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Ensuring A Great Blues Guitar Performance On Stage | Teach Yourself Guitar Now

Ensuring A Great Blues Guitar Performance On Stage

It’s easy common to think that great blues men churn out a fantastic performance off the cuff, or just by chance, so to speak. Naturally, mostly this isn’t the case. Firstly, bear in mind that he or she is unconsciously drawing upon years of practical experience that is constantly adapting what you are hearing. A successful pro musician will analyze his musical performance and impact after the fact, noting which songs were successful and which were just so-so. Perhaps a certain kind of song suits his style, so more of these could be included. Rather than packing the set with absolute blockbusters, which wouldn’t suit at all, the whole presentation should have a form itself, sometimes rapid and sometimes slow. The very powerful songs ought to be examined. When you find out why they are so attractive, that feature can be honed and improved to make them even more appealing. What are the primary characteristics of an outstanding acoustic blues guitar performance?

Even though it’s good now and again to push the limits with musical style, listeners go for a cliche. They know why they are there, and it’s soothing to hear. Don’t overdo that well known riff, but put it in it anyway. A solid guitar picking pattern, even if it’s been ‘done before’, performed with honesty and style, will succeed each time. Don’t attempt to be ‘flashy’ and impress the folks with your stunning finger picking abilities. Sure, if you’ve got this skill, show it now and again, but if you are not really good then best to focus on other aspects of your style. One of the most important blues guitar lessons to take on board is to play well inside your limits. An audience would far sooner hear a performer play a song really competently than hear a few missing notes, or see someone struggling to finish the piece. Nearly all guitarists play to around 75% of their actual technical skill on stage – it’s comfortable for everyone!

Many years ago, when backing Johnny de Silvo in St Martins in The Fields in London, I asked for a few tips on performing on stage. Johnny had been playing for many years on stage and on television. “Son”, he said, “get the audience to like you, just like you. If you can do that, it doesn’t matter too much how you perform – they’ll forgive you!” That could have been going a tad far, but he certainly did wow the audience that particular night, performing the same old music in the same old way. He played in an average kind of way, well inside his limits and he had a good time, and by the way taking the audience along with him.

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