So I heard you want to become a better guitar player?

Lately I keep hearing stuff like "I've been playing for a while and I just don't improve", "I'm no good, i've been playing for 2 years and I can't even play a solo..",
"How the hell do people play stuff like this??
or..."Why is it that I can't even play something like this consistently?"
Wellll being the StrangeJam I am, I decided to share with those who ignore it, a bunch of general tips everyone knows, but never really mention when it comes to this. This is mainly from an electric guitarist perspective, idk if it varies for acoustic folks, so...put that acoustic in some forsaken corner of your closet, get an electric guitar and enjoy!...nah im just kidding.

1.-Realize you're in for a lot of work.
For 95% of people,playing guitar at a reasonably good level is far from a casual hobby, if you want to get decent you're gonna have to work hard,practice, learn,grind, and probably hate such routine too. It pretty much means taking guitar seriously, and devoting more time to it. if you don't feel like making that sort of commitment, it is alright, I'm sure everyone has their own reasons to play guitar, but if you're wondering why you just don't seem to improve, and you want to take your skills to the next level, you know where to start.

2.-Quality over quantity.
Do I need to be some sort of antisocial hikki to get really good? I heard Steve vai and the like used to spend up to 7 hours a day playing!
nah, not necesarily. it's all about investing the time you have into practicing significant things, and working in your weak areas (one by one). Of course if you're a person with all the time of the world at your disposal, you will see results faster than those who play an average of 20-30 minutes a day, however just playing 20-30 minutes a day, practicing stuff to improve your weak areas will add up faster than you think. (read: practicing, not jamming, or playing along to your favorite riffs).

3.-"Talent" is subjective.
Narutal talent is only a variable in the grand scheme of things. "Talent" will help you grasp and learn stuff faster, but that's all it will do for you, don't be disocuraged even if you feel you have no talent whatsoever for guitar playing, it only means you'll have to work a little bit harder, but nothing impossible.

4.-Learn songs by ear.
Probably, pretty weird advice in a tab forum, and probably something which should be number 2 in the list, priority wise. Learning by ear is difficult at first, but once you get into the habit of doing it, not only will you improve your ear for notes, you will also refine your technique. How? listen and start emulating what your favorite guitarists do, dissect their technique, note per note, pay special attention to how they vibrato, how they bend, how they use a certain technique instead of other alternatives, when and where, listen to all those small details and practice them, aim to play like him, your favorite player, guitar tablature won't teach you this. when you get stuck in a section you can't accurately play, practice it until you can before moving on. and this leads to number 5.

5.-Metronomes, the keys to success.

The title says it all. If you haven't yet, get a metronome, it will be a vital tool for any meaningful practice, it will be your measuring stick, your marker, as to just how good you can actually play something, and when you have actually mastered it. you don't even have to buy one! pretty easy to get one online these days. typically people start out slow, really slow if needed, and build from there towards faster speeds.

5.-Record constantly
Record your guitar playing, listen to how awful you sound the first time (technique wise at least). this will give you a better idea on how much you need to improve, and later on, how much you have improved. And it's actually a pretty fun activity! feel free to share your audio recordings with us.

6.-Grind over and over.
It aint pretty, it will even most likely get boring, but it will get the job done. with just some sacrifice you'll see results before you know it, remember the point is to grind properly , make sure you are practicing correctly, that is, slow down the metronome if you can't really play the phrase/lick/riff at the speed you're attempting, challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone and don't look back. participate in our riff challenges! they're definetly the kind of exercises required to start improving. the only reason they're hard is because you haven't actually tried them properly yet! that and you can't really rush things, it doesn't matter how long it takes to get them, just keep at it, even at super slow speeds.

7.-Theory. Oh Theory.
Learn theory, one of the biggest favors you can do to your playing. Albeit not a critical priority when you want to refine your technique, don't overlook theory for too long, at least the bare basics. You can play something like this with bare theory basics.

8.-Seriously, Realize you're in for a lot of work.
Don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away (right away being anywhere from a few weeks to a month or two). Don't get discouraged if you find it extremely boring to practice with a metronome. "Taking guitar seriously" isn't the most fun activity to do at first for a lot of people, but think about it, isn't it like that with nearly everything you do in your everyday life? if you have the ambition, you'll have the drive to do it. Happy grinding~

11 comments on So I heard you want to become a better guitar player?

Ah, i remember me old days

Ah, i remember me old days when I first got a guitar. 6-14 hours a day. No social life. Just play playplay. To this day i've still no social life (not that I care)

Edit: but yeah, people tend to do that with a lot of things....instant gratification. this stuff takes PRACTICE, just like an A in school, kids.

My suggestion: Don't make

My suggestion:

Don't make playing and learning guitar a so complex looking process, enjoy it more. And with "enjoying it more" i mean for example:

-Make yourself a songbook of popular songs, and play it in parties, in a trip with friends, street or wherever.
-Join some groups that let you learn new stuff you are interested in
-Play with some friends, do some personal projects, learn your country folklore music.

This has opened the way for new friend, fans, girls, knowledge, travels, job opportunities.

I enjoy this kind of life more rather than I used to be a 10 hours a day forever alone bedroom player.

This is a personal advice, you can do a intensive practicing schedule, but just don't forget to "DO SOMETHING" with what you learn, use it in the "REAL LIFE".


I actually agree with this

I actually agree with this lol, however I don't group it together with the actual guitar practicing process! all what you mention is what I consider enjoying the fruits of one's own work, playing live, with friends, randomly jamming, recording, learning new styles, listening to other genres, however sometimes there's specific stuff you need to sit down and work with for a bit. I also think anything is far more benefical than spending 10 hours a day playing alone lol, in fact I even mentioned 20-30 minutes a day were enough to build up skill, but of course, in the end it comes to just how much guitar matters for someone, and how fast they want to see specific progress!

