The #1 Thing Every Guitarist Needs to Know (if they want to play well with others in most band situations)

I posed this question on our Facebook page recently and got some interesting answers, all of which we will address in future posts. Most of what people posted were, interestingly, what I would call “soft skills.” In other words, skills related to interaction and connections within the band context. I agree that collaborative skills, personal responsibility, and commitment, being present and aware, etc. are all important things. In fact, regardless of playing skills, these may be some of the most important things to keep bands together and make bands stay together and grow together. However, I thin there are also some basic concepts, information and skills that also need to be present. That is what I want to address now, and I want to begin with something that I learned about after being in the business for several years. When I learned it, I initially discounted the importance of it, partly because I just assumed that this all of this may be self-evident to some extent—at least in the blues world where I first started. As my connections and opportunities expanded though, I found myself in other situations where knowledge of the concept I am going to address became essential and its importance and implications clearer, and I also discovered that I was missing some important pieces in the beginning and learning about those pieces opened a path forward that I didn’t know existed.

So, in this video I address one of the key things I see as foundational and also a doorway in many ways to understanding and applying many other concepts and skills—especially related to a working knowledge of music theory—especially awareness of modes, alternate chord voicings and inversions, creative rhythm, and soloing techniques etc.

The concept is the Nashville Number System. Check out this VIDEO for more details on this concept, ways to apply and use the information and knowledge, tips and tricks for applying the concept in understanding jazz, pop and country chord progressions, finding common tones for soloing, using creating and efficient chord shapes for creative comping and rhythm playing, etc.

Let us know in the comments what you see as the #1 thing or things all guitarists need to know for success in bands.

Mark Zanoni

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