Welcome to a new weekly post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including the “musicality mansion”, 54 days until Christmas, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – When guitar playing sounds like the walking dead
Yesterday was the first Halloween Archie and I had in our new house.
It was great fun with the trick or treaters and costumes.
There were witches, vampires, and zombies.
Speaking of which, this made me think about how one of the worst sounds you can hear on the guitar is the sound of a half-dead note.
Like a zombie.
You know the type of note I mean, where a fretting hand finger gently touches another string and, when plucked, it creates a dissonant shrill sound.
…Or more commonly, when your fretting hand finger is not close enough to the fret and the note buzzes in a half-living, half-dead kind of way.
These notes are just like the zombies, the notes are not truly alive or dead.
So, remember to do what it takes to get each note nice and clear.
Clarity is absolutely essential to good guitar playing, of course.
Speaking of which…
#2 – “The Musicality Mansion”
I’ve been talking a little about my 5-Point Musicality Checklist lately.
It features the following five elements which will all help to make your songs and playing more musical.
1 – Clarity
2 – Smoothness
3 – Timing
4 – Phrasing
5 – Dynamics
It’s powerful to have a checklist with your playing and if you want to improve your sense of musicality (who doesn’t), then this checklist can be like the north star guiding you on your way to better guitar playing.
The above five points are all important, but they are most important starting from the top.
To highlight how each element in the checklist builds on top of the other, here’s a little analogy I like…
Where I talk about guitar playing as being like building a mansion.
“Clarity” is like the foundations of a musicality mansion. It’s not that exciting, but it is 100% essential, as without good foundations, the building will fall pretty quickly.
“Smoothness” is like the brickwork and the building itself – pretty essential!
“Timing” is the roof, which, again, is key.
“Phrasing” is like the driveway, swimming pool, doors, windows, balcony, garden, and all the other features that make the mansion look amazing.
“Dynamics” being the last of the five points, is the least important (but still makes a big difference). Think of dynamics as the decor. It adds sparkle to the music and takes it to another level.
Try to keep those five things on the checklist in mind and perfect them as you play, starting from the top.
#3 – 54 days
As today is the 1st of November, we are only 54 days away from Christmas.
I like to be aware of how many days I’m away from certain milestones in the year.
Simply because this can help give us focus.
A lot of people out there when learning guitar (and in life for that matter) simply let time meander away from them.
If you’ve ever felt like time is floating away from you like a helium balloon drifting off in the sky, then set a goal.
Goals are very powerful, so why not set yourself a goal to be able to achieve something by Christmas?
An obvious thing to do is to learn a Christmas song, but it could be anything.
You could try to master a certain style of playing, chord change, a barre chord or anything else.
One achievable, fun, and exciting goal that really fires you up is great.
Then once you achieve it, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the festive period before setting more goals for 2023.
Try it, set a goal for Christmas.
You have 54 days.
There you go.
I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts.
In case you don’t know, today is the day the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons are released.
The deadline to join is midnight tonight.
If you do join, you’ll get exclusive access to a detailed lesson on the 5-Point Musicality Checklist (while learning two fun pieces of music)…
There’s also the new Two-Minute Challenge, and of course…
My brand-new lesson on how to play “Away in a Manger” in a beautiful little fingerstyle arrangement that I believe anyone can learn, with focus, by Christmas (possibly a fair bit sooner).
Here’s the link to check out the academy and find out more:
Have a great week!
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.