Playing guitar is so much more than just your skill and your technique. It’s a hobby with all kinds of dimensions. There are people who are mediocre guitar players, but who find all the gear so interesting that they spend most of their time collecting and enjoying different guitars, pickups, amps and everything in between. Aside from building your playing skills, you need to build knowledge that isn’t necessarily related to the theory of music.
Every guitar player needs to know certain things about his instrument, his gear, and how to properly maintain them. After all, your guitar and your amp are just machines that need to be in good shape if you want the best results. We’ve compiled a list of 8 non-musical things every guitarist out there must know, and some of the things we’re going to mention may come as news to you. Let’s dig right in.
Establish a good relationship with your guitar store
Look, you’re playing guitars, they sell/fix/equip guitars. It’s a good idea to have a good working relationship with your local guitar store because you will need them. Maybe not too often, but you will. And when that happens, you will want to know that your gear is being handled by a familiar face who knows you. Being on good terms with them also brings other benefits as well. You can expect better prices or even special deals in some cases, depending on how well you know the people at the store.
Have a ready-to-go gig bag
For those who gig a lot, relying on the venue to supply everything is risky at best, even if that is what the contract states. Instead of trusting people you’ve probably never met in your life, you can prevent any kind of unnecessary incidents by simply being prepared. Have a gig bag that is filled with everything you might need on and off the stage, with redundancies if possible. Do you have a large pedalboard? Bring spare cables and power supplies (unless you have a dedicated one). What you’ll pack in this bag depends completely on what gear you’re running. Either way, it’s better to be prepared than being caught in between a rock and a hard place.
Learn how to properly wrap your cables
It seems that every guitar player has their own way of wrapping the cables. However, there are only so many ways to wrap a cable that won’t damage it in the long run. The best and most practical way to wrap a cable is to hold it with one hand and create loops with the other by bringing the cable from the top. Next time you bring loop the cable, come from the bottom so that it forms a natural loop, and then you alternate between these two. By the end, you should have a perfectly wrapped cable.
Wear hearing protection
No matter how much we love it when the amps start pushing out tonnes of power if you expose yourself to this kind of environment you’re running a risk of damaging your hearing. If you gig often, invest some money into a good set of earplugs. There are plugs on the market that will lower the volume your ears are exposed to but retain the majority of the sound. You won’t notice your hearing going out in a year or two, but it is something that can happen down the road.
Have a defined path
Some of us are lucky enough to dedicate our lives to music and make a living by doing what we love most. The better you are in terms of skills, more people will hear about you. As you slowly climb the ladder within the community, you will be prompted to join all kinds of projects and bands. It’s imperative that you don’t stretch your time and your talent too wide. Pick and choose who will get your attention, and don’t waste your time on something you don’t truly believe in. Some of these offers might sound tempting, but just try to approach the situation at hand from a third perspective and lay out the pros and cons. Conserve your creativity and energy.
Watch out for shady companies and individuals
The world is not a perfect place. Just like it’s the case with almost any other industry, there will be people who will try to take advantage of you or scam money from you. You need to be aware of such people and recognize a deal that is too good to be true. Especially when you are expected to “invest” in their scheme. They will promise you all kinds of things, but really, if it sounds too good it probably is too good. No one became famous overnight, neither should you.
Be modest but don’t underestimate your skills
No one likes a person who brags about their skill or equipment. Such people almost always have some kind of insecurity or something to prove to the world. Unfortunately, the world of guitars is full of people with large egos that get easily bruised. Don’t be like that. Don’t be the guy everyone is full of, and want nothing to do with. Be modest, but don’t underestimate your skills. If you are good let the world know, but do it with style.
Understand that creativity requires a balance of work and rest
We would all be happy if we could play guitar all day long, and create sick riffs for hours on end. That’s not how things work. If you try to force yourself to play guitar for a whole day, by the time you’re finished you’ll be sick of that instrument. Creativity comes with spurts of inspiration, and inspiration requires you to expose yourself to different environments and situations.If you force it, you might catch yourself treating your practice sessions at work. You don’t want that to happen. The moment playing guitar becomes a chore for you, you’re already in a wrong place.