Strange Dreams and MTV

The modern millennial focused society has the advantage of being bombarded by video and audio at an almost constant rate. The MTV Generation is gone, and so it seems are the precious moments of just sitting down, and being engulfed in a music video or two. Thanks to YouTube and the avid success of Ready Player One that might be changing. 

The best way to expand your ability and repertoire as a guitarist (or with any primary instrument) is to not f***ing listen to other guitarists. Listen to new and different genres, from different eras in music, and from artists who are widely separated from your normal tendencies. It's always a popular practice routine to play along to a vocal melody on your instrument, and improvise as if you're singing... but I challenge you to dive deeper into your analysis.

Take Sweet Dreams (which I've embedded within this post) for instance. Go ahead and listen and watch it on repeat-- using the largest speakers you have at your disposal. If you haven't realized this by now, music is moving air... so let it push you. Once your body starts gyrating to the bass and drum beats, it's time to pick up your axe and turn on your amp. 

Focus on the synth this time around-- pay attention to the swirling staccato and start to play. Use your audiating skills to match the pitch and follow the progression. Don't try to play along with the song, but instead mimic it. You're now a synth player in a GenX Pop/Rock band, but you've only got an electric guitar. Experiment around, and try to find the oddest way to do things... your only meter for judgement should be your ears. Let the soundscape of the Eurythmics completely envelop you, so you're nothing but a mechanical piece working in perfect concert. 

Do this kind of thing long enough, and you'll find you've developed an unorthodox and refreshing element of your personal playing style. As artists all we can truly do is build upon the work of previous artists-- if you want to stand out, you're going to have to step out of the line and break the mold. 

Go ahead and be weird.