This article is going to be about the intangibles - the little things that many guitarists won't tell you about. Or don't even think about. Or, they don't even know that they should talk about...
Some of these ideas may be obvious. But what's obvious to you, may not be to others, and vice versa. Some may perhaps change your whole guitar pickin' life. Alright, let's get on with it then!
To Structure Or Not To Structure
There's two parts to this one. The first is that as a learning guitarist, you'll both want and need structure. A structured regimen and a solid beginning plan is really the fastest and most efficient way to learn guitar.
Using a guitar course is a perfect example of this - as it breaks down practice schedules, what you should be practicing and uses all of that to progress to move you onto the next step. It's really the perfect way to learn.
If you don't want to do that, then you have to structure the ways that you go about learning the things you've decided you want to study on guitar. Let me take that back you don't HAVE to follow a curriculum, but if you want to learn how to play guitar fast and be a well rounded player, you'll want an organized plan of attack.
I created a video on How To Practice that you'll want to watch. If you can combine the principles described in that video, with organized knowledge and a solid practice schedule the goals you've set for yourself will begin to take shape.
VIDEO: The Ultimate Guide for Practicing Guitar...
PLAN OF ATTACK
But there's another side to the whole structure thing. You should try to always expand your practicing time. It goes without saying that you definitely want to make sure that you're practicing as much as you can at the very beginning - but if you have an extra ten minutes here and there, don't tell yourself not to do it.Keep going on with your study time and expand upon what you're studying.
Along with this comes a simple rule of the practicing guitarist, never store your guitar in a case - out of sight. It will always help your studies more to keep your guitar out in the open. Don't tuck it (and its stand) into a closet. Leave it out, always ready to play.
That way, if you're feeling impulsive, you can instantly pick up the guitar and play. You don't need to be a stickler for your schedule - or to a set routine, just to its principles.
PUT IN YOUR PRACTICE TIME:
You bring home a new guitar and you want to bang on it right away. I've been there. Believe me - we've all been there.
But you gotta take it a bit slower. You gotta put in good practice time on solid material. Even the best guitarists put in weekly practice time to refine their skills. No matter how prodigious you are in the way of music, you'll want to constantly learn more on the instrument for musical development, (not just chops and speed, but the theory too). And you want to apply that type of learning at the very BEGINNING. Then you can rock out even more as the days playing the guitar go on in your life.
Those first few serious /structured practice sessions may be just a little boring. Learning notes, chords, strum techniques and key signatures are not the same as learning a rock riff. But, those musical concepts lay down the foundation for your life's playing.
Just remember, that you'll have the rest of your life to play rock riffs - and you want that time to be spent playing rock riffs at the best level as you can. Not re-learning what you "should have done" in the first weeks and months with the instrument.
If you don't know what to practice in that first week, watch my popular YouTube video on the "Six Skills for Beginners," and learn EXACTLY how you can organize those vital first few days.
VIDEO: Six Skills for Beginners...
GO SLOW and BE REPETITIVE:
The bottom line is that you absolutely 100% gotta go slow. There's no way around it. You'll be a rocker one day, just not in the first day, (or in the first week).
It may not even be the slow rate and the pace that sets-up those first few lessons, weeks and months go so rough for you. It's that they can get pretty repetitive. Scales, chords, practicing songs. It isn't as much fum as playing riffs from your favorite tunes. But that's truly the way to get there. That's the foundation. That's what tabs will never give you.
Solid, well organized repetitive practice builds muscle memory. The more you get this routine down with a part, the less difficult it will be to play that same part in the future. And, in the long run, every new idea that you try will feel easier and easier as time goes on.
Keep various types of guitar picks around for when your strumming hand is still testing what you enjoy for connecting up with the guitar strings. Even if you don't like guitar picks, (some people prefer using their plucking hand fingers instead) the pick will let you practice longer in the early days.
If you do like guitar picks, buy a bunch of them. Keep some near your guitar. Keep some in places you might play. Keep some in places you don't think you'll play. You may just start jamming there one day and need one. Help your future self out! Most of all, keep them in your pockets. You never know when you may need one.
PRACTICE HARD and DEAL WITH IT:
Repetition is the mother of all skill. The arms, wrists and fingers on both of your hands are the key components here. They are the real details of the whole "guitar player" thing. You might get bored, and the hands will get tired - but that's how all this works. Play it again, and again and then some more - that's how you will get good..
But more than tired, your fingers are going to hurt a bit. Keep your fretting-hand fingernails short and learn to deal with a little pain. They'll also be some finger-tip soreness too. Eventually, this will build up to a whole lot of calluses. It happens. It's going to happen. You're just going to have to remember its kind of a right of passage for all guitarists. You'll laugh about it someday. Just don't hate the process, every guitarist goes through this phase.
IMPORTANT: If you begin to experience a lot of pain, then you're doing something wrong. Review the instructions from your course curriculum again. You should always be comfortable. Stay relaxed, work slowly and limit your time if pain starts to interfere with producing a free and flowing guitar performance. Watch my YouTube lesson below on, "Guitar Playing and Hand Pain," to learn more.
VIDEO: Guitar Playing and Hand Pain
LEARN YOUR SONG PARTS and TECHNIQUES CORRECTLY:
Play every song part in the pieces that you study correctly the first time. When you learn something, learn how to do it the correct way. It may take you an extra ten minutes, or maybe even an extra hour, but it's absolutely worth it. Once you learn a technique or a guitar song-part the right way, you'll never go back. It will become ingrained within you and you'll feel a sense for it at a whole other level of skill and performance.
This also extends out to learning how to organize your; neck theory, your songs and especially your guitar techniques (playing them perfectly right from the very beginning). There's a long-standing reason behind why techniques and neck theory must be done properly. And, it's because the "correct" way allows for a more relaxed and more flowing execution of the idea allowing for the very best technical approach.
Be aware, that musical ideas performed correctly on guitar will take a lot of patience (and a lot of rehearsal time). There's a reason why all of the guitarists before you have struggled with nailing them.
It is because playing ideas perfectly on the guitar are not necessarily the easiest way, (the easy road). To accomplish guitar concepts at a high degree it will take time and patience.
The short-cut of "inventing" your own way /approach seldom leads to success. This approach instead almost always leads to bad-habits. And, bad habits can set you back years in some cases. Play it right the first time - and then every time after that.
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