Question: What is the best way to master a technique that you can’t get a hold of despite the hours and hours of practicing?

Tom Hess's Answer: First you need to analyze what is giving you the most trouble (why is it not sounding the way you want to?). Then you need to isolate the trouble spots and slow them down more and more, until you begin to see the cause of the problem. Look at your picking hand first and analyze its motions. Then do the same for the fretting hand. Then also think about coordination (of the two hands). Is there a problem with extra string noise? Is it a problem of playing in time? Is there too much tension in your hands (and/or the rest of the body)? Etc… Asking yourself these questions will help you to get to the root of the problem and fix it in the shortest amount of time.

The good news is that all playing problems don’t “just happen”. They all have a cause. If you cannot get to the answer (of what the cause of the problem is), find someone who can help you who is a master of the specific technique you want to learn and who has taught others to master it as well. The fastest way to overcome any musical challenge is to work with an expert guitar teacher. As you may know I teach online guitar lessons.


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