Maybe I feel abnormally self-critical this morning, or perhaps it is due to the fact that I just spent the entire weekend watching videos of Tosin Abasi on YouTube. Whatever the case may be, I have come to the decision that my music will never reach a very wide audience unless and until I greatly improve my guitar playing technique.
That's not to say my music lacks an audience. In general, I have had decent success as an artist, at least as far as local musicians go. I can draw a decent-sized crowd and, in general, I can win over the older guys in the venue who hold an existing affinity for 1970s progressive rock. I'm not breaking any Billboard records, that's for sure, but there are a large number of local musicians who never enjoy as much audience appreciation as I do. On that level, I can consider myself satisfied, being that I have no real desire to be anything more than an amateur.
[By the way, I am not talking about RRR or IPW in this post, but my actual original music into which I put real effort.]
However, as amateurs go, I always want to be as successful as possible. It's a way to push myself, a way to challenge my status quo, a way to express my creativity, and a way to have fun. The more success, the better. I could do a lot better, truth be told.
Today I feel that my writing and compositional skills are not really holding me back. I can write decent riffs. I have a good sense of harmonic movement, and a good idea of what sorts of rhythms I enjoy. (In fact, you may remember that I recently expounded a bit on what I like in music.) I know what I like, and I am pretty comfortable writing the kind of music that - at least - I myself want to hear.
And while I can usually win over the old classic rock crowd, I realize now that I will never really win over the younger guys unless I add some flash to my substance. I need some serious guitar pyrotechnics. Not just some fast solos, but some fast, precise, innovative solos. I need to shred.
So, from today, I have decided to get serious about my technique. You know me, of course, and you know that I like setting tangible goals. You also know I like to blog about the goals I set for myself.
Therefore, starting tonight, I introduce a new blog feature: Exercise of the Week. Each week, I will introduce one or two exercises, guitar licks, which I will be practicing all week long, for no less than 30 minutes per day. I will likely start each lick at about 140 beats per minute, and the goal will be to work myself up to 170bpm or faster, for each of these licks. I might not be able to do it in a single week, but after a few months, I should have a significant collection of technical exercises by which to better myself.
As my technique improves, of course, I'll be able to start incorporating these licks and techniques into my compositions, and that's where the real fun begins.
Project: Guitar God begins today.