Genre-Busting Guitar: How to Get Inspired Again

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

Break Out of the Ordinary by Learning and Playing Other Types of Music

Every guitar player, no matter how gifted they are or how much they enjoy their work, will find themselves in an occasional artistic rut. If this guitarist is you, there is a very effective method of breaking free. If you play primarily in one style of music, looking into other genres and adapting some of those styles into your playing can bring you relief and improve your musicianship at the same time. You may find it surprising how quick and effective this method is for snapping you out of your doldrums and getting you back on track.

Insert the Dash

If you play primarily country music, take some time and learn some blues or rock riffs. After all, the genres are all related. Likewise, if you are a rocker, try on some blues or country licks if you aren’t already doing so. Being a country-blues or jazz-rock player and/or composer (or any other “dash”) does not mean you are being further pigeonholed. It simply means you can pull from a wider variety of styles. Think: Carlos Santana.

This idea isn’t limited to popular music. If you are a classical guitarist, a flamenco guitarist, or a folk guitarist, the principle is the same. If you find yourself in a plateau, consider looking into other genres, and look at the possibility of blending them in with your preferred genre. Flamenco and jazz go very well together. So do folk and blues. Mix it up!

The Advantages of Multi-Genre Guitar

Getting out of a stylistic rut is only one advantage of looking into different genres. You may find, after further study and practice that you have become proficient at a genre other than the one you specialize in. You may even want to switch to that genre. You would not be the first. Craig Chaquico, for example, was famous as the lead guitarist for the legendary rock band Jefferson Starship and its spinoff group Starship. Since going solo in the 1990s, he has recorded several acclaimed albums in the blues and smooth jazz categories. He has topped the charts multiple times with his solo work, and received a Grammy nomination for his efforts.

If you also compose, this gives you a golden opportunity to write songs proficiently in multiple styles. This may bring in additional income. So can the prospect of playing more live or studio gigs if you are at that level of proficiency.

Of course, it’s not primarily about the money. For you, it may not be about the money at all. That’s all right! The most important benefit is the personal satisfaction you will feel as you break out of the routine and expand your musical horizons at the same time.

The next time you get bored with your own playing, consider looking into other types of music! Your guitar playing will not only become better-rounded; you may also find it very lucrative.

 

Glenn Sutton
Ozzie’s Music
12222 Poway Road,
Suite #27
Poway,
California 92064

Phone 619-306-3664
858-679-6997

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