Ben Wells Top 10 Tips

Black Stone Cherry's Ben Wells cherry-picks his top 10 tips to help keep your guitar playing sharp…

1. Be determined

I would say this is a big one, simply because without it you’re not getting anywhere. You have to push yourself when you feel like giving up. You have to be determined to learn that certain solo or riff. When you set your mind to playing the guitar, it’ll soon become second nature and your level of determination will increase!

2. Have patience

It took me a minute to understand and come to grips with this one. When I first started playing, I thought I would learn everything I wanted to in a few days. I thought I could learn a whole song (all parts) in one day. I was quickly reminded that when just starting out, that’s not the case. It wasn’t for me anyway. Patience is a MUST when learning something new. With the guitar, you have to pace yourself and understand it’s okay to learn at your own speed.

3. Practise

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This is also a big MUST! Practise, practise! When you first start to play the guitar, your fingers are gonna hurt! Don’t stop there. You have to keep going until they toughen up and get used to the texture of the guitar strings and moving in different ways. You have to be disciplined and give yourself ample time each day to learn your craft. Start out with 30 minutes a day, then increase it. Soon, it won’t even feel like practice.

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4. Always keep a guitar in sight 

I’ve learned that when a guitar is tucked away, it can quickly become a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. If you can keep a guitar in a stand, or somewhere nearby, then you’ll be more inclined to pick it up and play it instead of sitting and watching TV.

5. Establish goals

Set some goals for yourself. Be realistic. Don’t expect to learn all of Stairway To Heaven in 10 minutes. Give yourself something to work up to, and once you accomplish those little goals, it’ll make you feel proud of what you’re doing. Like you’re getting somewhere instead of just playing in circles.

6. Love the guitar

You have to love the guitar. Or any instrument you play for that matter. If you don’t feel a connection with your instrument, then what good is it doing you? Or what good are you doing it? Learn to love the guitar for what it is and what it can do

7. Be inventive 

One cool thing I love about the guitar is that it’ll do many things! So many different tunings and sounds. Be inventive. Have fun with it! Explore some new tunings. Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut playing in the same key or same tuning. Drop it down, open tune it, do whatever you wanna do! It’s there for you to enjoy!

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8. Explore different guitars 

I firmly believe that each guitar has its own personality. I think it’s important to play all types of guitars. You will play different on an acoustic vs an electric. Or, on a Gibson Les Paul vs a Fender Telecaster or Gretsch. It’s just the nature of the instrument. Explore some different models and how they make you play. I guarantee it’ll bring out the better player in you!

9. Listen to others 

Don’t be afraid to listen to others for influence. There are so many iconic guitarists in this world, so there are plenty to choose from! Get inspired. Listen to different techniques. Don’t listen to only rock guitarists. Listen to blues. Jazz. Country. Rockabilly. Take it all in.

10. Be yourself

This could possibly be one of the most important ones. Mainly because it’s important for you to always be yourself. Let your personality come out of the guitar. It’s great to influenced by others, like I mentioned before, but don’t copy exactly what someone else does. Remember, before Hendrix there was no Hendrix. Before Jimmy Page there was no Jimmy Page. Develop your own style at your own speed.

Check out Black Stone Cherry’s latest single “In Our Dreams” here:

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