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

By Tom Hess

5 Easy Tricks You Can
Learn In 10 Minutes

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I have a lot of polarizing views about guitar.

For instance:

I mock the CAGED system a lot & think it’s really dumb.

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

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

But I ruffle the most feathers when I say:

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


Because learning from lots of sources often = learning at random, with no INTEGRATED strategy.

And THAT is when progress often slows way down.

Feel free to disagree if you want.

But before you make up your mind... the video below that explains my thoughts in detail:

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

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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 you progress?

Here you go:

6 False Guitar Playing Beliefs

Example #1: Overdoing It On Scales

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

And here is where most guitar players go wrong:

Many guitarists learn a lot of scales in a short amount of time. But never take the time to become really comfortable 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 where I show you in detail:

Example #2: Creating Guitar Speed Gaps

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

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:

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

Once again – focusing on things out of order leads to chaos & frustration.

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

Example #3: Playing Guitar “Naked”

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

But many guitarists play 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 them sound expressive.

Notes without phrasing are 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:

Example 4: Neglecting The Obvious

If there is one skill guitar players ignore most often of all, it’s ear training.

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

But it’s not. Far from it.

Why is that?

Simply put: ear training is not fun to practice. 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.


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

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

But if you want to become a pro-level player? It’s the single most important skill you must have.

There you have it. 4 clear ways learning things out of order can hurt your progress.

What’s next?

If your guitar playing is making you mad as hell right now and you finally want to do something about it – my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons could be exactly what you are looking for. To learn more, go to: and tell me more about your guitar playing.

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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