When we start learning the guitar, we are usually overwhelmed by the massive amount of techniques we have to learn. There are chords, bar chords, alternate picking, sweep picking, economy picking, chicken picking not to mention getting the left and right hands to take notice of what the other hand is doing! It’s a brain overload!
Luckily there is one technique that comes naturally to all guitar players, we don’t even need to practice it, although practice does make perfect! So, what is this mysterious technique I hear you gasp…. well, it’s The Gurn. Also known as facial gymnastics. Whatever guitar you play, Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Suhr, Jackson or any other brand of electric guitar, The Gurn is a valuable tool for any guitarist!
For a beginner it usually starts as a look of extreme concentration and is often accompanied by heavy sweating and possibly even a spot of drooling. As you get better at playing the guitar, your Gurn will improve, you will know when to use it and when not to, similar to leaving space in a good blues solo (blues is definitely the platform to start your gurning journey, a well placed Gurn can turn a dreary half a tone bend into a thing of beauty!). The Gurn goes very well with another technique that is much harder to master, 'Feel'. The more Feel you have, the better the Gurn, this is why blues players are masters of the technique. Just think of your face as an extension of the note and go with the flow, even the smallest lip tremor can add some magic too your solos.
The Gurn is not just for the Bluesers though, a good Metal Gurn can be a frightening thing to behold and a good Jazzer Gurn can leave the listener feeling melancholy and depressed for at least a week. Combine your Jazz Gurn with a good pair of cords and some leather patches on your elbows and you can't go wrong!
The great news for aspiring Gurners is the technique can be practiced anywhere even when you don't have your guitar (depending on how confident you are, even at the bus stop!).
The Gurners best friend.
If you find your Gurn isn't quite good enough or you are lacking in Gurn inspiration, don't worry there is hope. Get yourself down to Sounds Great Music and buy a wah pedal! Any wah pedal is guaranteed to help your inner gurn to emerge… Just try playing the intro to Voodoo Chile without an awe inspiring Gurn, it's impossible!
So, fellow guitarists, set your Gurn free! Be one with your Gurn and bring peace and harmony to the world of guitar playing!