Learn How To Get Better At Guitar Faster By Tracking Your Skills Closely
Feel like it's going to be a long time before you get a lot better at guitar? Good news: it doesn't take as long as you might think when practice effectively by tracking the skills you need to improve very closely. This not only helps you make faster progress on guitar, but motivates you as you watch yourself gradually improving in many different areas at once.
Watch the video below to learn how to get better at guitar faster by tracking the right skills:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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There are 2 big guitar speed lessons you can take from this video:
Guitar Speed Lesson #1: Guitar Speed Is More Than One Thing.
As you saw in the video, to build your guitar speed, you need to track your progress with your:
- maximum speed – this is the absolute top speed at which your hands can move when you play guitar.
- top speed of playing guitar cleanly – this is the fastest you can play with out sloppy string noise.
- 2 hand synchronization top speed – this is the fastest speed where you can play with both hands perfectly in sync and articulated clearly.
- this is the top speed at which you can play whatever you are practicing reliably and consistently, even on your worst days
- real-life performance top speed – this is the speed you can reliably perform something on stage, in front of an audience (or in a recording studio)
- Many people make the mistake of only tracking their maximum speed. Why is this a problem?
If all you do is increase your maximum speed, you create bigger and bigger gaps between the highest speed your hands can move and the speed you’d want anyone to ever hear.
I call this: the gap between your “potential” guitar speed and your “usable” guitar speed.
Bottom line: find the gaps between all the elements of your guitar speed (listed above) and close them. That’s when your usable guitar speed will start to increase.
Guitar Speed Lesson #2: Practice Guitar With A Problem-Solving Mindset.
What does this mean?
To have a problem-solving mindset, you need to:
(Correctly) Isolate The Problem
When you struggle to play something on guitar, isolate the exact notes that give you trouble. Focusing on the source of your guitar playing problems helps you avoid wasting practice time on things you can play well.
Then, you need to:
Magnify The Problem
Here are some easy ways to “magnify” any guitar playing problem to solve it faster:
- Repeat the hard part several times (this is the approach I demonstrated in the video).
- Play the hard part on the lower frets.
- Play the hard part with all downstrokes or all upstrokes.
- Play the hard part on an unplugged guitar (when the problem is related to articulation or 2-hand synchronization).
- Play the hard part with more distortion or at a louder volume (when the problem is related to string noise or sloppy guitar playing).
Practice AT The Correct Tempo
Your brain must be totally engaged during guitar practice. Practice at a speed that is challenging for your hands, but slow enough for your brain to process every note. This is how you develop flawless guitar playing technique.
Practicing faster than you brain can follow makes it very hard to improve your guitar playing.
Drill The Problem Until It Is Mastered
Just like it sounds – repeat the isolated trouble spot until it becomes easy. Then add it back into the musical context and refine it until it’s fully mastered.
Now that you know how to improve your guitar speed with less practice time, I want to help you transform the rest of your musical skills and turn your guitar playing into something you can feel proud of.
I can help you with this in my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons.
Here is how it works:
You will first fill out an in-depth evaluation from to tell me about yourself as a guitar player.
I ask you a ton of questions about your musical skills, knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, frustrations, background and guitar playing goals.
Here is what happens after you are done (and you select one of the lesson plans on the next page):
I will go through your evaluation from in detail (I usually read it at least twice). Then I will create a lesson strategy to get your playing from where it is today to where you want it to be.
It’s all based on everything you told me about yourself in your evaluation form.
(Note: It may take me 2-3 hours to create your lesson strategy. So, please be patient. I don't want to rush this step, because it’s going to play a huge role in you becoming a better guitar player quickly.)
Next: I create your actual lesson materials.
What are your lesson materials?
These are the exercises, drills, concepts and techniques and that break down your goals into bite-sized steps that improve your playing.
As you follow these steps – you become a better guitar player. Same way you follow the navigation system in your car.
Just follow the directions, make all the right turns and you will get where you want to go. It’s almost literally that simple.
As you practice – you won’t be alone.
