19 Comments

  1. Suzy
    June 27th, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Excellent article! I think #3 is where a lot of beginner players fall behind. Taking lessons is one thing, but the magic happens IN BETWEEN the lessons! Great advice.

    Reply

    • Rob
      June 28th, 2012 @ 7:19 am

      You’re so right! I see this difference with my own students. You can really tell the ones who practise in between the lessons more often, and work on their own initiative in combination with tuition.

      Reply

  2. Jon
    June 27th, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Great article. Really well-written, not only applies to guitar playing but life.

    Reply

  3. Ryan
    July 3rd, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    fantastic article. Thank you for this. This is exactly what I have been stuck with. I am a high intermediate player but have been increasingly frustrated with being stuck, and I think at least 3 of the 4 apply to me. Thanks again

    Reply

  4. Borhan
    July 6th, 2012 @ 5:46 am

    Yeah as a self taught beginner ,i can’t really choose how to proceed .As i like most of the fingerstyle guitar playing but i also like metal sweep pikcing .so guess what, i m practicing both of them at the same time .Yeah progress is slow but i think as long as i m doing it my way i m happy with the progress

    Reply

  5. Pat
    July 10th, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

    For me #4 has always been a problem for me, in the way that I try to blaze through a lick at a speed I’m just not ready for, then I’ll do it again and wonder why I can’t get it. Well after I take a breath and go through it slowly, then I can start to get it right. Thanks for the article

    Reply

  6. tristanography
    July 25th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    i think for me its probably number 4 although to a lesser extent as i progress

    Reply

  7. Jamie
    August 16th, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    Hey i agree with many of the principles here. Especially the part about quality over quantity with regards to practicing. The brain learns best when it is fully engaged in an activity, so noodling away while watching the tv doesn’t really work.

    Reply

  8. Vax
    August 30th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Practice. Just practice the right things within appropriate time and you will see the progress :)

    Reply

  9. panacea
    October 14th, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

    1st point reminds me very much of my gr8 teacher, i miss him n his lessons? Sum1 ask dat question 2 my teacher wud b his last day with my teacher ;D
    My teacher not only teaches music, once he told me that he has 32 hours a day n not 24; so he practice more then ny other. I was wndered but he was quick 2 tell me, u lost 8 hrs in sleep sleep only 5 n 3 is urs to practice…u ppl here are like my teacher u cover all aspects into becoming a musician! Gr8!

    Reply

  10. panacea
    October 14th, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

    4 d 2nd point, to learn is easy but to unlearn is hard! Its nice u ppl make aware this to us the budding guitarist!

    Reply

  11. Conor
    July 7th, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

    Yeah number 4 for me! I had so much doubt about myself progressing that it nearly made me sell my guitars. It was the heat of the moment, telling me what my guitar ment… Lol thanks for the advice :)

    Reply

  12. jumken
    November 2nd, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

    Just great.. I have the problem of 2 and 3

    Reply

  13. JD
    June 4th, 2016 @ 8:47 pm

    Well, I can’t-period. Almost 5 years of trying, 4 teachers, at least 3 hours a day 7 days a week, and no I’m not exaggerating, I still can’t make something that sounds like music. I do think teachers should tell their students when they have no talent and are not going to make it, it would have saved me untold time and money. One of mine hinted, but still took my money. It’s infuriating.

    Reply

    • Relic_strzy
      December 6th, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

      I agree totally,I’ve been trying to learn for 7 years.I still have terrible finger independence,can’t play a riff for more than 30 seconds without pain and seizures in my hand,and still struggle to play barre chords high up the neck.I’ve tried everything.I’m giving up now.

