In the context of guitar playing, ‘dynamics’ refers to alterations in volume during various segments of performances. Employing ‘dynamics’ while playing the guitar involves playing a few sections louder or softer with respect to others, for giving rise to riveting emotions and leaving a powerful impact on the audience.
Guitar dynamics has always been a well –guarded secret which is seldom a topic of discussion amongst musicians. All adept players seem to swear by dynamic effects for mesmerizing the listeners with subtle enhancements.
Dynamics – the secret of success with guitar
One of the most incredible facts regarding guitar dynamics is that, even a beginner can sound like a full-fledged professional with its suitable application! While learning to play the guitar, you might consider venturing into the captivating territory of dynamics, and picking up a couple of tricks for boosting your guitar sound. Dynamic effects can be classified into three basic categories, namely – compression, noise gate, and boost.
Discovering the variations in volume with picking techniques
Select one particular note on your guitar. Start picking that note in a rhythm which appeals to you the most at that point of time. Try picking it in such a manner that the note turns out to be barely audible. After that, try heightening the intensity of the picking action and play the same note with steadily increasing levels of volume. Pick with your fullest gusto and play the note as loud as you can.
By performing this exercise, you would develop clear notions regarding the varying volume range according to your technique and the amount of force applied, for picking notes on your fret board.
Coming up with innovative methods of playing the same notes
Choose your desired scale and try playing it in your usual technique. After that, play every alternate note louder than the ones in between those. For instance, if you play the first and the third ones loud, then the second and fourth notes must be played in a toned down manner.
If you manage to accomplish this task successfully, then you can try playing two consecutive notes really loud, and the next consecutive pair softly. Continue by sticking to this pattern. This will eventually help in firming your grip over guitar dynamics.
More often than not, the sole focus of players happens to be on the notes being played. This is exactly why they tend to overlook the numerous possible ways, in which the same notes can be played for enhancing expression.
Experimenting with song sections for magnifying the effect
While playing one of your favorite numbers on the guitar, engage in a bit of experimentation by picking specific sections softer or louder in comparison to the other sections. Instead of being unnecessarily perturbed about the outcome, simply focus on your application of dynamics in different parts of the musical piece, and enjoy some rocking practice sessions! With the passage of time you would inevitably realize that it is not WHAT you play, but HOW you play that makes all the difference, as far as your audience is concerned.
Making it sound natural and spontaneous with phrasing dynamics
Getting introduced to the concept of ‘phrasing dynamics’ would be really beneficial for guitar beginners. When you start playing improvised solos for the first time, you are likely to end up playing the different notes with the same note-duration. This happens to be one of the most common errors of novices. The concept of phrasing dynamics revolves around the mixing up of note durations while playing solos.
For instance, splitting a quarter note into a couple of eighth notes would be a fantastic option. After that you proceed to four sixteenth notes for conquering new dimensions of the melody! Unless you mix up note durations, your solo might sound a bit mechanical and monotonous.
Understanding the role of compression for guitars
Compression is often employed by guitar players especially during solo performances for enhancing the sustenance, pertaining to particular notes in lead playing.
Compression is also used for smoothening out the rhythm of playing so that it sounds a lot more consistent. You can also use a compressor for adding a twist to clean tones, if your song demands.
Regulating sounds with noise gate and boost pedals
A noise gate assists in eliminating unwanted sounds during your performances. By correctly setting its threshold, you can easily block those humming or buzzing sounds which arise due to the hands brushing against the guitar strings. Boost pedals are also very effective when it comes to the application of dynamics. A boost helps in maintaining consistency of volume so that you can deliver clear, melodious strains of music even with heavier strumming.
Harnessing the immense potential of dynamics can be extremely rewarding. Incorporating guitar dynamics right from stage one would not only help in boosting your guitar skills, but also prepare the base for some really amazing performances in the future!
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