Originally published in Guitar World, July 2004
Story of the Year's Ryan Phillips gives Guitar World readers some practice tips.
1) Play both acoustic and electric.
Playing acoustic requires more finesse and makes your hands stronger, which will make you a better player.
2) Use less gain on your amp.
It’s really easy to hide behind distortion, so use half the gain you’d normally use when practicing. You’ll play a lot tighter.
3) Immerse yourself in all styles.
You can learn from all styles of music, even the ones you hate.
4) Play with passion.
Practice playing with emotion instead of just playing notes. If you genuinely love what you’re playing, you’ll sound good.
5) Practice songwriting.
A lot of great players are working at Guitar Center stores, but if you want to make a living playing in a band you have to write good songs.
Recommended DVD: Pantera—3 Vulgar Videos from Hell
Simply the best music videos ever made. They may not teach you much about how to play, but they will teach you everything you need to know about going on the road.