Five Easy Tips To Improve Your Acoustic Guitar Playing

No matter if you're a beginning player or a seasoned pro, there's always something new to learn on the acoustic guitar. So next time you're stuck in the rut, looking to freshen up your practice regimen, or want to develop healthier playing habits, here are five easy tips you can use to improve your acoustic guitar playing. 

Use a metronome and start slow. 

A common mistake among guitarists is trying to learn new scales or chord progressions too fast. Build a solid foundation by starting slow—painfully slow—and working up. Practicing with a metronome will build your sense of rhythm and fingering accuracy, and help you progress to faster tempos. 

Expand your chord vocabulary.

Learning new chords is another great way to progress your playing, add more expressiveness to your songwriting, and naturally develop your left hand dexterity. Wondering where to start? Here are Seven Easy Guitar Chords That Will Make You Sound Better

Play with dynamics.

The acoustic guitar is a beautifully dynamic instrument. Use that to your advantage! Rather than strumming intensely throughout an entire song (or too quietly), experiment with playing louder for the chorus, then softer for the verse or bridge—whatever suits the song you're playing. Emphasizing dynamics will help capture your audience's ear and better frame the song and vocals.

Listen to a wide range of acoustic players. 

Feeling stuck in a rut with your playing? Listen to genres outside of what you're used to—it might just provide the kick of creativity that you need. If you haven't already, diving into jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk, classical or Celtic music that features acoustic guitar could inspire new exploration with your playing. 

Here's an incredible guitar duo, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, who are pushing the boundaries of acoustic guitar today. 

Explore alternate tunings. 

Some of rock's most beloved guitar heroes—Jimmy Page, Joni Mitchell and Keith Richards, to name a few—were known to experiment with alternate tunings. Using an alternate tuning can refresh the way you approach the acoustic guitar, and is a great tool for discovering unique chord voicings. For further reading, check out 11 Essential Altered Tunings Every Guitarist Should Know

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