7 Things That Will Make You A Better Guitarist Right Now

by Mike Philippov


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Do you want to improve your guitar playing quickly but struggle to do so?

Although there are many steps you need to go through to reach your goals on guitar, you will start making progress MUCH more quickly when you learn how to get greater “results per minute” of practicing.

Here are 7 things that will help you get better at guitar as soon as you begin applying them to your practicing:

1.Put Your Guitar Playing Under A Microscope

You will not become a better guitarist unless you understand how to identify and solve the causes of every problem you have in your playing. Very often you may not know “what” problems exist in the music you are practicing and the only thing are aware of is that you “can’t play something”. In that case, you can take the musical section you are working on and intentionally make it more difficult either for your picking hand or the fretting hand or for both hands working together (2 hand synchronization). This will help to expose the problems you are having in a much more obvious way and will enable you to identify their causes and start to fix them. To see an example of what I mean and a more specific demonstration of how to use this idea in your guitar playing, watch the video below:

Watch the second part of this video on this page about practicing guitar correctly.

2. Ask Yourself This Question: “How Is This Helping Me?” For Every Exercise That You Practice On Guitar (And Be Able To Answer It!)

All too often guitar players may practice dozens of exercises without a clear idea of how these materials are supposed to help them in their playing. This is a problem for 2 reasons:

1. When you don’t know how or why an exercise is helping you improve on guitar, you have no way to measure your progress or to know if you are even practicing something correctly.

2. When you practice guitar exercises at random (without asking the clarifying question above), your real guitar playing problems remain unsolved (often for years) because you never addressed them in a purposeful way by seeking out ”specific” exercises and guitar practice approaches to fix them.

So what you need to do is ask yourself the question I wrote above for everything you are working on in your guitar practice sessions. Doing this will help to clear your practice schedules of the exercises that do not help you become a better guitarist and will help you to have an easier time finding the actual exercises that DO help you improve your guitar playing.

You can learn more about this topic in this video about the best way to learn to play guitar.

3. Organize Your Guitar Practice Items Based On The Objectives They Are Helping You Achieve

Like most guitar players, you likely already have lots of “things to practice”. To get the most out of your guitar practice time, you need to not only know which areas of your playing certain exercises help you improve, but also need to group exercises (that improve the same area of playing) into categories. Doing this will improve your guitar practice efficiency in multiple ways:

1. You will be able to develop multiple skills on guitar at any given time, without neglecting to practice important areas of your musicianship for years (like a lot of guitarists do). This will help you to become a better guitarist and reach your guitar playing goals much more quickly.

2. You will be able to intelligently rotate between the exercises you practice on guitar while continuing to develop the same general areas of your guitar playing. This will help you to avoid boredom from always practicing the same exact exercises day after day but at the same time will keep your practicing focused directly on your goals. By minimizing boredom you will also be more likely to practice “consistently” and make faster progress as a result.

4. Turn Anything You Find Hard To Play Into An Instant “Guitar Exercise”

Many guitarists, when faced with inability to play something, often guess (incorrectly) as to what their problem is and begin to look elsewhere for exercises to solve what (they assume) their true challenges are. This is a very ineffective way to practice because most of the time your guitar practice schedule will become filled up with items that aren’t taking you in the direction you need to go.

To avoid this, isolate specific elements of the music you have trouble playing, find out WHY you are not able to play them and treat them as exercises to improve the exact areas of your guitar skills that need to get better.

Of course I'm not saying that you need to completely abandon all exercises you are currently practicing (nor am I saying that all general guitar exercises are ‘useless’), however you need to realize that the most relevant guitar exercises for YOU already exist within the very music you are learning to play.

5. Learn How To Make Your Guitar Picking Technique More Efficient

No matter what your current skill level is on guitar, you will become a better guitarist if you focus on improving your picking hand technique. One of the fastest and easiest ways to do this is to make the motions of your picking hand much more efficient. Check out this (totally free) guitar picking technique video where I explain the best approach to use for achieving this.

6. Set Very Specific (Measurable) Objectives For Every Guitar Practice Session

Similar to ensuring that you understand how each practice item is helping you get better at guitar, you MUST set specific “micro” objectives/goals for every practice session you do. Doing this will keep your mind focused on achieving a specific RESULT and will directly affect everything you will think about and do during your guitar practice sessions. By the end of your practice time you will have a much clearer idea of what was actually accomplished that day and what you might need to do differently to make your practice time more effective.

Holding yourself accountable in this way is completely different from the type of mindless practicing that most guitar players do and is one of the biggest reasons why only few guitarists make massive progress in their guitar playing while so many do not.

7. Measure And Track Your Guitar Progress

Few guitar players measure their improvement on guitar, beyond the obvious activity of writing down their metronome tempos for guitar technique exercises. Measuring your progress is not only also possible to do for all other areas of your guitar playing, but also helps you to massively speed up your improvement in several ways:

1. Tracking your progress on guitar will give you very clear feedback on the overall effectiveness of your guitar practice habits. If your progress is not noticeable and consistent, that is a sign that something needs to change in your practice approaches to get better at guitar more quickly.

2. You can more quickly identify which areas of your guitar playing are improving faster than others and take appropriate action to improve the weaker skills.

To learn more about how to track your improvement on guitar, read this article about guitar playing progress.

The most important thing I encourage you to do with the information you just read is to begin USING it in your guitar practicing as soon as possible. The amount of progress you will see in your guitar playing will be limited to how consistent and persistent you are in applying the ideas from this article into your guitar practicing. When you make your practice sessions more productive, you will speed up your rate of progress and your fulfillment from playing guitar will go through the roof!

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