The Road to Better Guitar Playing...

There are three primary areas that hold players back. They are Fingering, Hand Position and Poor Movement. Once defined, and corrected, making these changes will have magical results...

When guitar players make a mistake, they naturally take it as an “unwanted result.” And, they often get quite upset. This has a cause and effect to it which can really disrupt a practice session and should be changed to produce a different (more successful) result.

There is a reason for every playing mistake, you just have to know what to look for. Once you define it as an “unwanted effect” you can find its root cause and plan how to improve it and get a different result - the result you want.

Therefore, you need to get into the habit of regarding every “unwanted result” as a learning opportunity.

Let's cover a collection of ways to improve guitar playing for the better. These will include three areas that will work to instantly bring you more success, with far less stress.

One of the main reasons why so many guitar students get stuck soon after beginning to play, (and find they cannot make progress), is their lack of success with creating chord and scale fingerings. It's not easy to accomplish, and it becomes more difficult when trying to switch between chords and scales.

The chromatic scale can be a quick and easy scale for a guitar teacher to show a student right away, however it is an extremely difficult scale to perform correctly, without building in bad habits.

No beginner can do this scale properly, just as no beginner can perform a major or a minor scale properly. Getting the finger technique and coordination takes a long time, and it takes a lot of focus placed upon watching out for incorrect finger set-ups.

TIPS: Never play with the pad of the finger. Arch the knuckles and use the very tips of each finger. Above all else, get a professional instructor to analyze your technique and give you feedback. Once you learn where your weak areas are, you can work at making improvements to them for the better.

The two most common fretting-hand positions used on guitar are the "thumb behind the neck," and "thumb over the neck." Each position offers the player a different option for both technique and sound. And, it's important to master both positions over time.

The "Thumb Behind the Neck" fret-hand position (sometimes called the "Classical Position") is more difficult to develop. This "thumb down, fingers up and over" position creates a "slanted" position of the fretting hand hand.

However, it is worth developing properly, and it is recommended. Without having the finger separation and position stretch opportunity of this position, you will find many things difficult or even impossible to play on guitar.

The "Thumb Over the Neck" position is equally important to master if you wish to play any kind of lead work involving the bending of strings. In the "Thumb Over the Neck" Position, the thumb is up and over the neck, and must be, in order to provide the leverage necessary to do produce a controlled bend, and more importantly, a controlled vibrato.

TIP: Work with a teacher to learn how to do both of these techniques. have your teacher watch you and comment on your hand movements.

Great players do not overcome difficulties, they learn how to transform those difficulties into easy, flowing, and comfortable movements. Only through correcting bad habits can we learn to optimize these movements and perfect them.

This ability to transform difficulties is paramount to playing the guitar. When technique is, refined, intelligent, and effective - that is this magic power that transforms difficulties into easily performed movements, resulting in beautiful and inspired guitar music.

A great player has learned, (either from outward instruction or inner intuition), the laws of operation on their instrument. And others can rarely tell what they are doing by looking at them, (because most of what they are doing seems invisible).

Everyone is always looking for the “secret” to good guitar playing, although few seem to find it. There really are “secrets” to good playing. Those that know them often don’t know they know them, and make only clumsy and half formed attempts to convey them.

At best, a good player may point you in the right direction, but most players cannot take you there. It takes a master teacher to take you there. All of the secrets of good playing come down to one thing: they enable us to more fully optimize the movement process we use in playing. Good teachers can spot those areas and help students perfect them.

TIP: Appreciating what this really means is important. Learning to do it for yourself is essential if you are to be a good or great player. Get assessed by a good guitar teacher and learn where your faults are with your movements, it will do wonders to correcting them.


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