I think like many other

I think like many other problems in life, the issue is not that people don't know what to do to improve. I'd like to think most people know where they are going wrong, but they don't have the willpower to change it (or they make excuses/deny that it really is the problem).

At the end of the day it's either something important enough to you and you want it bad enough to do it or you don't.

I'd like to think I'm getting better, but it's happening at a bit of a snail's pace because I'm trying to make guitar a fun experience and not some kind of korean MMO grindfest.

Sometimes however they do

Sometimes however they do ignore the whole metronome practice aspect though! and that's why I listed it lol, oh and maybe I should clarify, when I said grind over and over I didn't mean to religiously grind techninal stuff to get better, I meant practicing constantly stuff which you feel you canĀ“t play at will yet, but without getting worned out of course! for example not getting all obsessed to the point where you're like. "I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PLAY THIS MEASUREMENT FASTER THAN 120BPM, IM ONLY GONNA PRACTICE THIS EVERY DAY",nah that kind of mentality will wear out a lot of people, take things at your own pace, just know you should at least invest some time to it, though of course if that kind of grindfest mindset works for someone, then it's all good, no approach is better than the other one really, it's just proportional as to how fast someone will see progress, and if they are not finding it fun, and still grinding it just because they want to get better, how fast they'll get pretty worn out too, I know this isn't the point you're trying to stablish, but it definetly still applies! when I talk about sacrifice i'm mainly refering to whatever YOU (well, the person) feel like is a sacrifice! it can be whatever, depending on your reasons and motivations to play guitar, from playing 20-30 minutes a day, to devoting 10 of those minutes to metronome practice and the rest for chilling out with your favorite songs, or to learn theory, or to be willing to correct bad habits in your own technique, sacrifice is pretty much a varialbe too lol, but yeah sacrifice,hardwork and taking guitar seriously doesn't necesarily mean you have to turn guitar into a korean mmo~

Strange is right, in guitar

Strange is right, in guitar you need to strike a balance between fun and work. Imo it's better to practise on acoustic guitars, as the mistakes you make tend to leap out at you whether you are looking for them or not. Thus, even when you're doodling you still (hopefully) try to iron out mistakes in your playing - even if you do so unconsciously. I confess I don't practise hard enough, as I rarely play a piece slowly - which really is the best way to polish your playing. I do, however, take an arrangement apart and focus on the sections I find most difficult. I also find that the quality of practice counts, rather than quantity.

The people who play the guitar over 5 hours a day are generally not allowing their brain to programme all the information properly. A section of the brain can only take so much stimulation before it overloads. Also, keep in mind that practice doesn't make perfect - it makes permanent. If you practice when you're tired you are likely to continue making mistakes, which will programme themselves into your brain as the right way to play. Thus, you end up going backwards. 1-2 2 hours sessions is more than enough.

Also, child guitarists are soulless animals with no future. MUAHAHAHA!

Ooh, nice article StrangeJam.

Ooh, nice article StrangeJam. I agree with all of it. When I first started playing, I remember days when I'd play up to 12 hours. I sucked pretty bad, but I was really excited to learn. These days, I only really have time to go through my practice songs once every few days (all in all, they are 4.5 hours, but I don't always play them ALL, or let them loop). Definitely playing what YOU want to play is the key to enjoying the guitar. People give me crap sometimes about VG music; but if I did classic rock solos or just rhythm I wouldn't enjoy it at all - maybe someday I will, but since I started, I played what put a smile on my face, no matter what it was. It takes a while to get to that point where you're comfortable with a guitar and can play in front of people with ease, but when you do you can breathe a sigh of relief. Just gotta keep at it. I have a seriously strong drive within myself - I do everything I say I'm going to do - so it was pretty easy for me to learn/get good, but I realize not everyone has that.

Lol, how do you submit an

Lol, how do you submit an article? I would have submitted my scale and chord pdf or make a whole article of it for newbies.

I think the biggest Key to improving is not really a "grind" but to keep moving forward when you practice.People tend to get stuck practicing a Solo and that's it until they get it. Everything takes time, Most players write these things after 16+ years of playing so it will always be hard to learn to play them like they do.

Whenever I learn a Solo I will first Memorize it.
I will look at the patterns it contains and how it works
within it's scale and chord progression. After that I will drill it a few times with a metronome to get the proper tempo. But after that I wont touch it as much. Playing something for 12 hours a day wont really make you learn it quicker. Sure maybe 10-20 mins nonstop is even pushing it. You have to build the muscle memory in your hands AND GIVE IT TIME TO HEAL AND GROW. Thats why things get easier when you play them each day for a little bit and then move on to other things.

Just focusing on 1 thing like that will burn you out. But playing this and that and throwing this on the side each time you play will give you much more for your time. And when the time finally comes when you land that solo you would have had a bunch of other things as well.

which is in essence what I

which is in essence what I said in the following posts ! you elaborated on it some more though, which is perfect. And if you wish to submit an article you need to ask a mod to publish it as one, post it on the forums or PM it to me and i'll turn it into an article!

I agree, these are most definetly not the ultimate,definite set of rules to become good at guitar,there are many things involved in the process, but I think it's okay to share what has worked for me pretty well so far! one thing is critical here though. People reading this. Don't strain your muscles when you practice, let your hand rest when needed, don't play guitar if you're in pain. Any pain.

StrangeJam said People

StrangeJam said

People reading this. Don't strain your muscles when you practice, let your hand rest when needed, don't play guitar if you're in pain. Any pain.

Mental pain and does not count :)

Thanks a lot for the useful

Thanks a lot for the useful tips and videos, I have only recently started playing the guitar, hope I'll be a success!