Here is how I help you in between your lessons:
- I train you live on video every week in live training classes. There I take the hardest guitar playing topics and break them down to make them easy to master. Plus, I get to see you play and answer your questions live on video.
- We also do live guitar practice sessions for you, me and my other students. We all practice guitar together and work on things each of us may struggle to practice individually.
This helps you to get stuff done and improve more quickly.
- I'm here for you when you need me. Here is what this means:
If you have questions – email me anytime - day or night. I answer your questions in detail and you always get a reply from me directly.
Plus, you can talk to me every week live on video in Office Hours (where I answer your questions live on video).
- You can send me recordings of your playing for feedback. In my feedback, I help you diagnose and remove bad habits from your playing and erase all obstacles slowing down your progress.
- You can join our exclusive community on my students’ forum. There you can get support from my top guitar students – many of whom are now professional guitar teachers themselves.
All you have to do is practice what I tell you to do at least 30 minutes per day 5 times per week.
If you can practice more – that’s great. But if you practice the lessons I give you just 30 minutes per day, it becomes almost impossible for you not to improve.
Check out the results my guitar students are achieving:
“Before I started taking lessons with Tom, I was doing things on my own and it was quite frustrating. I thought I was doing things correctly, but once I started lessons with Tom, I was able to see what I was doing wrong and quickly applied that and got results instantly, within a couple of weeks ... your playing just improves so quickly!”
I've become a hundred of times better guitar player since I've been working with Tom. Most private guitar teachers are somewhat unprepared and kind of work on just whatever, which is ok, but it isn't really as effective as the way Tom does it in terms of how much material he gives you, what material he gives you, and the long term goal of what you want to do. Tom has all that in mind. Tom is very good at giving you what you need to reach your goals.
Mark Court, Professional Musician,
“Before I started taking correspondence lessons I was basically stagnant in my playing. I had kind of reached what I thought was a pinnacle and I started looking for what’s next, what’s bigger and better… and I just happened across Tom’s lessons and since then I’ve realized that this plateau that I was feeling was way down here and now he’s helped me tremendously. I know I can do things on the guitar that I could’ve never dreamed of five years ago.”
I chose to take guitar lessons with Tom over anybody else because a) Tom is a professional musician, and I want to learn from people who are making a living as a musician and b) he just had a wealth of knowledge that he freely gives to you to kind of say here, you know here is the golden nugget.
The biggest change in my playing that has happened since I started taking lessons with Tom is playing like a true musician, phrasing like a true musician, and kind of separating myself away from all the wannabes.
So if I were to compare Tom’s correspondence lessons with just taking private lesson in a local market, it’s night and day. For one thing, Tom’s lessons are easy to understand, they’re very in depth and they’re tailored to what you want to learn… versus private lessons, a lot of times the teachers are using their students as guinea pigs to figure out how to teach… and Tom’s not doing that, he’s knows what he’s doing.
Thoughts when I started with Tom were “Is this going to work for me?” because it was definitely not the norm. And my thoughts now are “Hell yes it’s going to work”, because you see results.
Tom’s goal-oriented approach has helped me, I guess break horizons and get results that I could’ve never gotten before. Only because he helped me flesh out how I want to play and how to get there. He gave the goals and the path to get there, and it’s been excellent. Tom is like he says, an ordinary guy, but he’s doing extraordinary things, and I know in my life that’s what I want to do. I just want to be an ordinary guy that is impacting lives, and that’s been huge from Tom.
Ty Morgan, Phoenix, Arizona
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
“I was watching YouTube videos and I was going nowhere. The direction Tom was sending me in my first lessons was towards my goals, so I could see that I was progressing. ”
Basically, after half a year of stumbling on YouTube videos or other guitar websites, I found that my guitar playing was not going into any direction and that changed massively because he actually got me to learn my scales and arpeggios... learn what I need to learn to get to the level I want to be. In a sense, I joined shortly after I started guitar playing, then improved massively in every way possible: rhythm, lead, improvisation. Before I tried Tom, I was noodling around the first pentatonic shape.
Patrick Kogler, Austria
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