This is a true story. The names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent, and the definitely guilty.
I'd like to begin this with a confession. I, James Martin, professional guitar teacher, Licentiate of the London College of Music, guitarist of almost 25 years standing – am a complete and utter pedant. A pedagogical fascist.
And I make no apologies for that. The reason – Phil. Old mate of mine, lovely chap, but when it came to guitar playing he had the gift of setting your teeth on edge. You see, although Phil had several years experience on me, he clearly hadn't been paying particularly close attention to what he was doing. For example, his grip when doing barre chords was skewed to the point where every single string was being bent about a quarter tone out of tune, resulting in a major chord being morphed into the kind of sound used in North Korean concentration camps to break the spirits of their inmates.
Now, this is a big deal. As a musician, you are only as good as how you sound. For us guitar players, whos technique foundations are built on shapes, this is an extra specially big deal, as you can have the shape but not the sound ifyou're not careful about your technique. And if you don't have the sound, you don't have anything.
A wise man (named Justin Sandercoe, but that's for another day) proclaimed the truth that “practice doesn't make perfect – it makes permanent”. And he was dead right. So for 35 years , Phil has been practicing himself steadily worse. Day by day by day.
So, what can we do to avoid the Phate of Phil? LISTEN. Listen to your chords, play them as arpeggios. Listen to your bends, make sure they're in tune. Listen to your drum machine or metronome. Ifi it doesn't sound good, then STOP doing it, look at what you're doing and chnge it