Save for a couple of introductory classical guitar lessons when I was 10 years old, all I’ve ever learned on the guitar has been self-taught. In the end, if you think about it, we all really DO teach ourselves, but it’s from people like me and other mentors that you can gain guidance, tips, inspiration and ideas. But after all is said and done, it’s really going to be up to you!
What you end up doing with all this information is really how you start to develop your own “voice” on the guitar, and here is some good news….you almost can’t HELP but have your own voice on the instrument, once you really start to play. Every player I’ve ever heard seems to have their own approach to bending, vibrato and whatever “vocal” qualities exist on the instrument. Even when teaching, and when a student tries to capture the subtlety of my half-step bends, for example, they STILL end up sounding like themselves, even when they think they have copied me exactly!
This is an amazing phenomenum, because it tells you that your voice on the guitar is literally as unique as your speaking or singing voice also is! I always said that when I picked up the guitar each day, I wanted to play something new, and that I’d want to break into new, unchartered territory. It’s a good rule to follow, as each day, and each time you pick up your instrument, you should really get into the habit of trying some new ideas. This is why I like to give you so many ideas on the Gibson lessons I do, so they can “spark” new concepts for you, and in your own playing.
Never forget that when you are soloing, or creating a backup part while doing some accompaniment (which is an almost lost art!) that you are literally “composing” as you are going along. This will be a big step in the process of your own development, and how you end up further teaching yourself! More on this great and favorite subject of mine in the future…….Till then, stay creative!