Always Do This BEFORE Playing Guitar! (HUGE DIFFERENCE)

Would you be interested in a way to drastically improve your guitar playing? Just do this one thing before every time you sit down and start playing guitar and I guarantee you will get better skill and better accuracy in no time...

I’m not talking about some "secret" guitar exercise, or a daily collection of guitar drills that will just pile on tons of work for you. No, it’s actually much simpler than that.

That said, it’s not going to be easy because it will require discipline to integrate into your guitar playing day. 

In this post, I’m going to make you aware of your own efforts for playing more accurately and how you can get better right and left hand coordination.

If you integrate this idea, (and hopefully you will), it will reveal to you how much more you have to give when it comes to better guitar playing.


In this post I’m going to give you the key, the one thing you should do before every single time you play guitar that will instantly make every note you play better. And, it involves perfection of your efforts when you play notes and chords on the fret-board.

Now, this is not my idea or anything I didn’t come up with this, it actually is from one of the most highly respected guitar instructors I’ve ever sat down in front of, and that’s the legendary Jazz guitarist and educator “Howard Roberts.”

See, Howard impressed upon his students, the importance of never just jumping into playing. But rather to take 5 min prior to playing anything in your day and approaching what you do in that small window of time with absolute complete perfection.

So, Let’s dig a little deeper into this and get started with what Howard Roberts passed on to me, and now I’m about to pass on to you as the key to always do each day BEFORE playing the guitar.

To get started, I’d like to cover two sections from the famous Howard Roberts book, “SuperChops.” 

Now, even though this book was published back in 1978, what I’m about to share with you is every bit as important today as it was back then when these words were written.

“At the beginning of each day, warm up for 5 min. playing notes all over the fret-board. Play very slowly on low, high and medium pitches to develop the feel for string travel in a given picking area. 

This is important because notes played in different areas of the neck have different feel and string travel, and not balancing this at the start of your day can create coordination problems between the left and right hands. 

Your daily goal is to have all attacks occur smoothly and perfectly with the left and right hands operating with excellent simultaneous synchronization.” 

Let’s zoom in on the guitar so you can find out what this looks like.

Exercise - Video Clip 1).

Now, what Howard Roberts is really saying here has to do starting from a point of slow perfection. 

If we begin each day with slow perfect playing, the rest of our day will carry on with a level of excellence that corresponds to the work we had done upon starting our day.

Now, let me share with you another exert from his SuperChops book about the elimination of performance “Hang-ups.”

“During the 5 min time frame before starting your guitar playing day, make sure to play a series of notes very slowly and listen very carefully for flams between the pick attack and the note being pressed down by your fretting hand. 

Start with all down-strokes making every note sound as loud and as strong as the next. Then use all up-strokes in the same manner playing short scale sections as well as, interval skips. Then, switch to consecutive down and up strokes, and finally switch direction playing consecutive up - then down strokes.” 

Let’s once again zoom in on the guitar so you can learn exactly how this works.

Exercise - Video Clip 2). 

Howard Roberts was without a doubt a very highly thought of player at an incredible level of skill. 

Musicians like him, all possess one common trait. They fully understand that the growth process of learning an instrument is about improving perfection.

The important part of learning “instrument playing perfection,” has to do with what you play and how you play the period before you start playing guitar for fun every day.

So, if you switch to considering the overall physical feeling of playing notes slowly and perfectly at the beginning of your day. 

And, you start to consider how the quality of each note that you play sounds, and how the pick strokes and the note location on the fingerboard can have a role in creating that, then you’ll reach a new level of playing skill that will have you persist with greater levels of playing perfection through the remainder of your day.

Alright, in wrapping up, I want to add one more piece to this topic and it has to do with what really happens during progress on an instrument.

It’s actually the reverse of what most players think it is... See, progress involves an uphill climb. 

And, as a player your growth process has more to do with how you begin your day (and how long during your day) that you’re trying to perform things that you can’t play very well.

And, this is important because it’s the musical ideas that stretch you and make you feel like you’re pulling a train uphill that are actually the things which make you a better musician. 

If you only play things that make you feel like you’ve got the world by the tail, you’re not expanding your horizons and challenging your skill set to reach for higher levels of ability.

Think of your guitar playing as a chart that shows your skills increasing in value.

As you ascend in skill you’ll be passing through periods of Self Questioning, of Further Progress, of Plateau’s and then more Self Questioning and more Progress. And, that right there really is the recipe for musical excellence!


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