Ask Alexx: Study Tips

Alexx Calise - Photo by Anabel DFlux

As seen in
Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 22 – Winter 2022

Dear Alexx,

Any tips you can share with other musicians out there? Which players should guitarists study and learn their licks from?

~ Šaćir Čamo

Dear Šaćir,

I’ll give you one simple tip that B.B. King once gave to me when I interviewed him many years ago: practice and learn your instrument as best as you can. It sounds like a complete no-brainer, but he was so right. Practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to be good at anything right out of the gate without putting in the time and effort. You’ve got to bleed a little and earn your stripes.

The great thing about learning how to play now is that there are so many great resources where you can learn licks, scales, or better techniques. There’s TrueFire, Udemy, Coursera, Fender Play, YouTube… the list goes on and on! I like taking lessons from someone in-person because it forces me to be accountable and to show up every week, but that doesn’t work for everyone. There are plenty of amazing courses you can take online at your leisure, from Steve Stein, Tim Pierce, Marty Schwartz, and a wealth of other great guitar teachers.

If you want to learn a specific song you like, just type the name of it on Google or YouTube, and you’ll likely find some tablature or a video showing you how to play it. Jamming with other people is a great way for you to learn improvisation and communication with other musicians.

Another thing you should do when you start getting more comfortable and confident with your instrument is to play out as much as you can — it’ll help you to develop better stage presence and live chops, and you’ll learn what to do when things inevitably go wrong at some point on stage.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to become a good guitarist, it’s important to learn the fretboard, your scales, and a bit of theory. Take the time to listen to the greats – -every genre has its guitar icons, and there’s something to learn from all of them! Just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start small and gradually work your way up. Whether it’s a lick, an intro, or a new scale, it’s all building toward your goal. Carve out a few minutes each day to just play or learn something new, and before you know it, you’ll be shredding like nobody’s business.

~ Alexx Calise