David Hodge

Since joining Guitar Noise in 1999, David has written over a thousand articles, lessons, interviews and reviews here. He also serves as the site's Managing Editor, supervising all content in addition to the continued writing of his own lessons and articles. And if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, David is also the author of seven instructional books, the most recent being Idiot’s Guide: Guitar Theory.

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  1. Tom Farr
    March 13th, 2014 @ 8:30 am

    This is great advice. When I first started playing, I would get frustrated that I could only play the coolest sounding parts of a song. You’ve got some really helpful lessons here for playing full songs, and I appreciate the advice on learning how to play songs in different arrangements. Thanks.

  2. Dennis Fraser
    April 2nd, 2014 @ 10:44 am

    This is a great piece of advice, especially for those just starting out. Sometimes the idea of having to play a whole song note for note can be daunting. Remembering that there are many ways to play a song can ease off some of that beginner pressure.

  3. Victor
    May 25th, 2014 @ 4:27 am

    Thanks for the advice, I get stuck on playing a song perfectly when I learn it and this sometimes gets very frustrating especially because I enjoy metal and the metal songs I listen to are very complicated with extremely fast solos. Learning to play in different ways have been something I have wanted to do because I want to cover some songs to improve my vocal skills and am sick of getting stuck on the guitar. I will be trying this tonight with the latest song I am working on and see if I can get it all down on record.

  4. millo lailang
    June 1st, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

    I have been playing guitar for a very long time but I still try to play a song note for note until I get bored, then make up my own silly notes and finally give up learning the rest of the song. Lately, I have started trying to make mini compositions of my own but when it comes to learning someone else’s song, I still try learning them note for note. Thanks for shedding light that a song can be played in different ways.

  5. Dan
    July 8th, 2014 @ 3:57 am

    I alway encourage my students to learn a song all the way through. I think it is important to learn at least all the sections in a song, intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro, etc as this helps with the understanding of the music on a much bigger scale than just learning the riff.

    With strumming type songs there is definite freedom to have some creative license in terms of strum patterns or picking the notes out which is a lot of fun.

  6. Martyn
    August 8th, 2014 @ 3:05 am

    I know a few guitar teachers and they often say many of their students just want to play the basics of the song i.e the chord pattern, and nothing more. As soon as they show them how to improvise or play something more advanced, they put up a wall and say it’s too hard, without really trying. I guess for some guitar students, just playing the chord progression is often enough. Martyn => http://www.musicteacherinfo.com

  7. James
    August 19th, 2014 @ 3:49 am

    I recommended a certain local guitar teacher to a friend of mine, after his first lesson he called me and said that the teacher I vouched for referred him to this webpage. Two things: great website, crap teacher.
    The positive side of tthe story is that I found out about guitarnoise :D

  8. Matt
    September 1st, 2014 @ 11:26 pm

    You touch on a great point, and that is that you really have to make music your own. I grew up playing classical music, which is the last thing I wanted to play as a kid. Every time I tried to learn in my own way, I was “corrected.” This led to a couple year long hatred for music in general before I picked it back up on my own terms. I wish I had you as my teacher!!! Keep up the great work.

    Guitar Strings Reviews

  9. Josh
    September 9th, 2014 @ 4:05 am

    You know one of the things I love doing is using a looper pedal (I personally use a Line6) as a way to take that “first arrangement” and learn to add to it. In this way I’m actually creating my own song, something which inspires me to play even more!

  10. need guitar lessons
    April 28th, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

    That makes a lot of sense. The more we know about the music we want to play, the easier it is for us to be able to play it and experiment with variations. Thanks for the links to those other pieces; I’m getting close to being able to play a couple of those now.

  11. Steve B
    November 3rd, 2015 @ 7:35 am

    For years I tried to get my daughter to just “play” instead of counting on notation in front of her as a guide. I believe the spontaneity of just letting your feelings guide you through a familiar piece, rather than by wrote, opens up a whole new world of interpretation. But whether note by note or fumbling through an arrangement, at least she plays – for that I’m grateful.

  12. Frankos
    December 28th, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

    Before I picked up the guitar, I was operating under a lot of false assumptions about how difficult it is to become a musician (that was many years ago). Back then there was no Internet. I know this article will help a lot of people! Nice work.

  13. 4Guitar
    January 4th, 2017 @ 6:13 am

    This is something a lot of people struggle with. They want the song they learn to sound just like the recording, even if there are 3 guitar parts on it! A lot of famous guitarists don’t even play the solo’s the same way they did on the record. Its all about the feel of the song. As you say, that’s what music is all about.

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