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March 16 2016


Behold Guitar Cover by Born of Osiris

Born of Osiris Behold

Behold Guitar Cover - Watch Joshua Voiles, a progressive metal guitarist jam over to "Behold" by Born of Osiris.


Frequently, when crossing the brink from "beginning guitarist" to - "guitar player" - it's natural to glance at the "creative" juices start to flow. You take a moment doodling with your guitar, and suddenly a very good chord progression glides off your fingers, a melody starts to surface, you take note of some lyrics on the tattered legal pad, and invariably, an audio lesson is born.

Maybe you've decided that you're going to write your own personal songs, express your and yourself inner feelings, in support of play original material. That's great! It is a worthy goal, so write on!

When it comes to self expression, guitarists (and musicians generally speaking) often fall into one of the different categories:

 Original Music "Purists"

I am aware musicians that are so adamant about exclusively playing their unique songs that they wouldn't get caught accurate stage with a "cover" song within their portfolio.

 Cover Song Musicians

Jason Richardson guitar cover

We've other friends that play in bands that play nothing but "cover" tunes. They enjoy bringing familiar songs your for a live crowd, and a few get paid well because of it.

 "A Little Bit of Both" Musicians

Seeing that I no longer do long-distance touring, I write a great deal of original songs to pitch to publishers and artists, but in addition play with various local and regional bands that predominately play cover songs. Most musicians I understand fall into this "little little bit of both" category.

Although it's an admirable goal to pursue strictly original material, there are a variety of benefits to learning cover songs that ought to not be neglected.

As we, as humans, certainly are a "sum of our experiences", then we, as musicians, can be a sum of our "musical experiences". Anything that we have ever played, exactly what we have ever heard, all of the little bits and pieces, as well as the full length scores - are all rolled up together into why us each unique as individual musicians.

One could then conclude that, in order to be a better songwriter and broader musician, you need to "learn more cover songs".


Although that theory could possibly be contrary to a songwriting "purist", it makes sense that even the staunchest supporter of the "original material only" path had, at the start of their journey, heard and emulated artists that inspired them previously.

And probably without even realizing it, those "cover" songs have a minimum of had a subconscious impact on their own original music.

Learning cover songs is a superb exercise in expanding your musical vocabulary. What you learn from cover songs possess a way of filtering through and having part of your own personal style.

What you learn from cover songs won't help you as a songwriter, it will likewise have an impact on your guitar playing.

My beginning of learning to play lead guitar were spent hoovering over the turntable while, "stealing licks" from Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Jeff Beck, Robin Trower, Jimmy Page and Clapton. Those early influences continue to have a big impact on my playing style, even decades later.

There are a few neat things that can happen while learning and dissecting cover songs. The experience of finally nailing a challenging lick, the satisfaction of figuring out an inconspicuous chord, the invention of a new chord progression you had not considered before - there are lots of "aha" moments when learning cover songs that will have been missed otherwise.

And all sorts of those moments come up with a conscious, or unconscious, contribution to who you are and what you will become musically.

Quite often, new guitar players shy away from attempting to learn cover songs. There is the thought that songs with a recording are somehow beyond their reach, somehow "un-learnable".

But the truth is that, to get a guitarist that has the fundamentals under their belt, many of the songs in popular music which they aspire to learn are actually comprised of chord progressions and patterns which they already know, or have an understanding of. Many are surprised to learn that it's really not everything difficult to learn them.

It's through this discovery procedure that a new guitar player may start to truly expand their horizons and initiate to progress as musicians by beginning the operation of figuring out how to play cover songs.

So no matter which path you ultimately end up taking, whether it's the pure original songwriting route, the cover song route, or even a combination thereof - keep in mind that spending the time and effort to find out cover songs can be a healthy habit to get into and that the effort can pay off in dividends to you musically for as long as you play guitar.

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