Although learning how to play guitar might be one of the best things that you can do, it becomes somewhat tiresome when every single guitarist that you meet explains what you should and should not be doing. It's as if everyone has forgotten that music is art and that you're supposed to go down the path that you want to.
At the same time, there are so many different myths propagated by countless guitar players, ultimately discouraging beginners to experiment and improve their playing. With all this in mind, we figured we should clear things up and tackle some of these guitar myths that you need to ignore.
1. Music theory takes the soul out of your music
You absolutely need music theory. Well, you can go on without learning it, but you'll definitely have a hard time figuring things out. It's as if you're trying to get into this new language without learning proper grammar rules.
In addition, many would think that music theory would suck the life from anything. This couldn't be farther from the truth as the theory is a great tool that will help you properly express yourself. Just like guitar technique or proper knowledge of making a good tone.
2. You don't need to practice technique if you don't want to be a shredder
And just like mentioned above, the technique is a tool that will help you express yourself better through the guitar. And, of course, playing fast and shredding is not the only thing requiring technique. Guitarists known for playing slow have great control over their playing. And even those known for shredding will tell you that there are definitely some slower lead or rhythm sections that require proper technique and good left and right-hand coordination.
3. I don't need to know much about chords if I want to be a lead player
No. You ABSOLUTELY need to know about chords and chord progressions if you want to be a proper lead guitar player. No matter the genre, if you want to figure things out and play in that particular style of music, whichever it may be, you need to know how chords work and what you can play over them.
4. Heavier strings on electric guitars make bigger tone
Maybe this was somewhat true in the '50s and '60s when it was really difficult for guitar players to have heavier tone and more sustain with guitars and amps that they used back then. While heavier strings might add some tightness in lower tunings, there is often no need to use heavy strings if you want to make your tone bigger.
Just bear in mind that guys like Tony Iommi and Billy Gibbons have really, really light gauge strings. And they both have some really thick and heavy tones.
5. Only true-bypass pedals are good pedals
This is something that's open for discussion, but both true bypass and buffered pedals have their use. While some famous players prefer to have only true bypass stompboxes, the buffered pedals also have their purpose in the signal chain. Of course, this is a discussion on its own and would require an entire article to explain.
6. Analog is always better than digital
There are major differences in how analog and digital pedals process the tone. However, the digital has gone really far and has even managed to replicate tones and dynamic response of tube amps. So never underestimate digital pedals and other processing units.
7. You need more gain for a heavier tone
Not rarely will you see a metal guitar player trying to sound heavier by pushing the gain knob to the max and scooping all the mids. The heaviness in tone depends on various different factors and just adding more gain on your distortion pedal might even give the opposite effect and make you sound too blurry and undefined.
8. You can't play guitar if you have small hands
This is pretty weird to assume. Especially nowadays when you even have special guitars with necks designed for kid-size hands. Yes, longer fingers can be somewhat of an advantage, but that doesn't mean those with smaller hands won't be able to play well.
9. Single-coil pickups can't sound heavy
Oh, they sure can. Just check out Yngwie Malmsteen and heavy riff parts in his songs – they're all played on Fender Stratocasters with single coils. And Jimmy Page recorded the first Led Zeppelin album on a Telecaster with single-coils and it sounds pretty heavy.
10. This particular guitar brand is not good for this particular genre
In this day and age, we've literally seen any kind of guitar used for any kind of genre. An LTD guitar with active EMG pickups designed for metal? You can easily play jazz on it and try and make your own tones. Also, Gibson Les Pauls were originally designed for jazz and blues, and yet you see countless metal players blasting some of the heaviest riffs on them. Not to mention that you'll often find the same exact model of Gibson SG being used by a jazz musician, a blues-rock musician, and a thrash metal musician.