For creators and musicians of every genre, everyone has been told to “develop your sound”. For some, it is a happy accident – an idea or combination of ideas that simply worked out. For others, it is the product of a lifetime of influence, work, and current tastes.
Developing your sound is akin to mastering your instrument, and it takes patience. In this article, we’re going to dive into some useful tips that have been learned by musicians and guitarists before you. While this article can help you develop your sound, developing your unique sound is extremely personal. It is an expression of who you are and your experiences as a human being.
Although we cannot tell you how to craft your sound, we can provide you with some lessons to help you find your unique sound. Let’s jump in.
Balancing Influences and Goals
It is safe to say that when we are making music, there is usually some sort of inspiration. It may or may not be music – it could be a scene, a feeling, or a sound.
More often than not there are techniques that are associated with certain genres and these are often the foundations that we work with. While it is helpful to have a starting point, you don’t want to completely copy another artist’s unique sound.
It is ok to sound like your influencers as long as the ideas are yours. Music has always been created through musicians being inspired by other artists.
Do What Sounds Good to You
As a trained musician it can be challenging to clear your head of all of those intrusive schools of thought. Classical, Jazz, Rock, Blues – these styles all have their sensibilities, don’t they? It is essential to study music and all of the rules that come with it – but at the end of the day what were rules made for?
To be broken!
Creating music is very personal, and you have to trust yourself in the creative process. It is truly a mental balancing act to both understand and internalize all of the training, scales, modes, chords, and gear settings that help shape our sounds into recognizable genres – and then to turn it all off when it is time to create.
Learn all of the rules and then break them with confidence. Express yourself – live in the moment – this is what music is all about. Genres are walls that are made to be smashed down with conviction – it is how we find connection.
Practice All the Time
It’s tough to find a passionate guitar player who isn’t already doing this if they can help it. Playing as often as you can and as long as you can is one of the greatest ways to help yourself along your journey. If you only walk five steps a day in the right direction, you won’t be nearly as close to where you want to be as somebody who walks 1000 in all directions!
Don’t Get Hung Up on Expensive Gear
If you can do it with expensive gear, then you can do it with cheap gear too. The idea that a fancier guitar or pedalboard is going to be the key to unlocking your sound is a marketing ploy and it should be viewed as an obstacle – an offense to your journey.
If you are truly interested in investing money to further your craft, look into receiving an education at a reputable establishment that can teach you how to craft your sound, like MI College of Contemporary Music, for example.
As the old saying goes, give a man a fish, feed him for a day – teach a man to fish and he is fed for life.
So, go learn how to fish.