Many guitar players ask incomplete questions that are damaging to their musical progress. These questions come from false assumptions and conventional wisdom that is often wrong and misleading. Asking these questions will keep you from identifying the true causes of your guitar playing problems and slow progress.
Here are 5 examples of the most common (incomplete) questions guitarists ask and what you should be asking instead to maximize your guitar playing progress:
Common Guitar Playing Question #1: How Do I Increase My Guitar Speed?
Guitar speed is a result of mastering MANY guitar technique elements that make fast playing possible. Until you master all of them, playing guitar fast will be difficult.
The complete question you should be asking is: “What elements of my technique are holding back my guitar speed and how do I master them to make fast playing effortless?”
Hint: learning to move your hands/fingers faster is typically not the answer to increasing guitar speed.
A common example of a guitar technique flaw that makes fast guitar playing impossible is poor control of excessive tension. Watch the video on the right where I help one of my online guitar students identify and release excess tension that prevents him from playing guitar fast:
To learn all the other elements that go into building guitar speed, download this eGuide about learning to shred on guitar.
Common Guitar Playing Question #2: Where Can I Find Cool Guitar Licks To Play In My Guitar Solos?
The false premise of this question is that playing great guitar solos is all about what notes you play in your guitar licks. Fact is: you can create amazing guitar licks and solos simply by learning how to play all the guitar solo ideas you know in more creative and expressive ways. Focus on mastering your guitar phrasing and you will never have a shortage of amazing musical ideas to play in your guitar solos.
Here are just a few ways you can do this:
Create a short guitar lick and practice transforming it in 10-15 ways using guitar phrasing variations. To really squeeze as much expression as possible out of every note, use guitar techniques such as vibrato, bends or slides to emphasize different notes in each variation.
- Focus on playing memorable solos by imitating the vocal lines (and phrasing) of your favorite singer. You can do this by improvising a slow melody and using bursts of speed to connect your melodic notes together.
Learn how to start doing this right now by studying this free eBook on how to play emotional guitar licks and solos.
Incomplete Guitar Playing Question #3: How Do I Find Motivation To Practice Guitar And Become A Great Guitarist?
Fact: lack of motivation to practice guitar is never the problem - it’s a symptom of a true problem: not seeing RESULTS from your guitar practice efforts. To solve the core problem (and eliminate its symptom) you must make your guitar practicing highly effective. When you can see, know and measure your guitar playing improvement, your motivation to practice guitar will go through the roof!
Here are 2 ways you can make your guitar practice more effective and improve your motivation to practice guitar:
Use the most effective guitar practice schedules possible, so you can make much faster progress, even when your practice time is limited.
- Consistently track every element of your guitar playing progress. When you know what elements of your guitar playing are holding you back, you can easily make (correct) changes in your practicing to accelerate your musical progress.
Incomplete Guitar Playing Question #4: How Do I Overcome Stage Fright?
Stage fright is a symptom of a (preventable) problem: not practicing enough for “real life” situations (such as live performance). When you practice making your guitar playing dependable and consistent in any situation, your stage fright will quickly melt away.
Read this article about practicing guitar for live playing to learn how to develop your live performing skills and minimize the effects of stage fright.
Incomplete Guitar Playing Question #5: How Long Does It Take To Reach _______ (Some Specific Musical Goal)?
There are 2 big problems with this question:
Problem #1: This question is impossible to answer. No 2 guitar players progress at the same pace, even when they start at the same general level and have the very best tools, materials and support they need to reach their goal. Even when you study with the best guitar teacher on Earth, 50% of your progress is determined by the things your teacher does for you and 50% by your own motivation, work ethic and desire.
Problem #2: This is a dangerous question to ask. Focusing on the amount of time needed to reach a goal takes your focus away from DOING what has to be done to actually reach the goal fast.
Here is what you should do to reach all your musical goals as quickly as possible:
Don’t waste time learning guitar on your own. You will make infinitely faster progress when you seek out an expert guitar teacher who will create a specific strategy that YOU need to follow to reach your musical goals. By focusing like a laser only on the things that matter for your goals, you will master the guitar a lot faster. Tip: do NOT simply study with any guitar teacher - find one who has a reputation of helping lots and lots of guitar players reach the same goals you have.
- DO everything your teacher tells you to do, do it consistently and do it for a long enough period of time to see results. Put every ounce of passion, dedication, desire, commitment and perseverance into the process and don’t distract yourself by shiny objects (things that pull your focus away from what really matters).
When you do both of these things, you will reach your goals in the least amount of time possible.
To learn how to apply the ideas from this article to make much faster progress in your guitar playing, download this free guide to building your guitar speed.