Creativity Tips For Electric Guitarists
There’s no question that the music landscape is the most complex that it’s ever been. Although dominated by genres like EDM, hip-hop, and electro-pop, there are countless avenues for rock, punk, folk, funk, and other genres and styles to flourish. In this chaotic and infinitely creative landscape, it can be easy for some guitarists to feel stuck. But there are ways to get out of any creative rut. If you’re an electric guitarist looking for a breakthrough, here are some tips that could help.
Make a song in a strange genre
Sometimes, the best way to shake off the mental cobwebs is to force your brain to solve a puzzle you’ve never seen before. Trying to make a song in a genre that you’re not used to playing is one such puzzle. This can greatly change or add to your perspectives about songwriting, and allow you to discover new techniques, styles, and other paths that can unlock your creative vision.
Experiment with effects pedals
In a nutshell, effects pedals modify the signal that’s coming from your guitar before it runs through your speakers. Boost pedals add a certain brightness to your tone by balancing the output of each string. Distortion, fuzz, and overdrive pedals add grit, dirt, and weight to the tone. Delay pedals replicate your tone, either in a repeated manner over time or in a way that sustains the sound.
These and other pedal types can greatly expand your command over the different soundscapes that electric guitars can create. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to get your hands on a classic British Laney pedal or even a boutique one from Boss or Empress Effects. These are just some of the more commonly available brands in guitar pedals and effects. And whether you’re looking to buy or borrow some gear, any of these brands and pedal types can go a long way towards extending your ability to innovate new sounds
Try out different tempos
As you’re playing with different genres and effects, it might also help if you try working with different tempos. Take some of your old material and see how it feels to play them faster or slower than normal. Try developing new material in a slower or faster tempo than you’re used to. Changing your tempo – even mid-song – can greatly shift the feel of any new or old material in your repertoire. More importantly, it can show you new and engaging paths which may help your creative process.
If you mainly play the electric guitar, picking up the acoustic can prove to be a worthwhile exercise in creative development. Just listen to the acoustic versions of songs like Foo Fighters’ Everlong or Panic! At the Disco’s This is Gospel. Freed from the analogue signal trappings of electric guitar, songs can take on a whole new acoustic life. You can also try writing new songs on an acoustic. If you’re so inclined, don’t hesitate to pick up a French lute, sitar, or any other unusual acoustic guitar you can get your hands on. Trying out strange instruments may shine a light on the other worthwhile directions that you could take with your music.
In the age of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and other streaming services, criticism is unavoidable. From the kindest and most objective reviews of your work to the harshest and most personal attacks, it’s your job as the artist to find the kernel of truth – and to turn that kernel into a diamond. Embrace whatever criticism comes your way, and if necessary, sift through the dirt to find whatever you can use for growth.
If you feel like you’ve been in a creative rut for too long, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Keep the aforementioned tips in mind and try to have fun while developing your process.
Credit: Carla R. Weber