Welcome to Part 5 of my new series of lessons, "Rut Busters for Guitarists."
These lessons are aimed at breaking through barriers that might be keeping you from improving as a guitarist. Some lessons will simply supply you with food for thought, and some will be more hands-on. Written to help you get past that plateau, these columns are here to help you mix things up and keep your relationship with the guitar an interesting one.
If you feel your playing is getting stale and is in a rut, you might be suffering from the same problem faced by many aspiring guitarists and weekend warriors. The solution is simple: You need to get out of your house and play music with some real people.
I understand how easy it is to fall into a routine of practicing the same material over and over, jamming to the same play-along tracks and hoping to find inspiration on YouTube, only to be overwhelmed by what you find and underwhelmed by your own progress.
If you take anything away from this pep talk, it's that music is like a language. It's a form of expression that is structured similar to how a book is comprised of chapters, paragraphs, sentences, phrases, questions, answers, words, syllables, etc. Your goal as a practicing musician is to expand your vocabulary, because saying the same thing over and over again isn't very interesting.
There's no better way to expand your vocabulary than to play with other musicians. Your melodic, harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary will improve the more you jam with other talented singers, keyboard players, guitarists, bassists and drummers. Jamming with as many musicians as possible is beneficial, but try to arrange it so you're the least-experienced musician in the room. You want your performances to become fluent, and jamming with musicians that are fluent on their instruments will inform your vocabulary in the most positive way.
Whether it's just a drummer or another guitarist, or a whole band, jam with as many musicians as you can as often as possible. If you're in school, sign up for the jazz band. If you're an adult, seek out your local jam night!
Click on the accompanying video to find out how jamming with musicians is a lot like my vacation in Italy.
Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a Los Angeles-based solo artist, session musician, composer and education coordinator for Guitar Center Lessons. He's the author of Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. Adrian uses SIT Strings, Seymour Duncan pickups and effects, Brian Moore Guitars, Voodoo Lab and Morley pedals. For more information, visit him at AdrianGalysh.com.
GuitarWorld.com readers can enjoy a FREE download of Galysh's song "Spring (The Return)" by clicking HERE.