"10 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Playing"
of the most frustrating aspects of playing guitar is when you reach the
point where you are not improving. Whether you are a novice or a
seasoned musician, we all face the same problem and ask the question,
"Why am I not at the level I want to be and how can I get there?"
add insult to injury, we see our guitar heroes in magazines and on T.V.
everyday and it seems as if they are constantly inventing new tricks
and improving their skills. When we read about them in Guitar World to
try to emulate their skills and learn their tricks only to leave more
confused. Becoming the ultimate guitarist is far harder than it looks.
what is the key to success? While there is no one answer that can solve
everyone's problem, there are a number of concepts and theories that
can help you break through the barrier that keeps you from reaching
your full potential.
one thing that you need to realize is that you don't need to be a
genius to become a great guitarist. The two key things you need to have
in your possession are interest and commitment. You'll never meet a
great guitarist who isn't passionate about music. They didn't get to
the level that they are at by being apathetic and lazy. They took the
initiative to go out and try to learn something new.
guitarist who dares to challenge himself takes the risk of failing.
This is where many musicians lose their battle with low self-esteem and
quit. It's not that they didn't take the risk, rather, that they failed
and couldn't pick themselves up again. If you realize that failure is a
part of growth and that it takes many jam sessions to get some tricks
down, you have just acquired the first skill you will need to become
the ultimate guitarist.
have compiled a list of concepts that I believe every guitarist should
try out. Unlike other articles you will read, these short and simple
steps ask you to do, rather that simply read. Thoughts and attitude are
important but in the end it's what you do that counts to your audience.
get started with the top ten things you can do to obtain maximum
results as a guitarist.
10 tips for success...
something new - Educating yourself is the first step to becoming a
better guitarist. Whether you choose to believe it or not, there's
always something new to learn and master. If you are currently studying
music in a conservatory, at school, or in college, you will find that
learning will come more easier to you. If not, I highly recommend that
you get in a program. While I believe in teaching yourself, I also know
from first hand experience that motivation and encouragement from a
teacher is priceless. Once you conquer the subject that you were
learning, push yourself to learn something that you're not quite
comfortable with. Learning within your comfort zone often results with
you running around in circles.
your time count - Practicing does not make perfect, it makes permanent.
That makes the time you spend playing your guitar all the more
important. Don't waste your time fiddling around on your guitar. Dig in
and learn something that will aid you on your quest for musical
success. Set goals and work towards achieving them. Whether it's
technique, tricks, or a new song, you can become better just by using
your time more wisely.
to more music - The more music that you are exposed to, the better
guitarist you will become. Listen to the bands that you enjoy most and
draw inspiration from them. Take note of what the musicians are doing
in their songs and make a list of the techniques you want to learn.
This can be the motivating force that gets you to play your guitar more
yourself with excellence - When you play your guitar with people who
are better guitarists, you not only learn from them but feel motivated
to push yourself to keep up. At first this idea seems obscure. Why
would you expose yourself to that kind of stress? Let's face it, if
there's one thing that will make you get motivated quickly it's the
fact that people are counting on you. Don't play with musicians who are
arrogant and rude. Embarrassment doesn't foster self-esteem and will
only get you down. The people you want to learn from are patient and
understanding. Eventually you will find yourself at their level. It
happens faster than you might think.
yourself what will you do when you obtain the skills you want - What do
you want to do with what you learn? Perhaps you want to make a CD or
join a band and play at some local venues. Start planning for it now
and use what you currently have. This ties into setting goals but is
not to be underestimated. Knowing how you want to use your talent is
important. Create a vision and use goals to act on it. Whether you want
to play for others, or to the wall in your bedroom, the choice is yours.
someone how to play guitar - To teach is to learn. If the only chord
you know how to play is a G chord, show someone that. Why? Because it
reaffirms what you know and solidifies your knowledge. I can tell you
from personal experience that I have learned more through teaching than
I ever learned through being taught. It forces you out of your comfort
zone and when questions are asked, you need to know the answer. I'm a
firm believer that anyone can teach someone something if they want to.
Give it a shot and see the results for yourself.
in your ability - Yes, I know how cliché this sounds.
However, you need to hear it. You can do anything you put your mind to
and if you choose to play guitar well, chubby fingers or not, you can!
