wonder how someone could be so good at
what they do?
Do you wonder if you could ever be as
good as your favorite guitar player?
Well, I'm here to tell you that you can!
I'm also here to give you some insight
as to how. There are several principles
you must adhere to if you are to ever
get to a level of great playing. Some of
these principles are not just for guitar
players. They apply to anything in life
that you're trying to accomplish that's
You MUST devote yourself to the task at
hand. This can be difficult if you
"don't seem to have the time" to play or
practice. You will have to sacrifice
some things in order to make time for
your music. For example, Friday nights
may be reserved as your weekly night to
go to the movies with your friends. It
may be a good idea to forget that for a
while and use the time more
constructively to develop your chops.
Now that you've set aside time for your
guitar playing, make sure you use it for
what it was intended! You've brushed off
your movie friends (who want you to be a
famous guitarist anyway, right?) and now
you're at home free and clear to
practice. BUT, you see that the season
finale of Star Trek is on tonight! DON"T
GIVE IN! RECORD IT! GO PLAY YOUR GUITAR!
Write out a practice schedule for
yourself. Work on specific techniques or
Here's an example:
6:00 - 6:15
Practice changing from Dm to C7 because
it gives you trouble.
6:15 - 6:30
Practice G Ionian scale at different
6:30 - 6:45
Practice right hand tapping.
6:45 - 7:00
Practice 2nd inversion Em arpeggio at
Do you know how many times you can play
a G major scale in 15 minutes? Somewhere
around 90! That's 90 repetitions closer
toward you becoming an expert!
You could even break this hour into six
10 minute intervals if you want. You
will be surprised at how much you can
accomplish in an hour of structured
Now that you have dedicated the time,
and are using that time to practice,
make sure you STICK WITH IT! If Fridays
at 6pm is your time to practice, don't
let other things interfere with that
Now, as everyone knows..."Life Happens".
If you see your time being violated,
make it up Saturday or Sunday. Try not
to skip your practice time completely
because it will "open the door" to
letting it happen again and again.
Now that you are devoting the time to
practice, you need to really concentrate
on what you are doing. For example, if
you're learning to sweep pick that Em
arpeggio, you may notice that at a
certain point in the sweep, you have a
problem moving your fingers. Isolate
your "problem spot" and just repeat that
spot over and over. Pay attention to
every move your hands are making.
Also pay attention to your nerves. Are
you relaxed or tense when trying to do
this? You need to stay relaxed of
course. I have actually helped students
play better by just having them
concentrate on relaxing!
This is a BIGGIE! You can't be a guitar
hero overnight or even after one year.
There is so much involved with being a
really good musician. Just because you
see someone play real fast, does not
make them a good musician.
- Can they compose a good tune?
- Can they improvise with others?
- Do they know how to bridal that speed
and mix it up with tasteful slow playing
- Do they have any sense of melody?
- Can they harmonize their leads?
Your playing and musicianship will
mature with time. Heck, I went to dinner
last week with Michael Fath and he was
telling me how he was studying with some
guy who was a master at a particular
style because "there is always something
else to learn". "The more you know, the
more you realize what you don't know".
Oh yeah...patience..."if you practice,
it will come". Give yourself credit for
being ahead of yesterday's trials.
6) BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU'RE DOING
Stay positive. Don't let others tell you
that it can't be done or "your song
sounds like two cats in a fight". You
have to go through it to get to it. You
may have to write ten lousy songs before
you begin to write good songs. Don't let
those ten lousy songs stop you! Learn
Nine times out of ten, a genius is
simply a person who refused to give up!