At the start of this year my guitar playing was at a level i was content with. I had a basic understanding of music theory and my compositions were limited to only a few scales and chord patterns. This was reflected in our performances in Swinburne Hall as they were incredibly basic and were just me, Ben and Rhys. The fact we didn’t have a full band and a whole range of ideas limited our composing and also limited what we could do on stage – the timing was all down to us and the songs felt somewhat lacking any depth. This was one thing that i/we needed to improve on as it took a tole on our whole performances. This was demonstrated in Unit 1 where the video of us is to be frank, awful. A way we could have improved was just asking more people to play with us and not being shy to approach people. I was a bit nervous at the start as i was unsure on how i compared to other guitar players on the course as my playing was quite messy in my opinion and i didn’t tend to focus on what i was playing. This is another thing i needed to improve on as it was very obvious in our shows and it was just a lack of practise of the material. A third thing i needed to improve on was finding my guitar tones. At the start of the year i mainly used the Line 6 amps which are inferior to the Marshall’s just for the effects. This was not a great idea as they just sounded worse and i needed to sound as good as possible.
At this point in the year i feel i have improved greatly. My compositions are much better and my knowledge of music theory has grown massively – i now use all types of chords as oppose to just open ones with simple pentatonic riffs over the top. I have been really working on keeping my playing tidy when i practise and this has payed off as i feel our general sound has become a lot better and that is partly down to the tidiness and knowledge of the material we are playing. We are going for a professional vibe when we perform and we are closer to achieving this now due to the tightness of the playing. During the year we played a show at the Queen Street Brew House. This show went extremely well as we all knew exactly what we were doing and people were beginning to know our songs as sing along. Our stage presence has gotten a lot better as we have all realised that how you act on stage is 90% of whether the audience enjoys it – we try and have as much fun as we can and not care what we look like and that payed off in this gig especially. This was a huge improvement from the start of the year as we are not scared anymore and all know exactly what we are playing. One way in which i am working to improve the quality of my personal playing is really practising on keeping my playing tidy. I am trying my best to work on keeping certain notes muted and being accurate with my picking and fingering – this has payed off in the band as we can now go on stage at anytime, pick any song off of our set and it will be at the same level as a recorded version. A second way i am working to improve my playing is to learn a larger variety of chords. At the start of the year we used only open chords with a capo and this limited what we could compose as it was all i knew. At this point in the year i am using all kinds of different chords and playing them all over the neck of the guitar to add just a little more variety to my playing. This has helped me improve as i am now much more comfortable everywhere on the neck. A third way I am improving is experimenting with different guitar tones. Most of our set is clean with a chorus effect and strummed chords. With the latest compositions i have a heavier, more gainy sound through the amp and it is bringing a whole new dimension to South Hours and our work. This helps me/us improve as it brings a whole new audience in and now there is something in our set for everyone.
These three things will help a lot leading up to our final performance as my playing is now much more diverse and the songs we will play will not be what people are expecting at all. Diversity is a good thing to have coming up to our Unit 8 gig as it will have something for all the audience and I personally think the set will impress everyone.