Practicing Dynamics

Dynamics are how loud/soft you play. A good idea is to work in dynamics as a part of your practice routine as they can make all the difference in the world in terms of developing your feel.

A good idea is to think of 3 big dynamic levels: loud, medium and quiet. What you want to do is over exaggerate what section you’re on. When you practice loud, really hit the strings hard. You’ll notice it’s a bit harder to control, hence why we’re practicing it! When you’re practicing quiet, try to get as quiet as you can. Medium, there’s no way to over exaggerate it, other than playing VERY medium. 🙂 The medium will sound emphasized when paired with the other two extremes: very loud, very quiet.

It’s natural to want to slow down when you play quiet or speed up when you’re playing loud. Don’t. This is why we have to put it in our practice routine. Going between those three extreme dynamic level while keeping the tempo conisistent is tricky, but will make all the difference in developing a personality in your playing and giving your rhythm and lead guitar more of a voice.

Ways to Practice Dynamics

With your chord progression, say C – E7 – Am – G start quiet on the C (VERY quiet), get loud on the E7 (VERY loud), have the Am quiet again (VERY quiet) and G loud again (VERY loud).

Next try smoothening out the dynamic level, can you go from a quiet C to a loud E7, building up during your rhythm? How about going from a loud E7 to a quiet Am gradually going down in your dyanmic level? All while keeping good time?! This is harder than it sounds!

Scales are the same way, let’s just take our Minor Pentatonic Scale. Can you ascend the scale very quiet (and I do mean VERY quiet), then descend the scale very loud? How about ascending loud and descending quiet? Then move into the “gradually” par;, can you start very quiet on the 6th string and be at your loudest by the 1st string? How about starting from your quietest at the 6th string and getting to your loudest by the 3rd string? Try giving yourself different goals of where you’ll be loud vs. quiet.

In Use
If we speak a sentence, say “Practicing dynamics is super duper cool” you’ll notice each syllable has it’s own space in the sentence and has a bit of a different dynamic level. Certain syllables might be emphasized to make more of a point, “PRACTICING dynamics is super duper cool” has a different feel then “Practice dynamics is SUPER duper cool”. Each one is saying the same thing, but treating each word or each syllable different, with it’s own nuance makes the sentence come alive. Think of the same thing with your lead and rhythm playing. Add dynamics to make it come alive.

Plus practicing dynamics is super duper cool. 🙂