The #1 Reason Most Guitarists Take A Long Time To Reach Their Guitar Playing Goals (Hint: It’s Not Talent)

By Tom Hess

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I have a lot of polarizing views about guitar playing.

For instance:

I mock the CAGED system a lot & think it’s a really dumb way to learn guitar.

I also insist my guitar students learn guitar using directional picking & thumb muting.

(Versus using alternate picking or muting string noise with their palm.)

But I ruffle the most feathers with the everyday guitar player when I say:

“It’s best to improve your guitar playing with one proven teacher than to learn guitar from “as many sources as possible”.


Because when you learn guitar from lots of sources often it's like learning at random, with no INTEGRATED strategy.

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And THAT is when progress often slows way down and you stop becoming a better guitar player.

Feel free to disagree if you want.

But before you make up your mind about my guitar playing advice... the video below that explains my thoughts in detail about the best way to learn guitar improve your guitar playing skills faster:

I know many will think I'm wrong. But so be it.

All I can do is continue letting my guitar students’ results speak for themselves.

Want to see more examples where learning things out of order slows down your guitar playing progress?

Here you go:

6 False Guitar Playing Beliefs

Example #1: Overdoing It On Scales In Your Guitar Playing

Are scales useful? You bet! But ONLY if you know how to apply them to music.

And here is a free guitar lesson for every guitar player:

Many guitarists learn a lot of scales in a short amount of time. But never take the time to become really comfortable in their guitar playing with even one scale.

So, what happens when you try to use the scales you “kind of know” in a solo?

You “fish around” for notes, but struggle to play anything good.

That is why you are better off mastering one scale all over the guitar before learning new scales.

How do you do that?

Watch this video guitar lesson where I show you in detail how to learn guitar more effectively for better solos:

Now you know an easy way to become a better guitar player using the simple, free guitar lesson from the video.

Example #2: Creating Guitar Playing Speed Gaps

Not a day goes by when I don’t get an email from someone who wants more guitar playing speed.

But 9 times out of 10, “more speed” is the last thing they need.

Because their hands are already moving plenty fast.

Their real problem? 

Lack of 2-hand synchronization in their guitar playing.

That means: there is a huge gap between their “maximum speed” and “the speed they’d ever want anyone to hear”.

And here is the irony you don't want to miss as a guitar player looking to improve:

The more they you try to learn guitar to increase “speed”, the wider the gap becomes.

Once again – focusing on things out of order leads to chaos & frustration for your guitar playing.

Here is a video guitar lesson about how to fix sloppy 2-hand synchronization in your guitar playing once and for all:

Example #3: “Naked” Guitar Playing

Are you wearing clothes right now? (I hope you said yes.)

But many guitarists learn guitar “naked” without realizing it. I'm talking about playing lots of notes (and learning lots of licks) before developing your phrasing.

What’s phrasing?

Phrasing is your vibrato and other ornaments you add to notes to make your guitar playing sound expressive.

Guitar playing without phrasing is like your naked body.

Adding phrasing to notes is like dressing up your body with nice clothes.

The better your phrasing, the better your guitar playing sounds. Just like stylish clothes make you look better.

Want to see (and hear) the difference good phrasing makes in your guitar playing?

Watch this video for a free guitar lesson on phrasing any guitar player should use to get better:

Example 4: Neglecting The Obvious As You Learn Guitar

If there is one guitar lesson any guitar player should not ignore, it’s not to forget about ear training.

You’d think ear training would be one of the most obvious skills for a guitar player to focus on.

But it’s not. Far from it.

Why is that?

Why do people not learn guitar by developing a great ear?

Simply put: ear training is not fun to practice for the average guitar player. And it takes time before you see any results.

It’s much easier (and more instantly gratifying) to learn new licks, scales or  work on your speed.

And when you learn things out of order, it’s easy to neglect things you don’t enjoy practicing to improve your guitar playing.


An undeveloped ear holds you back from using your skills to their full potential.

Note: if your goal as a guitar player is simply to play for fun or learn your favorite songs – ear training isn’t as important.

But if you want to become a great guitar player with the best guitar playing skills in town? It’s the single most important skill you must develop as you learn guitar over time.

There you have it. 4 clear ways learning things out of order can hurt your progress as you take your guitar playing to a higher level.

What’s the next important guitar lesson to learn to skyrocket your overall guitar playing progress?

If your guitar playing is making you mad as hell right and you finally want to do something about it – my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons could be exactly what you need. Start your first guitar lesson by going to: and tell me more about your guitar playing and history as a guitar player.

Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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