How to Play Guitar with Feeling – Part 2
Feel. What does that mean? It’s your guitar fingerprint, the totally unique aspect of your playing style. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or advanced player there is something unique about your sound that you alone possess. That’s not necessarily a good thing. lol
That’s because your feel could sound robotic, lifeless, lacking emotion or it could be the opposite, emotional and moving.
Where does feel come from?
We are all on an individual journey. How did you learn to play songs? Was it by copying tab, listening to recordings or a combination of the two? Do you sit in a room and play by yourself or do you jam with others? These all affect how we learn to play guitar and the sound that we make.
Jimi Hendrix didn’t teach me to play guitar, but I learned how to play with feeling by copying his style. I was influenced by many guitarists including Eddie, Trower, Randy, Yngwie and more. I would slow down recordings of my heroes to learn more than just the notes. I would also learn dynamics, phrasing, vibrato, which creates feel. This can’t be conveyed in written tab or notation. It can only be learned with a great deal of patience, tenacity, and the ability to listen deeply.
When I say listen deeply, I mean that the notes become dimensional. That’s hard to explain but it’s like going from a flat object to three dimensions. Notes become a shape that wasn’t apparent before.
As you imitate others you will begin to build your own individual style and feel. Your unique sound will come from a combination of all that went before you. Don’t forget, this is the way your favorite players learned, by copying their favorites. So, your style has been influenced by players that you’ve never even heard of.
I can’t teach you how to play with feeling. But playing with feeling is something that you can learn. Not from me telling you how to play emotionally but from you learning to express yourself from what you’ve learned on your own journey.
For more on playing with feeling, check out Playing with Feeling.