Improve Your 7 String Guitar Creativity
Would you like to know how to play 7 string guitar with a higher level of creativity?
Fact is, most guitar players play 7 string guitar just like they play 6 string guitar. If this is your approach, you will only be able to achieve a limited amount of musical creativity in your guitar playing.
In order to get the most out of 7 string guitar, it is important to become aware of both the challenges that the instrument brings and all the unique musical tools you have at your disposal. In this article, I will provide several ideas to help you become aware of how to use these things to enhance your musical creativity with 7 string guitar.
Learn To Use the Entire Range Of The Instrument
In most cases, guitarists are introduced to 7 string guitar through heavy metal riffs played by their favorite bands. This influences them to purchase a 7 string guitar for themselves. As soon as they pick up this instrument, they focus all their energy into creating heavy riffs or rhythms on the low B string. This is certainly one of the most unique features that a 7 string guitar has to offer, however if you spend too much time on the same string, your music will quickly become stale and uninteresting.
Let me explain:
There are various instruments that use a very large pitch range. For example, the piano ranges from very low notes all the way up to very high notes. If you were to imagine a song being played on a piano, how would it sound? Most likely, you would be hearing a mix of low, mid, and high ranged notes. What if the piano song ONLY consisted of the lowest range notes…and lasted 15 minutes? How long do you think it would take before you became bored? Not very long I’m sure. In fact, you’d probably want to add in mid and high range notes pretty quickly to keep things interesting. This is exactly how you should approach playing 7 string guitar. By focusing all your attention on the lowest string, your guitar playing will become too one-sided (and uninteresting). By mixing in the mid and high range, you will help balance out your overall sound.
If you would like to be more creative on 7 string guitar, it is essential that you understand and apply this concept. When I show my own guitar students how to compose songs, I train them how to master this idea of balance in their music. Learn various ways to use the entire pitch range of 7 string guitar in this free lesson about playing 7 string guitar.
Use a Lead Guitar Playing Style On The Low B String
Due to the lower pitch range that comes with the added string, most guitar players consider the 7 string guitar to be geared toward rhythm playing. This causes them to mostly ignore also expanding their ‘lead guitar’ techniques onto the low B string. As a result, these musicians totally miss out on all the interesting new guitar licks that can be made (which are impossible to create on 6 string guitar). If you are not confident in your abilities to play lead guitar or use the low B string, I recommend that you find a guitar teacher who fully understands how to teach 7 string guitar, and can show you how to effectively master these areas in your playing.
Use the Low Range To Add Depth To Your Chord Progressions
The 7 string guitar offers many new options when it comes to creating interesting sounding guitar chords. By taking advantage of the low range that comes with the extra seventh string, you can combine standard guitar chords with the sound of a bass guitar.
To demonstrate this, I am going to show you an exercise. First, turn off any distortion settings you have and play through a clean channel on your amp. For this exercise, you will be experimenting with various guitar chords that you may have already learned on 6 string guitar. First, create some chords using only the fifth, fourth, and third strings. Then, combine these chords with the low B string. Next, try this same idea, but use the third, second, and first strings. While you are experimenting with this exercise, pay attention to how different it feels when you are playing the strings closer (in pitch) vs. the strings that are farther apart in pitch. Which one of these do you think sounds more pleasing overall? Once you have decided this, you can begin using this idea in your own 7 string guitar music.
Minimize all Unwanted String Noises
For most guitar players, it is very tough in the beginning to eliminate excess guitar noise coming from any strings that are not being played. This is due in part to the significant change in the physical ‘feel’ of a 7 string guitar compared to 6 string guitar. This change comes not only from the additional string, but also from a wider guitar neck. This will take some time for you to get used to. If you want to make your guitar playing cleaner, you need to make it a priority to fix any string noise problems in your technique. Listen closely as you play guitar so that you can hear any extra noise that occurs. Then, use guitar string muting techniques to minimize the noise until only the notes you want to hear remain. To get help with playing cleaner on guitar, check out this lesson about how to eliminate string noise in your guitar playing. If you have a lot of trouble playing guitar cleanly, seek out a great guitar teacher who can help you effectively solve this problem.
Combine Rhythm Guitar Chords with Lead Guitar Melodies
One of the signs that you are becoming a truly great 7 string guitar player is when you are able to cleanly and accurately shift between rhythm and lead guitar parts while still playing in time. To make improvement in this area of your guitar playing, create two different guitar parts: a rhythm guitar riff (using lower pitches) and a lead guitar phrase (using mostly high pitches). For now, don’t worry about making them too complicated. Once you have created both parts, work on combining the two parts together while playing tightly ‘in time’ and without any sloppy noises/hesitations during the process of switching from one part to the next. For this exercise, it will be useful to practice with a metronome. Additionally, record yourself playing so that you can listen to any mistakes you have made. This will make it much easier to spot yourself playing guitar ‘out of time’.
Most likely you have not found the ideas in this article to be too difficult to understand. Unfortunately, most 7 string guitar players do not take ACTION to use these ideas for improving their guitar playing. As a result, their progress is very slow. By simply focusing on mastering the ideas described above, you will be able to get much more from playing a 7 string guitar as well as greatly enhance your musical creativity in a shorter period of time.
Learn several new ways to play 7 string guitar creatively in this free lesson about playing 7 string guitar.
If you need help with playing cleaner on guitar, check out this lesson about how to eliminate string noise in your guitar playing.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a touring guitarist, composer and a mentor to musicians. He plays in the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He teaches guitar players in his rock guitar lessons online.
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