I’m going to tell you about a few ways to practice, progress, and be creative by recording yourself play
Firstly, “Recording” here means just about anything – whether it’s recording software, a loop pedal, your phone’s voice record function, or a dodgy old relative’s dodgy old twin cassette deck. Anything
1) Testing Out A Multi-Part Idea
So you’re writing a song for your band, you’ve got some chords, and now you want a lead guitar part. You can very quickly test out how the parts work together by recording the chord progression into a little dictaphone or voice recorder on your phone, then playing it back while you play the lead part.
It’s very rough and ready, the tuning might not be 100%, but you’ll know whether you’re on the right lines or not straight away.
2) Measuring Your Progress Over Time
If you’re serious about improving as a guitarist you’re going to be playing as much as you possibly can. But this means that you’re probably not going to realise how much you’ve improved. (In the same way as when you see someone every day you don’t notice their hair has grown or they’ve lost weight etc) So you should record yourself playing for a few minutes and keep hold of the clip. Do this once a month, once every 2 or 3 months, whatever you like. Then listen back and you’ll soon see how you’ve improved in those intervening periods. You’ll feel great, and keep your motivation to practise hard.
3) For When You Keep Making The Same Mistake!
Maybe you’re trying to learn a really tricky riff or solo. You’re just about getting it, but you’re always making the same mistake in the same place, every single time. It can become like a curse, and you start to go wrong in the lead up to the difficult phrase as it plays on your mind. Record your attempts. Record yourself trying to play it, slow, medium and fast. Then listen back and analyse what’s happening. You should find you can figure out what’s going wrong and why so much easier when you’re not focusing so hard on trying to play it!
4) Remembering Things You Write
Nothing is more frustrating for a songwriter than writing something you think is brilliant, then forgetting it in the time it takes to make a cup of tea or take a phone call. Just record a quick clip of you playing and singing the song into any device you have, just enough to trigger your memory later on as to how the song goes. Problem solved.
More coming soon on how to use technology to your advantage as a guitarist!