These are tips that every guitar player of any skill level can take to
heart. They really do work.
1. Rehearse how you are going to
perform. I spent a good year and a half basically sitting most of the
time when I would play. I had to completely retrain myself to play
standing up. Save yourself some time and stand the hell up!
Learn entire songs, not just riffs. It's great to learn riffs from
your favorite bands/popular songs, but in order to fully draw every last
bit of inspiration from looking over the songs of others you should
learn every last note. And don't be afraid to tackle a song that's a
little bit above your ability!
3. Change strings regularly/wash
your hands. There is no better sound in the world than a saturated
tube amp and a sweet axe with fresh strings. Dead strings sound bad, so
change those bitches at least once every 2 weeks. Dead strings also
affect what the singer hears (don't ever forget those guys)!
TIME you play, make sure you wash your hands first. This will at least
double string life and make it much easier for your fingers to glide
across the strings.
4. Enjoy yourself. The minute you stop
having fun is the minute the music suffers. There is nothing greater
than coming home from a great band practice and jamming out to some
Green Day or Nirvana. When you are enjoying yourself it will shine
through in your playing.
5. Diversify Something can be
learned from all genres, even the ones you hate. I'm about as typical
a rock guy as you'll meet. But I recognize the amazing ability of
players like John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Joe Pass, etc. Rock music is
basically an orgy of styles so don't be afraid to branch out.
Read Guitar Magazines! I know, this makes 6. I cannot explain how
much reading Guitar World, One and all their affliates (and occasionally
Guitar Player) has helped me. They have lessons galore on any facet of
guitar playing you'd like to learn as well as interviews, reviews, etc. Read
these. You will be a better informed guitarist. It's great to learn,
cause knowledge is power.
Here it is, through years of "get-in-the-van" (and sometimes RV)
experience. These seemingly small things matter when you're stuck in the
middle of Texas in July and no civilization for miles.
Have Toilet Paper
4. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Agreements, no matter what level of success you have, are VERY
important. Tour riders as well. Just because you're not Bon Jovi doesn't
mean you can't ask for a few essentials. Even if it's just a case of
bottled water at every venue you'll be taking plenty of free water on
the road. Did I mention water is important?
2. Coming Soon
!STICK TO THE F*ING BUDGET! I have been on so many tours that
ended far too soon because of mismanaged money.
There are fans
you'll meet on the road that will help you with meals, letting the band
crash at their crib, or even letting you park the big-ass van in their
driveway. These are the true fans, and the people that make this
lifestyle so meaningful.