Keep the Distortion Down

If you’re playing the electric guitar using an amplifier, beginners often turn up the distortion to an obscenely high level. It sounds cool and also has the added benefit of masking any errors you’re making.

This however can be counter-productive. Don’t get me wrong; it’s definitely important to practice with distortion as well. It’s just that I personally find it’s good to start with a clean sound.

I like to start by turning down the distortion. I practice the song over and over until I can play the riff at a standard I’m happy with. Only then do I go ahead and turn up the distortion.

Playing with distortion is a whole new ball game. You’ll notice that there are various things that hadn’t mattered while playing without distortion. For example you may find that you haven’t been muting a string properly, and that it’s ringing in the background. Whatever the case is, you’ll most likely have something you need to correct.

Practicing in this way ensures that you don’t become a messy player. You’ll also notice that your technique, such as hammer ons and pull offs will improve significantly as you’re no longer relying on the distortion to amplify the weak sounds you were producing.

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