What makes a guitarist great? Is it the number of notes they can fit in one measure? Is it the kind of guitar they choose to use? Is it their educational background? The more music I listen to, the more I realize what draws me in is all about a guitarists use of dynamics and phrasing.
On the contrary, a vanilla solo that is dull and routine comes from a guitarist that doesn’t know how to control the dynamics in their playing.
If you are uncertain of what dynamics means exactly, the (very) short of it is how strong you pick the strings of your guitar i.e. how loud you play.
Obviously there is a little more to it than that. For instance, when you play using distortion, you can pick as hard as you possibly can, however the effect compresses the signal so your volume isn’t going to actually change.
What will change is the tone. The harder you pluck the more distortion and harmonics you will hear in the strings.
So for this article’s sake, to control your dynamics is all about controlling the force in which you pluck your strings. I recognize it can be so much more than this, but to start off simple we will keep it at that.
Mastering your dynamics will give you the ability to accent notes and manipulate tone at will. Which is just another way you can properly express yourself in your music. So how is this done? I have put together some easy exercises that you can start using in your own daily practice.
Even if you choose only one exercise to do a day, your playing will start to quickly improve:
Don’t try to over complicate it too much, cause it really is as simple as that. You don’t even have to add any minutes to your practice time. Just incorporate it into what you have already been playing and have fun!