Mistakes are your friends!

Why mistakes are you friends

If you are not making any mistakes on the guitar, either you are amazing or, more likely, you are playing material that is well within your current level of ability. Playing well within our abilities is desirable when performing live or recording. These situations require good performances that are free from mistakes for obvious reasons.

The practice room however is where we should strive to improve our abilities. This could mean developing ...

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A metronome is mandatory!

A scenario

Young, keen guitarist gets a guitar. He spends time diligently figuring parts out, learning from recordings and magazines. He starts to feel quietly pleased with his progress and looks for ways to improve further. He hears that it’s a good idea to get a metronome so he keenly buys one and heads home to give it a try.

“Hmm… this isn’t very much fun at all… I know how to play this tune but this ...

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Do guitarists need to learn to read music?

A common quote about reading music

“…and do you know, [insert name] can’t even read music? Isn’t that amazing?”

We’ve all heard this line or something very similar to it.

To someone that dabbled in learning classical piano or violin back when they were at school, it might seem that the ability to read music is essential. But really it’s nothing more than a method of communicating information.

So, do guitarists need to learn to read music? This depends primarily on two things:

  1. The style of music they ...
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There is nothing natural about playing guitar!

My tennis years

Why does an article called ‘There is nothing natural about playing guitar’ start with tennis? Bear with me…

When I was in my teens, my friends and I joined the local tennis club. It was a small place with no coaching so none of us knew what good tennis technique was. We just battered the balls around with boundless enthusiasm in a way that felt right to us.

A couple of years later, with our abilities having developed steadily from ...

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Guitarist stuck in a rut?

From time to time it happens to just about everybody from writers to Olympic athletes. And guitarists are no different. For no apparent reason we can find ourselves feeling demoralised and unhappy with abilities that we used to be proud of.

Practice can feel like an unwelcome chore instead of something that we look forward to. Worse still the whole idea of developing our guitar skills can begin to seem a little pointless. We are stuck in a rut.

What to do if you’re a guitarist ...

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Guitar licks – why we should learn them

Why should we learn guitar licks?

“Isn’t it better to just improvise?”

The thing to recognise about improvising is that nobody does it in the purest sense of creating entirely original phrases spontaneously.

In reality an improvised solo is a combination of phrases (aka ‘licks’) that the performer has already picked up in the past; glued together with some improvisation.

Some guitarists may claim that they have never consciously sat down and learned and guitar licks.

That may be true, but we have all absorbed ...

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Guitar practice and spreading yourself too thinly

Time, our most valuable resource

Music is a vast subject with many different styles and areas of study. Time is a limited resource that very few of us feel we ever have enough of. How can we make the best use of the time we have with regard to guitar practice?

Having a well-structured guitar practice regime helps enormously to keep you focused on specific skills and tasks that you want to master (if you don’t have one yet click here for a free copy ...

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