Creative guitar playing is not just for the lucky few who are born with disproportionate amounts of creativity. It can be practiced and learned by anyone willing to do the work. Here I’ll detail 3 exercises that will get you thinking and playing in new ways. There’s no excuse to be a boring guitar player!
1. Get Emotional
Write a riff, lick, melody, or chord progression for each of the following emotions: anger, heartache, fear, suspicion, sarcasm, joy, etc. Really get into it. Go overboard to express these emotions through your guitar. Use pedals and effects to capture the emotion if necessary. Make faces. Do whatever it takes to convey the emotion you’re going for. Remember, you’re working on creativity…it’s ok to get weird.
2. Uncage Your Inner Animal
Try to create animal sounds with your guitar. Start with horses, whales, elephants and dolphins. Once again, experimenting with various effects pedals can help out with this one.
3. Become A Master of Disguise
Over a 12 bar blues (or any other simple progression), pretend you are a different guitarist for each chorus. Try to match the tone, style and articulation of each guitarist you’re emulating. Here’s a list of players to get you started: B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Billy Gibbons, Pat Metheny, Brad Paisley, Eddie Van Halen.
Spend a few minutes with these 3 exercises and I’ll guarantee that you’ll be playing guitar in ways you never would have thought of otherwise.
Let me know if you have any fun ideas for working on musical creativity. And let me know how it goes for you trying these 3 exercises. Any surprises or insights?