One thing I have been thinking about lately, is that humans are emotional creatures and respond to almost anything that seems to come from the heart. If this statement is true, we need to be putting as much emotion as we can pour out into our guitar playing to get a response from the listener.

Here’s a list of some basic emotions everyone feels










Now I bet you can remember back at some point in your life when you felt all of these emotions.  If not, well then I can’t help you and you need some deeper treatment. :)

Now travel back in time to a specific occurrence using each one of these emotions.  I’m sure you can do this.  You can actually feel that emotion right?  You should if you’re really trying to do this.

Now the point is this.

Before you begin playing your guitar, ( NOT PRACTICING, PLAYING! THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! ) start by thinking about at least  a couple of these emotions and that time in your life when you felt them.


Close Your Eyes.

Stay in that moment for just a bit and really FEEL that emotion.


Close Your Eyes

Think of the second emotion and really FEEL that one as well.

Now is the time when you will need to balance yourself out by thinking of what you want to play, balanced by the emotion that you feel.  A nice blend of both is the state you want to be in.

Start playing and let YOUR emotions guide you.

If you’re constantly thinking about how well you’re playing, if your notes are correct, or any number of technical things while you’re PLAYING NOT PRACTICING WE COVERED THIS EARLIER, your blues guitar playing will never sound that good really.

Why do you think certain guitar players are just more exciting to listen to?

Because they are connecting with you on an emotional level.  There are legions of very technically superior guitarists out there, so why are Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, SRV, Hendrix and many more still seen as the TOP guitarists in this realm.  Well, I think that for one, they put every emotion into every single note they played.

They didn’t just play it, they felt it.

Try doing this exercise and see what happens, and if you don’t feel like it’s helping the first few times, keep doing it.

Technical ability should not be overlooked, but it can’t be the sole focus on what and how you play.

I think Duane is “Feelin it” in this photo.  Do you?


Photo courtesy of Eddie Berman


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  1. Right on the money John!! I love and constantly get this comment : ” You make the best guitar faces bro” or something like that. I know right then and there that the emotional connection was made! Its always a great moment for any guitar player!

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