Be A Better Guitar Player With These Easy Tips
If you’re learning the guitar but aren’t making the kind of progress you’d like, you may be feeling discouraged. Don’t give up though – chances are you just need to make some minor changes in your approach and practice regime. Let’s look at some easy tips that can help you be a better guitar player.
1. Using a metronome
Do you normally practice with a metronome? If you don’t, you should make it a priority to start, as this will help you to develop excellent rhythmic precision in your guitar playing. Most people think that they’re playing in time, but without a metronome, it’s actually very easy for your timing to be all over the place. With a metronome, you avoid speeding up for the easy sections in the music you’re playing, and slowing down for the hard bits. Now, I’m sure you don’t do that, but it’s still well worth giving a metronome try, and within a few weeks you’ll be surprised at how much your guitar playing improves. There are various types of metronomes available, including mechanical and digital versions, as well as software versions that you can use on your PC or mobile device. If you have an electronic guitar tuner, it might even have a metronome feature as well, so you won’t need to go out and get one specially.
2. Establish regular practice routine
This point isn’t going to be relevant to everybody, but many people who are learning the guitar don’t actually practice every day. Instead, they just pick up the instrument when they feel inspired to do so – and if that sounds like you, your progress is going to be very limited. To develop some serious guitar skills, it’s vital to follow a regular practice routine, which means practising every day, normally for around half an hour or more (although if you can’t always manage half an hour, any amount of time is better than nothing – get the consistency down first, and then you can increase your practice time as needed).
Now, there will of course be times when your life gets in the way, and sometimes you may feel physically fatigued and need to take a rest day now and then. Listening to your body in this way is always a good idea, as it’s not advisable to force yourself to keep going if your hands or other areas are feeling very painful or fatigued. However, if you find that you’re taking more days off than you’re actually playing, or you’re using your other commitments as an excuse to avoid practice, that’s another matter.
Just 15 or 20 minutes a day is better than being a weekend warrior and neglecting the instrument during the rest of the week. The important thing is to develop a routine that works for you, and to discipline yourself to stick with it. Playing the guitar should be fun, but there will be days when you’re just not in the mood, and it’s on those days when you need to be strict with yourself and do your guitar practice anyway. In most cases, you’ll find that after you’ve been playing for a few minutes, you will get into it and start having fun anyway.
3. Mindful practice
While it’s very important to practice consistently, it’s also just as important to make sure that practice is mindful. There’s no point just practising the same bad habits and sloppy mistakes over and over again. So, make sure you’re really listening to yourself as you’re playing, and not letting your mind wander off and start daydreaming. This is an easy habit to fall into, but it’s important to really focus on what you’re doing if you want to progress. This kind of mindful focus is also necessary if you want to avoid developing bad habits that can hold you back at a later stage.
4. Have patience
If you’re feeling frustrated because your fingers just won’t do what you want, and your progress seems excruciatingly slow, this is understandable. The early days of learning just about any new skill are usually frustrating ones in many respects, and learning the guitar is no exception. Keep in mind that this is a very complex skill, and don’t be deceived by the promises of the ‘master guitar in a weekend’ scammers; despite what they’d have you believe, it takes everybody a lot of time and effort to develop their guitar skills to a competent standard, never mind a virtuoso level. Every guitarist you admire has been in this position, and has moved beyond it only by developing the patience to keep going even when progress is slow, and the process doesn’t feel like much fun.
Now, most people aren’t going to keep at an activity indefinitely if it’s not enjoyable, so if you want to play guitar better it’s important to find ways to make your practice sessions fun in their own right, rather than seeing them merely as a means to an end. There will always be room for improvement in your playing no matter how skilled you become, so it makes sense to develop an appreciation for the journey as well as the various milestones you’ll hit along the way. Give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved so far, make sure you celebrate every improvement, and don’t fall into the trap of beating up on yourself because you’re not yet ‘there’. If you can start enjoying where you are, impatience will be less of an issue, and ironically, you’ll probably find that your progress speeds up as well.
5. Follow a coherent plan of lessons
Finally, look at how you’re going about learning to play. Are you following a structured lesson plan? Or are you just surfing around, taking a bit of information from lots of different places? If you’re just picking up a few chords here, a riff or two there, this is an inefficient and mostly ineffective way to learn. Although you can learn to play a few bits and pieces and even sound pretty cool, if you want to make real progress it’s important to develop a proper technical and musical foundation on which to build your skills. And the best way to do this is to follow a structured plan of lessons that has been created by professional who knows what they’re doing, and who knows how all the relevant elements should fit together, so you can constantly be building on what you’ve already learned. There are lots of good guitar lesson plans to choose from, or of course you could have lessons with a private teacher if that’s an option for you. Whichever kind of plan you choose, make sure you stick with it through to the end, rather than jumping about all over the place.
Hopefully these tips will help you to break out of your rut and see more progress with your guitar playing. If you decide to go for a great lesson plan as suggested just above, I recommend Jamorama, which I have used myself and been very happy with. For more information, click here.
- Play Guitar Better – 5 Tips For Improving Your Guitar Playing
- Guitar Practice Tips – Establishing A Guitar Practice Routine That Works For You
- Learn Guitar With Jamorama – Tips For Getting The Most From Jamorama’s Guitar Lessons
- Want To Learn To Play The Guitar? – 7 Beginner Guitar Tips
- The Importance of a Regular Guitar Practice Schedule