If your goal is to be an in-demand and versatile guitarist, you'll need to master the essence of several musical styles.
It can be a daunting task to learn new styles, but if you follow this 4 step process the task becomes much simpler.
1. Melody - First, analyze the melodic qualities of the syle you're learning. Do melodies in this style contain lots of stepwise motion or are they more angular and intervallic? Are melodic phrases repeated? What kind of range do the melodies cover?
2. Harmony - Next, analyze the harmonic qualities of the style. Are the harmonies mostly diatonic (staying in one key) or are there chromatic elements? Are modulations a common element? Are the chords simple triads or more dense sounds with upper extensions? Is there any harmonic sonority that shows up more frequently than others (for instance, dominant 7 chords in blues)? Are there signature chord progressions common to this style?
3. Rhythm/Meter - The third step is to analyze the rhythm and meter of the style. Are duple or triple meters more common to this style? Simple or compound meter? Are 8th notes straight or do they swing? Do meter changes happen? How much syncopation is used? Are rhythmic motifs repeated throughout the song? Are there any rhythmic cliches in this style?
4. Tone/Specific Guitar Techniques - Once you've analyzed the melody, harmony and rhythm/meter of the style, it's time to put it all together. This final step involves listening to how guitarists play in this style. Pay attention to the tones they use. Listen for any specific guitar techniques that are frequently used. Then do your best to replicate the sound and feel.
I'll leave you with a quick example. Let's say you want to learn country guitar...
What styles do you play? Do you tend to stick to one or two styles or are you working to become a master of many styles?
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