Tip One: Listen to Some Music
Sounds basic, but it is one of the easiest ways to improve your skills.
Listening to other musicians gives you an insight into their playing minds. It allows you to learn and grow from the things that the other player has learned. You can easily develop your skills by taking in the skills of another guitarist.
If you primarily listen to jazz, try expanding your horizons; check out some metal, or some bluegrass. If you listen to metal, know that there are many other genres of music which involve intricate guitar work. Never form a musical superiority; it is the easiest way to find yourself stuck in a rut with no way out. Keep your mind open, and your ears perked.
Tip Two: Learn New Techniques
Learning new skills invites new ways of approaching your instrument.
Let’s face it; every genre has its go-to techniques and pitfalls. For heavy metal, there is sweep picking. For blues, there is vibrato. For jazz there are arpeggios. Every form of music has a fallback technique that is deemed the most critical of all techniques. While they aren’t the only techniques, they do tend to lead to similar techniques, limiting the repertoire of the musician.
Don’t limit your playing. Try borrowing different techniques from different types of music. While not all techniques will be guarantee fits, some will. Those are the techniques worth finding, as they will make the most difference to you as a guitar player. They will increase your lead guitar skills as well as your phrasing and control.
If you have the time to learn other musical instruments like the drums or piano, it can also help you develop into a more complete musician. Some recommended resources can be found at Drumeo and Learn And Master Piano.
Tip Three: Practice
Most guitarists get stuck at the same level due to lack of practice and essential guitar lessons.
Practicing isn’t a wives’ tale; it is a tried and tested formula to make you a more competent guitarist. If you don’t believe us, try taking a week of steady practice and reassessing your skills. Chances are, you will have improved in some area or another for the better, so long as your practice had direction and wasn’t an undirected fool around session.
Make a schedule for your practice and keep it. Dedicate the start to a ten minute warm up, and then go from there, working on different techniques or scales; whatever you feel that you need as a player. Remember, no one knows your playing better than you do, so don’t shortchange yourself; give yourself every advantage possible by putting in the time and work.
Practice may not always be the most fun, but it will do your playing the most good.