Signature Sound

Posted: November 9, 2011 by phanson in Tips & Tricks

Daniel from Columbia sent this question:

Hi Mr. Hanson

…my guitar teacher has mentioned you a lot… he always says good comments about you… I’m a young guitar player, looking for his own sound signature. What can I do to find it? And how do you do that awesome vibrato?

Thanks so much,

Hi Daniel,

Great question, here’s the answer. Your signature style is already there in your mind, but it’s trapped. The trick is how to release it. This is simple, but it will take consistent work. Two catagories to practice, to release your style.

1. Motor skills; to be able to play your style.

2. Vocabulary; things to play in your style.

For example, I’ll bet you a million bucks that if your hand and wrist could vibrato the way that you want, you would have your signature vibrato. The problem is you can’t do it yet.  The good news is that vibrato is a motor skill that you can develop, simply by repetition. Check out the exercise I posted in Tips and Tricks last year. (You must be a free Tips and Tricks Subscriber to view this exercise, if you are not, click the link on the right hand side of the page and sign up now.) Do this exercise every day! After a year of this, my vibrato was really close to where I wanted, this exercise works! 

Vibrato Post

(By the way, there’s also a video on this subject, available to paying subscribers).

To build your signature vocabulary, learn cool bits of what other players do, things that you like. Then learn to play them perfectly. And, I mean perfect! String noise, or sloppy playing will obscure your signature sound. And, less is more, three great licks played perfectly with great vibrato will get you farther than twenty sloppy licks without great vibrato. 

The process of improvising and writing is not creation, but reorganization. Reorganizing the licks and riffs you play, adjusting them for the song, and adding your signature vibrato, picking, and natural flair. I’ll bet people recognize your voice when you talk… same thing.

Like Kung Foo there are a few simple basics to master. So if you haven’t yet, sign up for my Free Tips & Tricks and read my posts, they’ll give you insight. Also if you sign up for my Shred Guitar Online program you’ll get a free “Power Tools” ebook all about technique, to master those motor skills!

Rock On!






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