5 Top Tips for Guitarists by Josh Smith

On March 26th 2019, ICMP shared an interview with Josh Smith. Below are 5 top tips from the interview that really stand out:

Top Tips

1. Listen to all types of Music

2. Find your own Voice

3. Be the Hardest Worker

4. Keep your Gear in Good Shape

5. Be a Good Dude

1. Listen to All Types of Music

“Some advice that I would have given my younger self would be: from that very young age, to start listening to more music”.

“Listen to more Pop music, listen to World music, listen to African music, listen to Latin music. And start listening more open-mindedly”.

Josh Smith

Listening to all types of music feeds our curiosity and allows us to discover new sounds. Finding new music is like finding new colours, textures, and shapes to work with. Music is an adventure. Go explore. You don’t have to like it all, but there’ll always be inspiration in other music that you can stir into your own pot of influence.

2. Find Your Own Voice

“I’ve consciously tried to find my own voice – that’s always been number one”.

“I became obsessed with finding this personal voice”.

Josh Smith

When we start out, it’s important to emulate our favourites. To learn from them. To absorb as much as we can from them. But at some point, we need to start being ourselves. To start sounding like ourselves. If we really want to create something unique in the world of music, we have to find that voice that lives deep within us. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing, it just has to be you. Honesty and truth speak far louder in a poor performance than fakery in a good one. When you express yourself in your own unique voice, people connect with your message. Combine all of your influences, and start creating your own voice.

3. Be the Hardest Worker

“As far as what separates me now from the other blues people of my generation, I like to think, possibly, it’s the hard work”.

“I know that I’m probably the only one staying up in my room after a gig on the road, shedding moments notice”.

Josh Smith

To really get good on the guitar, you have to put the time in. There’s absolutely no replacement for turning up and putting your fingers to work on the fretboard. Doing takes you far further than thinking. But you need to enjoy it. If you don’t already enjoy it, you’ll need to learn to enjoy it. Start by learning music and songs that really inspire and excite you. Make sure your level of playing matches the level of music you’re learning. Leave the rest to one side. Play every day, even if just for a few minutes. Consistency trumps all.

4. Take Care of Your Gear

“Have your guitars in good shape. Get your intonation squared away. Don’t have fret buzz. Get your guitar set up properly”.

Josh Smith

Take care of your gear. Make sure it all plays and sounds good to you. The tone and the feel of your instrument, pedals and amp has a huge influence over how you feel whilst you’re playing. When you’re connected to the tone and the feel of your gear, you just play better and sound better.

5. Be a Good Dude

“Be a good dude. Be on time. Be responsible. Be the guy that people want to be around”.

“Just because you’re a great musician, is not enough”.

Josh Smith

Be nice. Be reliable. Always do your best. People want to work with good people. People want to be in bands with good people. People want to be taught by good people. Look after yourself on a personal level, because how you feel day to day determines how you act day to day.


  1. Quotes taken from video by ICMP – London