Tag Archives for " Dynamics "


Hard Stage Blues by Luca Sestak

Well, here we are on a guitar-oriented site, and I’m giving you a piano player to watch! What’s up with that?

The thing is, as musicians, there’s an awful lot we can learn from other musicians, even ones who play different instruments than we do – if we’re looking for it!

Sure, there are guitar players who have good dynamics and a great sense of timing and rhythm, and no doubt we’ll look at some of those too, another day, but today I wanted to actually point you at a piano player in order to get you thinking outside the box a little bit.

I’ve heard so many great guitar players say they stole a lick from a piano player, or a trumpet player, or a saxophone player, or whatever. I’ve even heard them claim to steal tricks from drummers!

It takes a bit of conscious effort to develop a mindset that watches other instruments for ways to improve our own, and hopefully this helps push you in that direction a little bit. It’s a great performance, so watch it through a few times, and then let’s talk about what he’s doing and how we can apply that to our guitar playing in the comments below.

Watch on Youtube


How Do YOU Add Dynamics Into Your Playing?

Crescendo SymbolMusic without dynamics is a bit like listening to music coming out of a 1980’s computer that could just do beeps. Sure, you could make it play a recognizable tune, but there were zero dynamics!

There’s much more to music than simply the tune itself. Dynamics is the often unwritten, un-talked-about element that makes a song go from the depths of a valley all the way to soaring mountain vistas…. or completely fall flat. In proper written music, you’ll find this already present, with terms like crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, and many, many others. But in 99% of popular music today, you’re not going to find written music that is accurate to that level of detail. Most of the time, you’ve got a simple chord chart – at best – and somehow you have to make it sound good – you have to interpret it for yourself.

If we all spoke in monotone voices, the world would be a boring place to be. Thankfully, we have all kinds of natural inflection in our voices: we change pitch (that refers to the notes played) but we also change the volume, intensity, and the speed with which we talk, depending on what and how we’re trying to communicate.

The question is – how do go about doing the same things on guitar?

I’m right in the middle of creating a brand new course that will be at least partially addressing this important subject, so I’ve got some thoughts of my own on the subject, but I really wanted to get the discussion going here, and open it up to YOU.

So – how do YOU add dynamics into YOUR playing?

Share your thoughts below and hopefully we can all learn something from the discussion!

Chug-Zing Strumming Technique

Here’s another guitar lesson, brought to you from the beautiful outdoors in British Columbia. Today I wanted to take a look at a strumming technique that can really help add some dynamics to your guitar playing.

The heart of this technique is to simply be selective in what strings you strum… don’t feel like you always have to strum all the strings at the same time!

The “chug” part of this comes from strumming the lowest two or three strings in your chord. This is going to form the main part of your rhythm, but as soon as we add in the “zing” bit (a full strum), it really brightens up the sound spectrum, gives a bit of pop and sizzle. And then you’re right back into the chug, and the listener is left waiting for the next zing to pop out…

Alright, here’s the lesson – let me know what you think in the comments below!

Oh yeah – and if you want a heads up notice on the new course I’m creating, on this type of playing (adding dynamics and generally making simple stuff sound really cool) then click here.

Watch on Youtube


Adding Dynamics To Your Guitar Playing

When you’re playing guitar dynamics are very important. The same is true for any instrument, but how do you add dynamics to your guitar playing?

Although there are many ways of adding dynamics to your playing, one great way to do that is to change the intensity you play with. One way to do that is to mix up picking and strumming, moving from one to the other. Guitar picking tends to have a softer, more mellow sound, and guitar strumming can be used for more of a pushing, lively portion of the song.

It is important to note that you don’t have to be an expert at fingerpicking or strumming before you can start adding guitar dynamics to your playing. Take the simplest picking pattern that you know, and the simplest strumming pattern that you know, and start using them together! Don’t make it complicated, just try to start experimenting with it.

Video Problems? Watch Guitar Dynamics on Youtube.