Don't listen to what others say and be true to yourself. This can be
hard seeing as we live in a critical society that doesn't realize how
much words can hurt. Keep at it and surround yourself with supportive
people. More of a life lesson than a guitar lesson, but as far as I'm
concerned music is intertwined with daily living.
are incomparable - In case you haven't picked up the hint yet, you are
the ultimate guitarist. There is no one like you and there will never
be anyone who even comes remotely close to being like you. Integrate
who you are into your music and you will never have a shortage of
material. Your music will soon form into your own tone and style.
what worked for others - Whether you research your favorite guitarist
or talk to your guitar teacher, ask others what worked for them. I
don't claim to know all the answers but when everyone puts their heads
together, some really neat ideas start to flow. Networking allows you
to give and receive at the same time.
your weakness - We all know where we lack the most in the guitar realm.
For me it's in technique and finger picking, for others it's something
different. Whatever it is, don't ignore it while enjoying your recent
victory. Keep attacking your weak points and you'll soon see
improvement. The secret is that you never stop seeing problems and you
continually get better over time. You'll never be stuck without
something to do. Take out a sheet of paper and write them down. Then
find the resources you need to help you destroy them. It's not unlike a
war, but in the end you always win.
believe the popular myths.
may be surprised to hear that a lot of the common advice distributed
amongst guitarists couldn't be farther from the truth. There are myths
and tokens of advice that get passed along and guitarists like yourself
use them. Try as hard as you like, but you'll end up realizing that
what meets you at the end of the road is failure.
avoid that, let's look at some of the most common myths floating around:
good players can play all styles - While great in theory, it
doesn't work out in practice. Throughout the history of this
newsletter, I have consistently pushed trying various genres of music
and becoming a more cultured guitarist. However, no where will you ever
hear me, or any other teacher, say that you should be able to master
all of them.
fact is that it takes a lifetime to master one style. Some take up two
genres that mix well together, such as blues and rock, but those genres
are the exceptions. You will never hear a neoclassical shred guitarist
play country. Many jazz musicians take decades to perfect their craft
and even then they still see areas that need improvement.
you want to be a great guitarist, take the genre and style that you're
passionate about and focus on it. Don't get distracted with other
music. Your guitar heroes are heroes because they mastered a genre.
Very few will ever play outside of their specialty and that's just the
either have "it" or you don't - Let's face it, some
understand music more easily than others. That doesn't mean that you
can't be as good as them. Everyone can play guitar, it just depends on
the effort and time you want to put in. There are dozens of specialties
within music and no one knows all of them from the time they are born.
Perfect pitch is developed, as is technique and originality. Look at
where you started from as opposed to where you are now. Would you say
that you are just as original as you were when you first picked up the
guitar? I know I'm not. While things may come easier to others,
remember that we all have our own struggles within music and that we
are in it together.
sound good, you need the best gear - The best gear is nice,
and yes, you do sound better. However, it's unnecessary for those who
aren't interested in professional music or are just starting out.
Beginners love to see the rack of guitars at their local music store
and say, "I want the $2000 one." That was me for years but the truth is
that a guitar of that caliber is useless to someone who can't play it.
Learn on something modest and work your way up. Not only will the
experience be more rewarding, it's also nicer on the instrument and
your self-confidence. In the end, the guitar is only as good as the
person who plays it.
have heard crappy guitars sound half-decent when played by someone who
knew what they were doing. The same applies to you. For those who can
afford $5000 guitars, my advice is go for it. For the rest of us, I say
save your money and work towards being the ultimate guitarist. Think
about it, if you sound good on a crummy guitar, how much better will
you sound on something that can really produce a good tone?
need to be the most talented to succeed- All too often, as
mentioned above, we tend to compare ourselves to others. The ultimate
guitarist is you meeting your goals and making progress. There will
always be others who sound better in certain areas but who cares? Be
the person you want to be and music will be far more enjoyable. Success
is measured on a personal level, not n how many CD's you sell. The
famous musicians in today's society often find themselves wishing they
weren't so pressured by record labels. They want to be in your shoes
where they have the choice to do what they want to do. Enjoy yourself
and the rest will fall into place.
raps up yet another edition of our Guitar Tips newsletter. We hope that
you took something away from this article that will aid you in reaching
comparing yourself to other people only results in disaster. Be
yourself and continue to work towards achieving the best you can be.
When you're at that point you have become the ultimate guitarist.
Until next time, keep on picking.
Hosted By Mike Hayes, Creator
Of Express Guitar™ Accelerated Learning System
A step-by-step method for mastering guitar chords, guitar scales,
to read tablature, complete with video lessons, jam tracks, over
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information please visit