No matter what stage of our guitar journey we are at, we all want to improve. And as fast as possible, in order to retain our motivation and reach our goals. Learning easy guitar songs, or solos really provides us with the stimulus and inspiration we need to look forward to the next stage in our guitar-playing journey.
So what are some of the key secrets pro guitarists use to keep on improving? Take a look at the list below and try to use as many as possible…
1) Leave your guitar out of its case
If you put it on a guitar stand it is much easier to pick up and stops you thinking “I can’t be bothered to get it out of the case.” Even a two-minute twiddle from time to time can help you master something you are in the middle of learning; or just picking it up to play anything or mess around will hone your skills and techniques. It keeps the fun element alive.
2) Set yourself short term goals.
Try and have a simple plan of what you want to achieve in, say one week, whether it be a chorus, a lick, an intro, whatever. This will help you focus to achieve your goals in small manageable chunks.
3) Limit the number of long practice sessions.
Practicing for too long can demotivate you and you will find progress is limited as you get tired and, possibly, bored. Play in short bursts of, say, 20 minutes, and you will find you progress much more quickly.
4) Know What You Want to Practice
If you know what you want to achieve in one of your sessions, stick to it. This will help you eradicate mistakes but also keep you stimulated as you try and master that chord sequence or lick. It may take you over your 20/25 minute session, but hopefully not by much, and it will be worth it.
5) Use a metronome
Using a metronome is essential in being able to learn a solid sense of rhythm, timing and practicing effectively. You can slow down the speed if you are struggling to master something new and speed up as you become more confident and mistake-free. And best of all, you can download loads of free metronome apps from your phone.
6) Do not play too fast.
Make sure you always start off slowly and eliminate any mistakes before you start to increase the pace to the correct speed. Doing this in conjunction with using your metronome is a winner.
7) Listen back to what you have played.
Try recording a practice session or piece you are playing and play it back. This will give you a real feel of what you need to do to improve. It is much easier than trying to analyse absolutely everything whilst you are playing and concentrating.
8) Try not to be too robotic
Whenever learning something new, in the back of your mind always have a thought or two on how you can stamp your own style on a piece. That’s not to say do not learn it perfectly, but be able to play subtle variations using tools and techniques you have in your armoury. It is very rare that recording artists play each track the same way each time!!!
9) Play what you enjoy
Sounds obvious, but this will ensure your passion remains intact and will drive you to perfect anything you are learning…otherwise your patience will be tested if, for example, you are trying to learn a new song you don’t really want to learn.
10. Play with other People
This is probably the best tip ever! Every guitarist has their own individual style, experience, weaknesses and strengths and you will learn so much playing and jammin’ with others – especially if combined with all the other tips in this list.
They might be able to share with you new or different ways of voicing chords, a unique rhythm style, or simply turn you on to new influences. You’ll have the opportunity to play dual-lead guitar, you’ll be able to quickly hone your rhythm while someone else plays lead (or vice versa). Remember a guitarist’s best friend is another
As a well respected player, teacher and coach, Andy Partridge is the lead instructor for Guitar Coach Magazine. Andy’s gentle step by step approach, and detailed note by note lessons, will give you the confidence, reassurance and motivation you need to really achieve your guitar playing goals sooner than you thought possible. His relaxed and engaging teaching style (complete with sometimes questionable jokes) make learning easier, faster, and so much more fun.