      Reply

  14. c lane
    June 20th, 2016 @ 11:47 pm

    cl june 21 2016
    I started at eight years old and now age 70. Having the opportunity to play with many beginners as well as professionals,
    I notice in many the idea that they want to be a perfect player and I say there are not many who ever get to that place where they convince them selfs they have arrived. What I try to explain to many just to encourage that they hear someone play a certain style and when in practice they can,t duplicate the exact style and timing. I explain to they learn all you can and later you will find a different style that just fits you and is pleasing and rewarding. There are so many styles and most stay with and master many learning curves find they create there own pleasing style. For that reason please understandTHERE IS NO PERFECT WAY TO PLAY THE GUITAR BECAUSE AS YOU ACQUIRE THE ART OF MOVING AROUND THE FRET BOARD YOU BEGAN TO ACQUIRE A SOUND AND STYLE OF YOU OWN JUST STAY THE COURSE AND LISTEN TO OTHERS, WATCH THEIR FINGER MOVES. ALSO AS YOU PROGRESS GO PURCHASE A BETTER SOUNDING INSTRUMENT THAT MAKES YOU STYLE RESINATE BETTER AS YOU PLAY MORE STRINGS AT A TIME. GUITAR PLAYING IS THE SAME AS DEVELOPING GOOD FRIENDS—BE APPRECIATIVE TO YOU INSTRUMENT, YOUR TIME. TO THOSE WHO HELP YOU PROGRESS AND GOOD WILL RETURN BACK TO YOU. AS YOU STRUGGLE WITH THIS INSTRUMENT WITH SIX OR TWELVE STRINGS TO COVER, CONCENTRATE AT EVERY MOMENT, BUILD GOOD MEMORIES BECAUSE YEARS LATER THOSE MEMORIES WILL RETURN BACK UP AND YOU WILL FILTER SOME IMPORTANT DECISIONS THROUGH THOSE MEMORIES . DON,T BE STUCK BECAUSE OF PREFERRED STYLE, SOON YOU WILL FIND ANOTHER TO TAKE IS PLACE. WHEN THAT HAPPENS OTHERS WILL GATHER AROUND TO HEAR AND OH YES WATCH YOU FINGER MOVEMENTS. I AM SEVENTY YEARS OLD AND PLAYED BEFORE THOUSANDS AND I LEARN SOMETHING OR MAKE A SOUND DIFFERENT MANY TIMES AND WONDER WHY I HAD NOT USED THAT BEFORE. BE A GUITAR PLAYER TAKES LOVE AND APPRECIATION AND RESPECT FOR THAT INSTRUMENT. ITS NOT A PART OF YOU WORLD. IT IS A LIFE STYLE THAT YOU DON.T ALLOW OTHERS TO DISCOURAGE YOU AND TAKE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME AWAY FROM THE DEDICATION. I KNOW THIS IS LONG AND I AM REPEATING, BUT AS YOU LEARN THINK ABOUT DEDICATION BUILD PRECIOUS GOOD MEMORIES, NOT BAD HINDERING MEMORIES AS THEY RETURN BACK AT YOU IN YOUR FACE AS YOU AGE. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WILL ALWATS PLAY BETTER THAN YOU. DO NOT ALLOW THAT TO DISCOURAGE YOU, BUT LOOK AT IT AS A LEARNING BLESSED CHANCE THAT YOU MET AND PLAY YOUR STYLE. ONCE YOU GET TO THE PLACE THAT YOU CAN DANCE AOUND THE FRETBOARD NO ONE CAN STEAL THAT FROM YOU—YOU OWN IT cli

    Reply

  15. Brett
    September 4th, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

    I am a beginner, having started relatively late in life at age 48. I have been playing for a month, practicing chord changes every damn day for hours and haven’t improved a damn bit. Repetition after repetition. I get super frustrated which only drives me to sit hour after hour, repetition after repetion. D minor to C over and over again. I just can’t seem to make any progress at all.

    Reply

    • Brandon
      September 8th, 2016 @ 1:21 am

      Brett, dont beat yourself up. sadly a month really isnt much time in the guitar learning world. I’ve been playing for about 18months and still struggle with some chord changes. it may be more helpful to shift focus from learning chords to something like slow blues soloing. i dont even listen to blues, but i can appreciate that everything i do listen to is inspired by it, so it only make sense to learn to play it. although being able to play open chords is important, it doesnt have to be the first thing you learn. ive spent more time learning the minor pentatonic scales and how the 5 positions work, learning how to apply them in dirrent keys. now im working on the major scales with the intention of learning the modes after. ive noticed that from building skills in soloing that when i revisit open chords to learn a riff, its much easier than it was at the start. i still havent committed to learning any particular song all the way through. i pretty much will learn the main riff for something and use a looper pedal to record myself playing it so i can improvise a solo over something familiar. like Mike points out in this article, you cant expect to be at some magic point in this journey by any set date. if what your trying to practice is not really fun or seems to not be effective, then its time to focus on another area. i truly believe that anyone can get to an intermediate level on the guitar and really dont believe in some magical natural talent that is needed to become a great guitarist. it may take years or even a few decades, but i know the level i want to achieve and plan to put in the work to get there. its not a race and no need to rush, dont worry about the time my friend

      Reply

    • Vir
      September 27th, 2016 @ 9:47 am

      Hey Brett, I was right where you are 2 years ago. I had been messing around with the guitar for a year or 2, not really making much progress, when at 48, I decided to get serious. I signed up with a teacher. A teacher can help you in ways you just can’t help yourself. Regardless of that though, the thing I wanted to mention to you about chords is a little trick I picked up when I was REALLY struggling with chords (I’m talking simple stuff, like A to D). Someone told me the best way to learn chords is to first practice the fingering with the left hand, and don’t even strum. Just practice your fingers going from the first chord (in your case D minor) to the 2nd chord (C), and then back again. Do this 30 times, back and forth (I actually did it 50!! LOL), and THEN try to strum. It’s critical that your fingers get that ‘muscle memory’ in order for you to succeed!! Also, I find that as we are, well, a bit ‘advanced’ in age, it’s going to take TIME and PATIENCE for you to get better….just the nature of the beast. If I were you, I would start with the A, D , and E chords as SO MANY songs use them, then google something like ‘songs that use A D and E’ and see if there are any there you like. Good luck!!

      Reply

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