How To Find Effective Guitar Exercises And Practice Them The Right Way To Become A Killer Guitarist Faster

by Tom Hess

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Finding the right guitar exercises is an important part of your musical progress. Effective exercises help you develop the skills needed to reach your goals and solve the problems that get in the way of your musical progress. Practicing the wrong exercises slows down your musical progress and keeps you frustrated and stuck.

Having the right systems for finding effective guitar exercises is just as important as having effective guitar practice habits.

These steps help you find the right exercises for your musical goals and master them quickly:

STEP 1: Decide Where You Want To Go

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Finding the best guitar exercises starts with setting specific guitar playing goals. There are 4 types of goals:

  • Long-term goals - goals you want to achieve in 12 months or more. They are general skills you must learn (and eventually master) to play guitar the way you want. Long-term goals break down into:
  • Mid-term goals - goals you want to achieve in 3-11 months. Mid-term goals break down into:
  • Short-term goals - goals you want to achieve in less than 3 months. Short-term goals break down into:
  • Micro goals - goals you want to achieve in a single guitar practice session.

Long-term goals feed into your vision: the ultimate skill level you want to achieve as a guitarist and musician. Your vision has many long-term goals that break down into mid-term, short-term and micro goals. 

The exercises you practice must help you achieve micro goals in a way that is congruent with your short, medium and long-term goals. 

How To Find The Best Guitar Exercises

Question: “Tom Hess, how do I set my long-term, mid-term, short-term and micro goals?”

Answer: This is the job an expert guitar teacher must do for you. An expert guitar teacher breaks down your musical vision into goals and keeps you focused on these goals until they are reached. If you take guitar lessons, your teacher must do this for you. (If your teacher can’t or won’t do this, get a new guitar teacher.

If you are self-taught, identify what skills you must learn and master to play guitar the way you want. Then determine your current level of mastery with each skill.

Your guitar exercises must help you close the gap between your existing skills and your desired skills (more on this below).

This eGuide helps you learn to play guitar perfectly, consistently and accurately without mistakes.

STEP 2: Determine Where You Are Right Now

Guitar playing mastery is about closing the gap between your current skill level and your desired skill level. You must determine your skill level gap in all the core areas of guitar playing. These areas include:

  • Lead guitar technique.
  • Rhythm guitar playing (your ability to play rhythm guitar tight, in time and clean).
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  • Fretboard visualization with scales, arpeggios and chords all over the guitar.
  • Aural skills (training your musical ear to hear elements of music theory and know how they sound before you play a single note) .
  • Lead guitar phrasing (your ability to make the notes you are playing sound great).

These skills apply universally to all musical styles.

The Guitar Playing Accelerator makes tracking your musical progress very simple (and fun).

STEP 3: Identify The Fastest Way To Get Where You Want To Go

After you identify your musical weaknesses, look for (or create) guitar practice items that close the gaps in your musical skills most quickly.

A great guitar teacher makes this part of the process very simple. Expert guitar teachers turn general guitar exercises into specific practice items that solve your musical frustrations and accelerate your progress.

This video shows how to customize guitar exercises to solve your specific musical challenges:

Beware of guitar teachers who give you random exercises but don’t explain how they help you overcome your specific guitar playing weaknesses. 

STEP 4: Get The Best Road Maps Possible

Practicing the right guitar exercises isn’t enough to become a great guitar player. You must also practice them in the right order and in the right way. Effective guitar practice schedules are your roadmaps to musical mastery. They help you to:

  • Avoid over practicing some items and under practicing others. This is most important when you have little time to practice guitar. 
  • Manage your mental energy and focus. This ensures that your practice time isn’t wasted and every minute makes you a better guitar player.
  • Improve in many areas of your guitar playing at once.

STEP 5: Track Your Musical Progress Consistently

You must track your progress with every exercise you practice. This tells you:

  1. How well each exercise is helping you close the gaps in your guitar skills and move towards your musical goals.
  2. How close you are to mastering guitar exercises you are practicing.
  3. When it is time to look for new exercises to add into your guitar practice schedule.

Use the steps in this article to find the right guitar practice exercises for yourself and practice them effectively. This ensures rapid and consistent progress in your guitar playing.

This guitar practice eBook helps you play your guitar exercises consistently and reliably without mistakes.

Learn how to accelerate your guitar playing faster than you ever thought possible.

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