Joining a Band Makes You a Better Guitarist. Here’s How.
by Alec Plowman, Mar 29, 2018 . 3 min read
If you’re learning to play guitar, it’s easy to fall into the habit of being a bedroom warrior. Locking yourself in your room with guitar chords, guitar tabs and tonnes of guitar music theory will get you some guitar playing chops. But, the truth is, it will only get you so far.
Ask any of the guitar greats and they’ll tell you that playing in a band was what made them into the player they are today. Playing in a band is a great learning experience for a number of reasons, and it will get you results that isolated playing will not.
Why? Well that’s what I’m here to discuss today. These are the three ways joining a band will improve your guitar playing. If you’re a would-be Slash, Tremonti, Cobain or Page, then take note!
It Makes You Step Up Your Game
When you’re the only musician in the room, it’s easy to get complacent. Sometimes you slack off and you don’t have a yardstick to measure your own progress against. If you’re playing in a band though, things are different. Everyone else is pushing themselves to be a better player, and seeing your bandmates progress will have a positive impact on you as well.
Seeing the drummer nail that massive fill, seeing the singer hit that soaring high note: these are the things that make you want to push yourself. In short, being with other musicians inspires you to be a better player in a way that the four walls of your bedroom cannot.
It Broadens Your Horizons
One of the things I’ve always loved about playing with bands is the diverse range of influences that get brought to the table. My musical horizons are pretty broad, but the truth is, there’s only so much I can listen to. In a band though, you’ve got four or five sets of ears listening to all different kinds of music, bringing in different sounds and different techniques.
I’ve learned new licks, new approaches to guitar playing and discovered a load of great music through being in bands with different people. Those things have made me a better player in a way that I never could have achieved on my own.
It Changes the Way You Think
Sitting at home playing along to records is not the same as playing with a real-life drummer and bassist. Technique and music theory you can learn from a book or an instructional video. But, groove, feel – the things that give the music its heart and soul – those come from interacting with living, breathing human beings. “Locking in” with other players is a tremendously fulfilling experience, and it’s something you just can’t do in the confines of your bedroom.
“Jamming” – the art of interacting with other musicians in a musical way – has produced some of the greatest musical ideas of all time. The desire for that sharing of musical ideas is why we started playing in bands in the first place. Jamming makes you think about music in a different way, and the only way you’re going to change your thinking is by getting out into the real world with real musicians.