Tip #1. Learn Something New Every Day
Find one guitar-related thing a day that you didn’t know already and learn it—and play it. It can be a riff, a lick, a chord, a scale, an exercise, a song, a melody, an altered tuning, a strum pattern, the part of a song you know all the riffs to but never bothered to learn the “boring” connecting transition sections of, whatever.
The discipline of seeking out, playing and internalizing a new piece of guitar knowledge on a daily basis will feed your subconscious musical instincts, add new concepts to your muscle memory and ultimately aid in your ability to express yourself and perform effortlessly on the guitar.
Make this a part of your day and you’ll find that as you continue on your journey, one thing will become two, then three, and on and on until you are devouring as much as you can absorb on the guitar, every day!
Tip #2. Learn the Major Scale Intervals
The major scale provides the building blocks of many of the chords and scales you'll come across as you make your way through your career.
By understanding the structure of the major scale, we can then begin to harmonize it in various ways to form triads, seventh chords and extended chords, as well as understand the modes that accompany them. The major scale has seven intervals: the root, major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth and major seventh. The interval distance between each interval forms the pattern W-W-H-W-W-W-H, where W is whole step (2-frets) and H is a half step (1-fret).
Tip #3. Learn FIVE Locations for Chords on the Fingerboard
How many ways can you play a C major chord? A good guitarist knows of at least five different places on the fretboard to play it, courtesy of the CAGED system. Practice playing four bars of the chord, and in each measure, play the chord in a new place on the neck. Of course, this could easily apply to the E chord or B7 or A9. We think you get the idea. But start with C.
Tip #4. Run Through Chords You Do Not Know
This tip is from Joe Satriani: It seems silly, but if your fingers don’t go to a certain place it’s because you haven’t challenged them to move in those ways through training. If you decided that you were going to learn every chord in a Joe Pass chord book, it would take awhile. Therefore, you'd need to work on it every day; there’s no substitute for bonehead repetition. The great thing is, once you get used to this type of daily disciplined exercise, you’ll literally force your fingers to go from chord to chord to chord — soon you'll be able to play lot's of chords that have no relation to each other — and over time, great things can come from this type of practice.
Tip #5. Learn Your Favorite Guitar Solos Note-for-Note
Eddie Van Halen has mentioned how he spent the early part of his career playing along with various records until the sound of what he played matched what was on the record he was playing to. Doing this will not only boost your vocabulary as a musician, but it will also improve your delivery, feel, stylistic awareness and your sense of soloing skill overall.
Tip #6. Track Your Progress
The growth of any guitarist can be improved by the awareness of that growth. As you develop the discipline to be learning and practicing on a daily basis, it is important to keep a log or diary of the process of your improvement in order to further maximize growth.
The easiest way to do this is to keep a log of your routine. You’ll find that keeping track of your practice will help you focus future practice sessions, maintain and continue awareness of progress and locate particularly fruitful practice phases in your past that can be replicated and upgraded when you feel your growth has stalled.
Create your own daily “workout log,” or use this example: