3 Reasons Why Guitar Players "FAIL"

Learning to become a solid guitarist involves the combination of a lot of background work along with accepting a lot of helpful suggestions from other successful guitar players. The many great players that you'll cross paths with while learning guitar will be invaluable to you, so learn to be respectful of what they have to say - even if you don't like their words... 

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Why is it that some guitar players have so much trouble learning to get up to high levels of guitar playing? ... Well, that's what we're going to discuss on this episode of GBI...


Nobody actually sets out to limit their possibilities and take the road of failure. Nobody intentionally wants to sabotage their success. Yet so many guitarists seem to have an inability to be able to successfully organize their time, their attitude and their study approach to successfully learn how to play guitar up at a really high level.

So, why is this. What is it that "blocks" a players success when it comes to reaching a professional playing level? That's what we're going to discuss in this post of the "Guitar Blog Insider."

In my experience, there are several reasons why a guitar student never has much success reaching their peak. And, the first and foremost reason is that they are stubborn. They're too stubborn to take the advice from an accomplished and more successful professional guitar player who suggests new ideas to them.

When I was attending the Musicians Institute, I actually saw students stubbornly argue with amazing players like Paul Gilbert or Scott Henderson about playing guitar. It blew my mind!

I know that to most rational players, it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but while I was at music school, I witnessed students arguing about how to study things like; scales, arpeggios, and modes and even soloing... arguing with guitar players who are some of the most world renown guitar players out there.

These are guitarists with endorsement deals and custom guitars made by the top guitar companies. It sounds insane but, some players are so stubborn about trying new ideas, that they'll actually argue with a world renown player, who has their picture on the cover of every guitar magazine out there.

It seems ludicrous. But this is the reality of how some guitar players are, they think they know it all and they're going to broadcast that to anyone and everyone. Maybe they just want to argue? Maybe they enjoy wasting another person's time - I have no idea. To me it seems crazy, but some guitarists are just so incredibly stubborn, that they're willing to waste the time and energy on being amazing idiots toward other accomplished players who are only there trying to help them.

If you want to learn how to reach new heights with your playing, then learn how to take advice without arguing or acting like you're a "know it all." I've even encountered students in my own school who - over the years - fight me on every front.

It could be the simplest assignment. Like going away and practicing how to land on the major 3rd and lowered 7th of a Dominant 7th chord. And, right away, I'll get a response like, "Well, I always play Mixolydian Mode on those chords."

Okay, I can "get" that, but would you be willing to at least try playing into a couple of chord tones. And, then the argument begins. It's incredibly time consuming, (not to mention emotionally draining). But, some people just have a need to fight others, even if it's their guitar teacher.

The second reason some players fail at learning to solo is that they're way too sensitive about who they are, where they are at and what the benefits are that long term practice with yield. They think that everything they play needs to sound amazing right now. They think they have to sound like; Eric Clapton, or Jimmy Page or Hendrix, but that's completely crazy and unrealistic.

You are who you are, at this point in time, and while you can copy some of the attributes of the famous players, (and that's actually good), you're probably not going to be playing guitar like Hendrix or Clapton any time soon. So stop comparing how "bad" you are compared to those players. They're the legends of this business! Making those comparisons is a recipe for failure.

Also, if you foster a feeling of heightened sensitivity with regard to advice and critique, (and you're far too sensitive to take constructive criticism), you're going to have a lot of trouble developing your skills.

There's an old saying that goes, "Correct a wise person and they will love you, correct a fool and they'll get mad at you." And, I've certainly noticed this myself over many years - of being a guitar teacher.

The students who (for whatever reason) cannot focus on accepting constructive criticism tend to quickly resort to feelings of anger and upset. It's almost like they have a framework in their mind of who they are as a player and the teacher has smashed that image, (which can be actually a good thing).

But, the result with the "Too Sensitive" guitar student is that it ends up destroying the students, "personality" construct of who they "Think" they are as a guitarist and the teachers simple constructive criticism instead of being helpful, has the opposite result of exploding dynamite on the students, "unrealistic concept" of who they think they are as a musician.

The third reason for why students fail at being able to develop their skills for reaching higher level playing is that they are far too anxious about the whole process.

This problem is a really big issue. In fact, it's so big that when I've encountered players with a high degree of this problem, they can barely even churn out a basic melody.

When guitar students are too anxious, they end up allowing so much over-thinking to go on, that it clouds their mind and blocks them to where they can't even enjoy all of those small soloing triumphs that occur along the learning path - and when we are developing even the most basic playing skills, we need those small triumphs along the way.

Instead, the "anxious personality" will focus on everything they can't do. And, how come they can't solo like other players, and how come other players seem to make it all happen so easy. This "Anxious Personality" problem is really concerning, because it literally shuts down every part of a musician that allows them to access the joy, the motivation, and the creativity involved with making guitar music and improving skill along the way.

As if that isn't bad enough, quite often the overly anxious person is also one who will try and over compensate their confidence in order to not look like they're having troubles. So, as a teacher, we're often left scratching our heads trying to figure out what's going on with our student.

The student certainly isn't going to just come out and say that they're really anxious about something they can't do - instead they'll put up a front that there's some other reason, it's not their fault.

So, the teacher will get hit with a mountain of excuses about why the student didn't have much success playing through their assignments from the past week. It's a crazy loop.

Unfortunately this type of personality of guitar player will get psychologically locked into this loop and it's really hard to navigate through this - and help them - if you're the teacher.

I'd like to end the discussion by saying, 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 creativeguitarstudio.com and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section. If you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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