How many styles of guitar playing do you need to be able to play well in order to be a good guitarist?
The answer is simple: Just 1 – the style you want to be able to play well.
It’s a common misconception that in order to be a good guitar player you’ve got to be able to play a bit of everything well.
This just isn’t true.
Something I’m asked quite a lot by students is “would it help for me to learn that style, too?”
When I ask rock, metal and blues players why they feel they need to learn jazz, fusion, folk and classical styles, they generally give the following answers:
“Well, I was watching a video by such and such the other day – they said it’s a good idea for guitarists to know how to do XYZ.”
“I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a bunch of guys who were playing lots of different styles – I thought maybe that’s what I need to do in order to be good.”
“Well, such and such guitar player said XYZ style is the most technical – I thought I’d have to know how to play it in order to be any good.”
There are too many guitar playing styles out there for me to list, if you try to learn a bit of all of them – you’re going to waste your time.
Instead, it’s better to focus your attention on the MAIN style you want to be able to play well.
If it’s hard rock, it might not mean you can play over jazz chord changes – but you’re going to be able to play what you want well and that’s most important.
Zakk Wylde might not be able to solo over chord changes like Pat Metheny can, but let’s see Pat Metheny replicate Zakk Wylde’s bending and vibrato.
Look, some people want to be able to play multiple styles well and that’s fine. All I’m saying is if you just want to be really good at metal, don’t let people tell you you need to go learn jazz.
As a disclaimer – I’m fully aware some styles are hybrids of multiple styles, like blues rock for example. But I’d still only count these hybrids as one style.