Tone is really in the ears. I know that may sound funny, but if you don’t know the tone or sound you want aesthetically, what it should sound like, then it’s a lot harder for the hands and fingers to find it. The end part of the process is in the hands, certainly, but that connection between your hands and your heart is really your ears. A lot of experimentation mixed with, hopefully, a good teacher that plays well can be a path to finding your tone or sound. When I was practicing as a kid growing up in Buffalo, I was not afraid to improvise and compose and jump (briefly!) off my studies, simply because I loved the sound of the guitar for its intrinsic aesthetic qualities. I prepared my lesson assignments with absolute seriousness, but my excursions into pure guitar sound were brief—little commentaries on the piece I was playing for my own amusement, or some improv off of the material I was practicing, again, only for the joy of finding the sound I wanted to find at that particular time.
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