guitar hero. Your first lesson is free!