GUITARISTS: How to Break Bad Habits - Part 01

If you play guitar, you probably have a few bad habits. It might be something simple like only playing music that you already know, and never venturing off to music that's foreign to you. Music that will force you to leave your comfort zone and try new ideas is extremely beneficial. This 2-part series will explore several ways that you can start breaking away from your bad habits...

Other bad habits will also often include neglecting Guitar technique. And, neglected technical issues can become problematic. These may include poor picking hand technique, or a lack of accuracy with the fretting hand. No matter what it is, once these habits settle in, they can become a real burden to your guitar playing.

If bad habits aren't addressed, they can last for years... 

So, on this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," we're going to discuss, "How to Break Your Bad Habits." This will be a two-part episode, so be sure to watch both segments of the program...


BAD HABIT #1). "No Plan"
The number one bad habit of guitar players is that far too many guitarists have no established plan for developing themselves on the instrument. If you have no plan, you can't accomplish much. What are you going to study? How are you going to grow? What music can you play that will be a challenge? These are all basic questions that need to be addressed if your guitar playing will expand. And, this can be an especially bad situation for a player who has no instructor and no curriculum to follow.

Start by taking out a sheet of paper and write down a few things about where you are now. Do you know the notes on your neck? Are you aware of how many sharps and flats are in the keys of music? Do you know barre chords, do you know your major and minor seventh chords? Can you perform a guitar solo? Are you good at rhythm guitar? These are basic things, but so many guitar students haven't a clue about a number of them.

Far too many guitarists do what teachers will often call "noodle." They putter around on musical ideas that are well known to them. Ideas that are easy to play. Ideas that require no real effort to perform. It might be fun, but doing this offers nothing with regard to expanding your potential. In order to get better, you've got to expose yourself to new material. And, that means ideas that you do not understand.

All it takes is making a list, and then forming a plan based upon the list.

BAD HABIT #2). "Neglect of Rhythm"
If you were placed into a 3 piece band, and you had to play rhythm guitar, how well would you do? It's a pretty simple job (as guitar jobs go). It is just, "Playing Rhythm Guitar." But, would you do alright in that band? It would mean that you'd need to know quite a few chords. You'd need to learn a couple of dozen songs. And, most importantly, you'd need to have a good sense of rhythm.

Your timing would have to be there as well. After all its rhythm guitar - right. Your sense of rhythm needs to be pretty darn good if you're going to have some success. And, if you think that you might be neglecting your rhythm guitar skills, it's probably time to start considering taking a closer look at your rhythm guitar ability.

My suggestion would be to get a drum machine and learn to play grooves in as many styles as possible. Both the Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-3 and the Boss DR-880 are fantastic. Plus, there's also the Alesis SR-16 along with the Alesis SR-18 are excellent, and they won't break your bank account.

Once you have a drum machine, run through the units presets and keep it on for hours. It'll do wonders for developing your abilities for rhythm guitar.

BAD HABIT #3). "Lack of Learning Flexibility"
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a student say, "I don't need to learn that," or "I'm not going to bother trying or learning that because Hendrix and Clapton and Gilmour they didn't know that," I would probably be able to retire right now - this minuet.

It's a little upsetting that so many guitar players are under the impression that just because some famous player didn't know how to do something, that somehow that concept is relevant. Not everybody is going to get rock-star fame when they're 24 years old like Hendrix. Or tour the world at 22 yrs. old like David Gilmour. It's so unrealistic to compare yourself for even one second to some of these guitarists.

What they knew, or did not know is largely irrelevant to you. Especially when you're trying to compare what they were doing on guitar 50 years ago, yes that was 5 decades ago.

When you look at what they knew compared to what most of us have to do just to play a weekend wedding gig today, it doesn't even compare. In fact, it is unlikely any of those players would be able to keep up to most players of today who simply work in top-40 bands.

In this era, you have to be flexible and you need to be ready to learn everything. All the theory you can, all the scales you can, learn to read, learn classical guitar, learn jazz guitar. The more you can learn the better. And, the more you learn, the more that you'll earn.

Well, that brings us to the end of part one of this two part series on "Break Your Bad Guitar Habits." In part two we're going to take a more hands on approach, I'm going to offer you some exercises that you can do to attain better technique and gain a better understanding of the neck, how notes are organized and how you can move away from the bad habits that are holding you back from playing better guitar.

Thanks for joining me, If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

And, when you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses that I've organized for the members of my website. I hope you enjoyed this program, if you did, then give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll see you on the next video.



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