Ideas, Technique, Show, the Fretboard and the Kitchen Sink!

This column will hopefully give you ideas about different ways to
approach the guitar.

The first thing to do is to just sit in a chair and look at your guitar. Don't just stare, but look - how many frets does it have (and how many do you use?), what color is it, what outfits do you have that match it?

The second thing to do is to pick it up, strum it, pick it, bust out a
slide and just practice. There is a really easy way to do this (very
painless). Take your guitar (unplugged electric works best) and sit on
the couch and watch TV or a movie and play along, or just play anything - it doesn't matter. You may not notice any difference after watching the Star Wars Trilogy, but it becomes second nature after a while.

The third thing to do is listen to one Hendrix album over and over (like four or five times in a row) while doing something else. Then when you're all pumped up, go pick up your guitar and play your heart out.

The fourth thing to do is to play your guitar behind your back, jumping around, rolling around on the ground, etc.

The fifth thing to do is to play with your other hand (if you're right
handed, turn your guitar upside down and backwards and play with your left hand - if you're left handed, then make it 'right handed'). This really makes you think - use your thumb, etc. It's kind of awkward at first, but it's just like when you first started out with your other hand (at least it's that way with me). This makes you think more about playing chords and single-string solos. It actually forces you really think about the guitar--it's very helpful.

The sixth thing to is to get as good playing left handed as you are
playing right handed. Just practice, practice, practice, practice!

The seventh thing to do is to make fun of punk and ska, listen to
instrumental and classical music--as well as classic rock, some soul,
old school rap, the blues, jazz and whatever else actually involves a
combination of talent and skill (both of which I have yet to hear or see in any punk or ska band--I have friends in some and that's all everyone seems to listen to--what's this world coming to?)

Jason Pruett is a guitarist from Antioch, California dedicated to the improvisational approach to guitar playing.

He plays bass, acoustic and electric guitar and lists among his many influences: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Joe Satriani.

Jason Pruett