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Express Yourself

by Andy Martin

All right 7 Slingers, I'm back!!!!!! As I sit here, I wonder what I can write about that will be benefiting to you all. I could write out a bunch of licks and riffs. But they would be "My" riffs and licks. So this time, I want you all to walk away from my article, feeling that you will gain originally!

See being original and pioneering sets us apart from everyone else. We as artist will always be compared to others, but we can be original as well. We certainly do not want to copy someone elseís playing style exactly, but we can learn from the other guitarists and incorporate their style into our style, to make us more unique as well as elite.

For example as soon as you start to incorporate two handed tapping into you style, everyone says, ďthat sounds like Van HalenĒ. But you can tap innovative like myself. Another example is that once you slay on the guitar playing arpeggios at mind-boggling speeds and using the harmonic minor modes, you maybe compared to Yngwie Malmsteen. Iím sure all you understand what Iím talking about now and Iím sure that you all have experienced this in one way or another.

In my career, I myself, have been compared to other guitarist such as Yngwie Malmsteen , Satriani, and Van Halen, and to be honest I really never studied their playing style. I studied a lot of classical music in my early wood shedding days. I really enjoyed the audible spectrum of classical music and my mother also encouraged me to study classical, for she was a classical pianist. Then one day I heard a guitarist by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen, he was like a heavy metal Bach. I loved it! I actually remember saying, that there is no way someone can have this much technique. I was blown away! This is when I started to learned ingredients of other guitarist and incorporated their style into my playing style. It was shortly after when I got more and more into various rock guitarists. Now when I look back, I know and believe my heart is rock and roll. I just love the energy; I also believe that this playing style came to me, for it is my heart. So Now, I would like to list a few ways to help you derive your own playing style and open a few avenues as well. So lets get started.

1) "Mirror image" - Take any or all your pet licks, or licks that you learned from you favorite artists and play them note for note backwards. I still do this exercise when learning other guitarists leads or licks. You will find a horde of avenues once you try this to one lick. Sometimes you may feel like youíre in a rut, playing and practicing the same thing over and over. So take those repetitious licks and play them in "Mirror image". You will notice that the tonality will change as well. I love this exercise!

2) "Write on other instruments" - Compose and write licks on other instruments and than transpose the composition / lick to your primary instrument! I do this a lot. I compose on piano quite often and than transpose it to my guitar. I also, play bass sometimes and then transpose the piece to guitar. You will come up with a fathom of new chords and interesting voice leading ideas, to play the same thing on you primary instrument.

3) "Melody is from the heart"- Try singing out a melody and then play it on your guitar. Not only will this exercise help you write heart felt melodies but it will help you with your solfedge (ear training). You can also, record a chord progression and just sing the melody over the progression, then play it on your guitar. This is a lot of fun.

4) "Changing the tonality"- Take your favorite licks and change the chord progression that the lick is played over. You can do this with a small recorder or any recording device. Shred out you favorite licks and record them, then play different chord progression over the licks. You will instantly hear the over all tonality change. Some will be more euphonious than others.

5) Here is something that the legendary Ted Greene taught me. Play 4 of your favorite notes in your favorite order. With these 4 notes you can play them in 24 different imputations / combinations. This exercise opens a lot of windows and doors for all your scales and modes, especially on your 7-string beast!

6) Finally listen to all genres! I canít stress this enough. Just because a certain genre doesnít appeal to you, it doesnít mean that you canít learn from it and incorporate it into your playing style! Lately I have been listening to a lot of Country and Gospel. And let me tell you, there are plenty of Euphonious sounds seeping into my minds ear. Wowwwwwww.

Lastly, I hope you all found my article benefiting in one way or another. I wish you all the best in your goals as a musician. Also, please feel free to email me at andy@andymartinmusic.com with any questions. I would love to hear from you all! Thank you again to everyone at Mel Bay publications for inviting me back. Till next till "go play a few thousand notes for me" , strive for originality and God Bless!

"You can have my guitar when you can pry my cold dead fingers off of it!"

Mr. Andy Martin


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