Can you (quite) easily transition from a C to a D chord but don’t know what guitar scales are, let alone how to use them? Do you know a few chords and songs but don’t know what guitar skills you need to acquire to reach the next level?
Welcome to an exciting stage in learning lead guitar.
Now that you’ve got the basics under your hand, you can start discovering what you can actually do on your instrument.
The following guitar skills should be developed earlier on in your learning curve, though you may actually master some of them when you’re at more advanced level of playing. (Some of these guitar skills, like improvisation and phrasing, are easy to start developing, but will take time to master)
1. Understand rhythmic notation
Do you think that stuff about crotchets dividing into quavers, dividing further into semiquavers with ties and dots and all that mumbo jumbo of things is useless?
Not only is understanding rhythmic notation easy if you do it step by step, it is also very useful for various reasons.
First of all, it will make it possible to read rhythmic notation, which, together with guitar tab will make it possible for you to learn songs, lessons and exercises, (as we’ll see in skill 3).
Secondly, it will organize the different subdivisions of the beat in your mind, which will help a lot with the next, very important skill.
2. Playing on time
While you were learning your first guitar chords, and changing from one to another, you weren’t bothering about timing at all.
Your goal was to get your fingers obey and go to the right place.
Now you should start to take playing on time into consideration. If you’ve gained Skill 1, and understood the subdivision of the beat, you now have to apply what you’ve learnt by practicing with a metronome.
If you don’t dig this right, nothing else will sound right. Playing on time is a must and a guitar skill that should be developed early on.
Hint: If you’re practicing your timing, give your fretting hand as little as possible to do. If for instance you’re practicing strumming on time, don’t change any chords with your left hand. Your mind should be focused completely on the rhythm.