Today, I want to touch base on exploring different styles of guitar playing. I think I can relate enough to that idea as I have studied a bit of classical and a bit of jazz to kind of summarize my idea on this.
I think it is a worthwhile investment to take a look at different styles. What I also think is important is to keep in mind that you are a predominantly a metal player (most people reading this blog are, as an example) and use whatever you learn in other styles to your advantage to do what you do as a metal player. In short, this was my outlook for years. Still is.
For a good couple of years, I consistently practiced nylon string classical guitar, mostly because of Randy Rhoads. But, I knew that being a classical guitarist was not my future and if I practiced my fingerpicking a lot, my pick technique would suffer. I mixed classical and metal together where I would fingerpick top 3 strings and use the pick for the bottom 3 strings. It worked with my teachers, but I knew this was not going to work in a conservatory. I was fine with it. Classical guitar allowed me to learn about sign reading, position playing, counterpoint and melody. Lots of great stuff, really.
While in college at Berklee I was surrounded by many jazz players. I was not in love with jazz and did not like the way it sounded. It just never had the attack I like in music, but picking up a jazz licks and analizing jazz chord progressions proved useful for when I want to sound a little “outside” in my metal playing. Even in college, I knew I was not going to play jazz, but I kept an open ear. I must admit, the closest I got to jazz was Al DiMeola and it’s not that close, lol.
I did lsten to other instruments like saxophone and players like Eric Marienthal, etc. I also listened to non-metal guitarists such as Robben Ford, Stevie Ray Vaughan. It kind of allowed me to think a bit outside of metal, which was my diet for the rest of the 90%. It allowed me to learn different phrasing, listen to space between notes, things like that.
So, long story short – there’s no shame in picking up anything anywhere. I just think it’s important to always keep in mind that you’ll have to translate it back to your own language which is metal.