Guitarist magazine asked GT editor Nev for his own personal tips on playing. Here are the first two...
You think it’s your picking hand that’s sloppy; I bet it's your fretting fingers!
You think your poor hand-to-hand co-ordination is down to bad picking technique, yet it’s more likely to be the fretting fingers at fault. I bet you can tremolo-pick one note on one string with supreme accuracy – so there’s nothing inherently wrong with your picking hand. True, playing from string to string is trickier, but that’s just practice. Test your fretting hand by pulling off your fourth, third, second and first fingers from adjacent frets on the first string – quite fast. Do it repeatedly and check how ‘in time’ your fingers are (or aren’t). I bet you’ll find it’s here where you need to do the work.
Tap your feet, move your body.
Many players just can’t keep in time, yet so often they stand like a statue, not tapping their feet or moving in sync with the music. If you’re sitting down and strumming, imagine there’s an invisible steel rod between your strumming wrist and corresponding foot – so when you strum you tap, and when you tap you strum. Now get your body swaying in rhythm and then try going out of time; it’s all but impossible.