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Bourassa-O’s— adding capes to Cheerios (stealing one idea and adding another to create something brand new!)
Okay, you might be wondering, “How on earth will I sound like me if I sound like my favorite guitar players?”
If you only study one guitar player, learn a whole of their songs, and correctly mimic their techniques, you will basically sound like a clone of that guitar player. However, if you mimic the ideas, techniques, and phrases used by more than one guitar player, you can begin to create your own sound.
This is very simple but very effective. Here's a step-by-step way to quickly sound original by copying your favorite guitar players:
1.Choose five guitarists that sound highly original
2.Learn how to play each guitar player’s most famous song note for note
3.Extract the five techniques, melodies, rhythms, phrasing elements, or key ideas from each song
4.Write these down to create a list of 25 highly original ideas (original to the artist)
5.Write a song using only these 25 ideas. You do not have to use them all. In fact, it will be quite difficult to use all 25. Pick just one idea from each artist and use those over and over throughout your song.
By limiting yourself to only five ideas for your song, it will force you to get
even more creative with these already original ideas. You will discover that
the greatest guitar players typically use only a handful of patterns and
ideas repetitively, and this is a big part of what gives them their signature sound.
It's not that they are so inventive they do a whole bunch of different things;
rather, they do a handful of things really well and differently than anybody else.
By taking one idea from each artist, no one will be able to quite pin down
who you sound like. Thus, they will conclude that you are an original genius
all on your own!
If you don't sound totally original the first time you do this, don't worry. Keep repeating the exercise once a week for an entire year. I guarantee you will sound like an original guitar player at the end of that year.
By the way, this article is the result of my own mistakes I made early on. For about five years, I only studied Joe Satriani. At first, it was really cool when people would tell me I sounded just like him. I took it as a compliment. But after several years, I realized I had become a clone! And not even necessarily a great one, at that. I sounded like someone who was trying to sound like Joe Satriani. So, I decided to began studying someone who sounds very different, and that was Greg Howe. Then, I decided to try and write songs that sounded like these guys had joined Blink 182, one of my all-time favorite bands. I used to try and keep these genres separate, but I have since learned that in order to be original, one must allow their influences to shine through regardless of genre.
Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that you attempt to fuse multiple genres together for the sake of itself. Many bands have attempted this and failed. Only do it if your favorite artists truly reside in various genres and you want to pay homage to them all.
Disclaimer #2: I am also not suggesting that I have masterfully created an original sound of my own. However, I do now make music that I really like and enjoyably strive to combine the influences to create something unique. The quest continues!
About the Author: Eric “look at me!” Bourassa lives in Fort Worth, Texas,
where his rock guitar lessons help guitar students find a voice of their
own instead of becoming guitar playing clones. He works very
hard to keep students away from mindlessly learning new licks.
Instead, he works to help them create their own unique guitar ideas.
PS- If I’m not totally orig inal yet, do I at least look