3 Tips For EVERY Guitarist

As a full time guitar tutor, I have the privilege of teaching a wide range of students of all ages and skill levels. This makes for an interesting and very busy working week! There are some common traits that I’ve seen amongst a large majority if students that can quite easily be fixed.

1) Play the same way EVERY time

I often see guitarists playing songs differently every time they play it. Whether it’s forgetting to use hammer-ons or pull-offs, using different fingers for notes, changing upstrokes to downstrokes or even sliding instead of bending, many guitarists are constantly changing the way they play. This is not good at all! The whole idea of practice is to rehearse something the EXACT same way EVERY time. Repetition is what develops skill. So make sure you play your songs exactly the same every time. This also applies to scales, licks, exercises etc.

2) Metronome

Timing is everything. Any musician who can’t keep a steady beat is essentially useless. I know this sounds harsh and I don’t mean any offence by it, but if any form of playing is not in time then there really very little, or no, use for it. If you’re a guitarist who struggles to keep time, get a metronome and start playing to it! This will also help develop your speed because you will be able to measure it properly.

3) Learn It The RIGHT way!

Now this is one I’m pretty big on.

If you’re learning a song, scale, chord or absolutely anything else – then learn it the correct way! So many guitarists try learning things that they find difficult and so make their own way of playing it. A great example of this is someone not knowing how to pick a fast phrase properly, so they just use hammer-ons and pull-offs to get them by. This is only ok if you are desperately needing to have the song learnt for a performance coming up within a few days and you quite simply don’t have time to practice it. For all other scenarios, I recommend to put the hard work in and learn the proper way of playing the song. This may mean needing to spend some time practicing exercises and developing skill and technique. This is totally worth the time and effort it will take. It doesn’t matter how good you are at a B-grade version, it’s still not the real deal and ultimately leaves room for improvement.

Regardless of how skilled you may be, these tips are useful for everyone!

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