How To Get Better At Guitar Much Faster
by Tom Hess
Until you know exactly what keeps you from quickly getting better on guitar, your musical goals will always seem out of reach... leaving you frustrated every time you pick up your instrument. This is like to trying to drive a race car, but not realizing you have a brick under the gas pedal that is keeping you from fully accelerating towards your goals. To get better fast, you must become aware of the biggest problems that are slowing you down and take action to eliminate them.
Here are 5 obstacles that get in the way of you progressing as fast as you'd like (and the actions you must take to turbocharge your guitar progress:
1. You Practice Guitar For The Sake Of Practicing
You’ve likely heard statements such as: “practice makes perfect” or “perfect practice makes perfect”. Truth is, neither statement tells the whole story about what it means to get better on guitar. Fast guitar progress is all about practicing not just perfectly, but also STRATEGICALLY.
Here is the difference between practicing guitar for the sake of practicing and practicing guitar strategically:
When you practice for the sake of practicing, you compile tons of tablature or exercises or random guitar lessons you find online and try to practice them as best as you can, simply trying to get better. This leads to the following:
Note: even if your practicing habits are highly effective, your lack of overall strategy makes it impossible to improve your guitar playing fast. Practicing the wrong items correctly is just as bad as practicing the right items incorrectly.
In contrast, strategic practicing starts by focusing on the specific musical goals you want to reach. You must then find out what to practice on guitar to reach those goals, and not let yourself become distracted by practicing random items that do not relate to your goals. Thus, your guitar playing goals act like a filter that only allows relevant items to pass into your practicing - ignoring all the rest.
2. You Don’t Know HOW To Become A Better Guitar Player Every Time You Practice
Knowing what to practice is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making progress on guitar. To make fast progress, you must know both what to practice and how to practice it. Even if you have the right strategy and a full list of correct items to practice, they will be of limited use to you if you:
The easiest way to learn how to practice guitar is to work with a guitar teacher who A.) has already accomplished the same musical goals you desire B.) understands exactly how to get you from where you are now to your guitar playing goals fast and C.) has a proven track record of helping countless other players become awesome guitarists.
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3. You’re A Self-Taught Guitarist
Many guitarists decide to learn guitar on their own, because they think they can make progress just as fast teaching themselves as under the guidance of a great teacher. This belief could not be any further from the truth! Here are just a couple of reasons why this thinking is dead wrong:
To illustrate this point, compare the process of getting better on guitar to going to a gym to lose weight. Learning guitar on your own is equivalent to following some general exercise program you found online and becoming unmotivated after 4 weeks, when you notice that you lost a tiny amount of weight…or even GAINED weight! This can be disheartening and cause many people to stop coming to the gym.
Now imagine working with a personal trainer who will
In the first scenario, you hold yourself back from ever reaching your goal of losing weight. In the second scenario (working with a trainer), you have the highest chance of not only reaching your goals, but doing so in an enjoyable way with minimum risk of injury.
4. Your Guitar Playing Is Out Of Balance
Another way you will drastically slow down your guitar playing progress is by spending too much time practicing areas you are already strong in, while ignoring (or being unaware of) your weaknesses. This causes your playing to become unbalanced, as you become strong(er) in some areas and remain very weak in others. The worst part of this, is that your ability to apply your musical strengths is going to be severely limited by your musical weaknesses.
For example, I get e-mails all the time from guitarists who are frustrated because they can’t play great lead guitar solos (despite spending a lot of time practicing technique). I have to explain to them that technique is only one aspect of playing guitar solos. In order to get better, they need to develop their guitar phrasing, knowledge of music theory, fretboard visualization, ear training and many other skills. Even if you aren’t interested in playing guitar solos, it’s likely that your guitar playing is unbalanced in various ways due to years of learning on your own (and picking up bad habits along the way).
Learn more about how your guitar playing can become out of balance by reading this article about what to practice on guitar.
5. You Aren’t Aware Of (And Don’t Know How To Fix) Your Bad Guitar Playing Habits
Even if you know what to practice and how to practice it, bad guitar playing habits can slow down your progress to a crawl, until you learn how to diagnose and fix them. Read the seven points in this article about solving guitar playing problems to learn how to quickly correct your poor playing habits.
Stop Believing These Myths About Slow Guitar Playing Progress:
In addition to knowing the 5 things that make it very hard to get better on guitar, here are 3 things that most people blame for their lack of progress that have NOTHING to do with this problem:
Now that you understand why so many guitarists struggle to improve their playing, read this page about online guitar lessons to learn how to massively speed up your guitar playing progress.
Get the best online lessons for rock guitar players and become the musician you've always wanted to be.
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