I once heard someone say something along these lines:
“You should treat your guitar like a good woman or man in your life”.
I have no idea who said that, but I like it, and in the spirit of that quote and as it’s Valentine’s Day, here are nine little tips that you might find useful…
Be as “one”
The great classical guitarist, Andreas Segovia, once said:
“Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”
It’s a beautiful quote and one that sums up the connection we should have with our instrument. We should not feel like it’s a piece of wood we are playing, but instead, we should think of the guitar as a good woman or man in our lives and see it as an extension of who we are – something to complement us and bring out the best in us, and vice versa.
Fix any issues
Of course, in a relationship, we need to work through problems. This is critical on the guitar too. What is the biggest thing holding you back right now?
Find it, fix it, and enjoy a better relationship with your guitar for a lifetime.
Avoid awkward silences
There’s nothing worse than an awkward silence when dating. On the guitar, we want to avoid these too.
Technically speaking, this means any pauses in the music should be intentional, and most of the time you want to make each note transition seamlessly into the next – just like how a conversation flows naturally when you’re with your loved one.
Just like in a good relationship, you want to avoid fighting and arguing. With the guitar, you must do the same. Instead of battling with it, work together.
Be gentle with your guitar. Be tender and stop strangling the life out of it! Play it with a light touch and like a good partner, it will treat you well.
Understand the weaknesses
Nobody is perfect and no instrument is 100% perfect either. As a guitarist, your guitar is probably not perfect either. There will be some things it does wonderfully well, and other things maybe not as well.
One of my guitars is wonderful for barre chords but slightly restrictive when fingerpicking. I understand these weaknesses and work with them. It’s key to do that with any instrument.
One reason relationships fail is because people stop listening to each other. Yet listening is crucial. Same with the guitar. A lot of people play guitar with their eyes, and not their ears. By that I mean, if they see something looks like it’s being played correctly, they’re okay with that.
Instead, close your eyes, slow down a piece and listen closely to how it sounds. Listening deeply is crucial to good guitar playing.
Keep it simple
It’s often said the simple things in a relationship make a real difference. The guitar is the same yet so many people complicate it.
Remember, simple things played to a good standard are so much better than complicated things played badly.
Let it shine
We’ve all seen TV dramas where a mean husband or wife tells their partner to “shut up”! Well, a good partner lets their spouse flourish and you should do the same with the guitar.
Help nurture the sounds that come out of your guitar. Encourage it to “sing”, shine and resonate as beautifully as you can. We can all eek out better tone on the guitar. Like a relationship, this is something to work on for a lifetime.
Show it passion
All long-term relationships need the occasional bit of passion. The guitar is the same. Most of the time you’ll play it with a pretty standard comfortable volume, but occasionally shower it with passion.
Strum it loud, strum it soft, play wildly, play gently. It makes such a difference when you throw passion into the music like this!
There you go. That’s my Valentine’s Day thoughts related to the guitar.
I have no idea if that was tacky, useful, or somewhere in between.
Either way, it was fun to write.
…And while I know a lot about teaching guitar, with my track record of relationships, I’d probably not take my “love” and romance advice too seriously!
Still, the guitar advice above is very useful if you apply it.
Anyway, if you want something that’ll no doubt give you many moments of joy and increase your love for playing the guitar, you may want to check out my “Fingerstyle Collection” course.
It contains a wide variety of songs for fingerstyle players.
There’s a lifetime of fun to be had with these songs.
You can check it out below:
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.