Pick Up a New Instrument and Play!
By Ben BlakesleyGeorges Music
Sometimes playing music can get stale.You sit down with your same old instrument and play the same old licks, riffs, scales, and songs as you always do. It's still great to play music, but you just want a new sound.Something torejuvenateyou.Something to inspire you.
Getting a new sound is EASY! Here are some quick suggestions for finding your musical muse:
Pick Up a New Instrument
This is the fastest way to pull yourself out of your musical rut. It can also be a very humbling experience for an accomplished player to start from scratch with a new instrument, but allow me to let you in on a little secret...many instruments have more in common than you might think.
Let's say you're a guitar player and you've got your chords and scales down. You can easily pick up a bass, ukulele, 12-string guitar, or mandolin with little effort and start playing right away!
A bass guitar is just like a standard 6-string guitar but with the two highest strings removed and everything tuned down an octave. So all your scales will still work, they'll just be a little truncated and have a lower pitch. The place you're used to playing an E will still be an E and so on. It's a super easy transition to make for guitarists.
Ukulele are all the rage (nothing beats the hard time recession blues like playing a ukulele!) so there's never been a better time to pick one up. On first inspection you might be a little apprehensive..."What's the deal with the top string being tuned so high?!?" Trust me, with a little mental mastering, you'll be playing no time. Here's the crux of this transition: You can play the same chord forms you play on guitar. Yes. That's right, put your fingers in the shape of what would be a D major chord on a guitar and give it a strum. Sounds great! The only difference is that on a ukulele, this is actually a G major chord instead of D. So if you can wrap your mind around that, you're all set.
Play an F major form and it's Bb. Play G major, that's C major. Play A major, that's D major. And so on...or you can always get a Baritone uke which is tuned EXACTLY like a guitar...
That signature 12-string shimmer is sure to inspire you to to new musical heights. And those extra 6 strings are no cause for alarm. A 12-string will play just like a 6-string guitar but each string has a companion string that is either tuned in unison or an octave higher. So all your chords, scales, and riffs are all played the same but now have a rich, full sound of a 12-string.
This is only slightly trickier to master, but none-the-less, you can be off and running in no time. A mandolin is essentially tuned like the 4 low strings of a guitar (or bass) but upside down. Tuning is G - D - A - E. What that means is that you can reverse your fingering to play your normal chords. For instance, a G major chord on guitar is played by fretting 3 - 2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 3. On mandolin, it's 0 - 0 - 2 - 3, just the 4 low strings in reverse. That's it!
By now you've just added 4 new instruments to yourrepertoirein under an hour and you've got your musical mojo back to write the next great hit song.
Or at least enjoy playing again.
Ben Blakesley is in charge of Marketing and Technology at George's Music and was first a frustrated banjo player at age 6 before discovering the amazing secrets contained in this article.