20 guitar tips from the pros

11. Find the right guitar for you

“It’s really, really important to pick the right shape and size guitar for yourself. The next thing is your configuration of strings and picks. I prefer Cleartone strings right now, because they use this hybrid alloy to make the strings stay in tune longer, plus they have a cleaner sound. I use Tortex picks which Cleartone make for me at .73 size, which are the yellow ones. You have to remember these are all important factors: things you constantly touch and use to play guitar.” Dave Mustaine, Megadeth

12. Know what you’re soloing over

“Once you’ve developed your bending and vibrato, focus on chord changes. When soloing, make sure you hit the sweet notes at the time one chord goes to the next. It makes it sound like you know what you’re doing, and it gives so much passion and soul to your soloing.” Mark Tremonti, Alter Bridge

13. Be human

“It’s not all about being a great guitar player. Being in a band is like being in a family; you have to learn how to work with people. I’ve met a lot of great musicians over the years who have been complete arseholes that nobody wants to work with. If you want a career in the music business, you need a personality that works well with other people.” Vivian Campbell, Def Leppard

14. Sing what you play

“When you sing, you’re expressing things in your first language. By doing things musically in that way, it’ll help you express things in your second language with your guitar. You’ll start to phrase things as if you’re singing, and you’ll come up with very simple, singable melodies.” Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, Sons Of Apollo

15. Practice, perfect

“It’s about dedication just as much as regular practicing: if you’re serious about becoming better, you practise at least one hour every day, without fail. Not 58 minutes a day or six hours during the weekend. If you really mean it, you’ll play if you have a cold or if you have an exam in the morning, you’ll play no matter what because you have already committed to it. And it’s that commitment that will yield better results. Remember to wash your hands before your play. Your strings will last a lot longer and if you don’t have a lot of money to replace them, that’s a good thing!” Tom Morello, Prophets Of Rage