10 Tips That Will Make You a Better Guitarist

1- Learn scales, chords(arpeggios) on one string.Learn the distances between the notes(numbered Intervals) as well as the notes themselves. No matter what style of music you play, you must understand the basic’s of Chording, Melody and Harmony. Being able to visualize an octave and the relationship of notes, laid out in a straight line (like on a piano) will help you make sense of the different positions.

2- Learn scales and chords in as many positions as possible,(there’s 5 basic shapes)). Learn how to build them.What are the similarities, differences? How does the G-B hump effect them? Chords are built from scales so try to think of them as being the same.

3- Don’t try to play new material at full speed. Break riffs into smaller pieces and cycle them. When counting slowly, subdivide; 1 (+ 2 and), 2 (+ 2 and), 3 (+ 2 and), 4 (+2 and). Always tap your foot, do it without thinking. This internalizes the beat.

4- Practice in your head without your Guitar. Being able to visualize a chord or riff, is the first step to executing it consistently or altering it. Humming scales and melodies is a great way to internalize the intervals.

5- If you are having trouble learning new material or techniques, sleep on it. The 1/2 hour before you fall asleep at night, is the best time to practice visualizing the fingerboard, chords, scales and patterns. Don’t count sheep, count frets!

6- Pay attention to how different chords, phrasings, intervals and tonal colors make you feel, (Maj-rising, min-falling).Even non-musicians understand Tonal Gravity.

7- Learn the cycle of Fourths and Fifths. They are called “Perfect” for a reason. You should always know where the IV and V are, in relation to the Root note. J Hendrix’s mastery of the circle of Fifths is obvious (“Hey Joe” chord progression is a good eg.) Interactive circle of IVths and Vths. Don’t worry about memorizing the circle, try to hear the difference between a fourth and Fifth. They are Inverse Opposites.

8- Teach yourself, even if you are studying with a teacher. Try to solve problems with math, logic and just plain screwing around(Abstract Reasoning). Learning what you shouldn’t do, is part of learning what you should. Don’t be afraid to “Noodle” because you might hit an off note. Everybody learns differently. You have to develop your own sense of what works and what doesn’t. Link;https://gorehound1313.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/the-importance-of-being-a-self-taught-musician/

9- Practice pressing down on the string with just enough pressure to get a clear note, no buzz or trail offs. Avoid squeezing the neck, it slows you down and makes it hard to move to the next position.

10- most new players practice until they get it “right”. If you want to excel at playing an instrument(or any discipline), you have to practice, until you can’t get it wrong.

5 comments

  1. most new players practice until they get it “right”. If you want to excel at playing an instrument(or any discipline), you have to practice, until you can’t get it wrong.

    That is a great quote. Can you let me know the source? Is it yours?

  2. When developing your musical skills, make sure to think beyond the skills that are specific to guitar. You will be working on many guitar skills – various guitar techniques, chords, scales, soloing, etc., – but don’t neglect other skills that are not guitar specific like ear training (also called aural skills and very important), song writing, improvising, creativity, reading, music theory, etc.

    Jason@VanEman

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