Yes! Happy New Year!
It’s the time when you look back at all the fabulous and horrific moments of the previous year.
But it can also be a time to look forward at new possibilities.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I have my go-to aspirations. Lose weight. Exercise more. Get more sleep.
But this year, I’m gonna go one step further and propose a set of guitar resolutions that are sure to energize my guitar interactions for the year to come and beyond.
Check ‘em out.
1. Give back.
This year I’m gonna grab my guitar and play everywhere! At a local nursing home, my kid’s school fundraiser, the town earth festival. It’s great for my chops and folks really do appreciate it. Plus I don’t have to wait until I’m perfect. Most folks could care less if you miss a note are two and I’ll share something special with them. Giving back gives you even more. You should try it!
2. Try some new picks.
I know, this seems simple. But for a long time I’ve been having some picking issues (I know, sounds like a personal problem!). So a friend suggested I try a new, smaller pick. Voila!! Took a little bit of getting used to, but it helped me get a smoother more consistent strum. There are lots of pick varieties out there. Give ‘em a spin!
3. Give some new strings a try.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably used the same strings pretty much forever. But believe it or not, there have been new developments in string production that can get your strings to last longer, sound clearer and even feel better. Plus this small investment in string exploration can yield big tonal payback!
4. Try some different practice exercises.
Are you stuck in the same practice rut? Me too. It’s time to jump into something new. New picking patterns. New scales. New songs. There is SO MUCH of this stuff on the internet that I never have to leave your home or studio. Even one new thing can energize my sessions.
5. Build a repertoire of new strums.
Here’s another thing I tend to repeat. I use a lot of the same strum patterns when I play. I guess they just feel comfortable. But guess what? There are loads of possible strum alternatives and they can really change the feel of a song. If you want, check out Acoustic Nation’s Sunday Strum series for a few ideas right now!
6. Play with a wider variety of people.
I just played with someone new yesterday. It was the most fun ever. I felt energized. I loved listening to his stuff. He dug mine. We found songs to jam on together. I was a little nervous jumping in but walked away feeling happy. So this year I’m gonna find more people to sit and have a strum with. Because life’s too short to not jam at every opportunity!
7. Clean my guitar.
I admit it. My guitar is gross. Fingerprints and smudges galore. If you’re like me, grabbing some guitar polish and a microfiber cloth and wiping your guitar down just doesn’t happen. But it will now. In 2015. Yep.
8. Take a lesson.
True story. I sat down to video a lesson with instructor Lily Maase. She said to me, “What are some things that you have issues with?” I gave her a couple of points. Within the hour that we spent together I walked away with some awesome tips for correcting my posture, the way I hold my strum hand, some cool riffs, etc. Even if you are the most amazing guitarist on the planet, a few minutes with someone who teaches for a living can have you walking away with some great ideas for the New Year.
9. Have more fun.
So what. I don’t know the song. I haven’t practiced. I’m not sure if they’ll like my songs. All of these thoughts have crossed my mind. But guess what? Most people don’t care. They just want to have fun. And that’s gonna be my approach for this year. Have fun playing with other people and jump in with a positive attitude. Right now. Wanna jam?
10. Try some new guitars.
I love my Taylor. But I also love checking out a new guitar. Lucky for me my job allows me to do that on a regular basis. But much of the time I’m checking them out and thinking about how other people might interact with the instrument. This year I’m gonna think about what I like and try some guitars that might be just right for me. Yes, there are tons out there. There are even new features like torrefied tops and body contours that might be magical. Let me know if you find any amazing models. I promise to do the same!
Happy New Year!
Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of AcousticNation.com and a singer/songwriter based in the Boston metro area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Peavey, Dean Markley, MusicFirst, SIR Entertainment Services, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com and the producer of the She Rocks Awards. More at mad-sun.com.