How to Play the Rock Guitar Like a Rockstar
The guitar is surely one of the most versatile instruments in all of music. It can be found in almost any genre of music you care to think of. Having said that, it is perhaps most strongly associated with rock music. This article will look briefly at how this came to be and the history of the guitar in rock music, as well as giving a brief overview of rock guitar lessons, and looking at some of the techniques you will need to learn and master if you want to emulate your rock guitar heroes. If you’re looking for a great way to learn rock guitar we recommend Rock Guitar Power.
The first electric guitars were introduced in the 1930s and quickly found popularity amongst the blues and country players of the day. In the late 1940s these styles gave rise to rock ‘n’ roll, and the guitar became one of the defining instruments of the genre, with players like Chuck Berry ensuring that the guitar would become an integral part of rock music. In the 1960s rock guitar playing was taken to new heights by innovative players like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix), and new styles of rock music emerged. By the seventies, hard rock had developed which, in turn, led to heavy metal.
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All these new styles of guitar music had they’re own sound, and playing techniques continued to develop, reaching a peak in the 1980s and 90s, when ‘shredders’ like Malmsteen, Satriani, and Vai introduced new and exciting advanced techniques into they’re playing.
A crucial element to the success of the guitar in rock music has been its sound. While there are many different types of rock guitar sound, they all usually have one thing in common; distortion. Distorted guitar sounds were originally an unwanted consequence of the way early valve amplifiers worked. When they were turned up loud they tended to distort the sound. Whilst, to begin with, this distortion was unintended, many of the early rock ‘n’ roll players began to prefer this distorted sound, and began looking for ways to increase the amount of distortion, with some even slashing the speaker cones in their amps! Throughout the 60s distortion remained an integral part of the rock guitar sound, with amp manufacturers like Marshall introducing amps with high gain, and master volumes to increase the distortion further. Today, super high gain amps, like the Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier, dominate the heavy metal scene, but there is still plenty of room for lower gain sounds in modern rock music. When it comes to guitars, the Gibson Les Paul is perhaps the most iconic rock guitar, both in terms of looks, and sound, with legends such as Jimmy Page and Slash both using them. Their heavy, mahogany bodies, and humbucking pick-ups give them the perfect rock sound.
When it comes to rock guitar lessons, and actually playing rock guitar, there are an awful lot of techniques available that have been developed from the earliest days of rock ‘n roll. Early rock guitar music from the 50s is full of blues style pentatonic scale licks and string bends, and this is still a major part of modern rock playing. Later, in the 60s, ‘power chords’ started to be used, and have formed the basis for a lot of rock music ever since. Players like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix continued to push the boundaries of guitar playing, experimenting with whammy bars, and effects such as fuzz, and wah pedals. Advanced playing techniques such as hammer-ons and pull-offs are used a lot in rock music to play fast runs and repeated patterns. In the 70s end 80s, even more advanced techniques like tapping, and sweep picking became popular, allowing players like Eddie Van Halen, Malmsteen, and Steve Vai, to play incredibly complex, and very fast guitar solos. These are all techniques taught in rock guitar lessons, that need to be mastered if you want to become a good rock guitar player.