• Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best. John C. Maxwell

Become a Guitarist



Do you want to know why some guitar players become great musicians quickly and others (the unfortunate majority) struggle year after year to improve their guitar playing? You can probably think of several reasons why this happens, such as: different amounts of time spent practicing guitar and different levels of motivation among guitar players (among other factors). However, even among guitarists who practice for equal amounts of time and are equally self-motivated about music, there are certain underlying elements that separate those who WILL become great guitar players from those who will not.

Playing the guitar is a challenging yet satisfying skill. Learning how to play the instrument may be frustrating at first; but with discipline, dedication and time, anyone can become a good guitarist.

Learn the basics thoroughly. A good guitarist must be an expert in the fundamentals of guitar playing. The fundamentals include posture when holding the guitar, proper left and right hand finger positioning, and plectrum or pick usage.

Study musical notation. Though reading guitar tablature is easier, it generally has one drawback: it does not show timing. The beginner should at least be familiar with reading musical notation. Granted, some very talented guitarists are able to play without ever needing tablature or sheet music; they learn a song just by listening to it. But unless you are one of these people, you'll be better-off mastering musical notation so you'll have access to a wide collection of compositions.

Practice every day. Do drills and exercises to polish your skills and technique. Strengthen your fingers, and aim for a clean and clear tone. Avoid muted sounds unless the music calls for it.

Try to finish a piece, no matter how difficult it may be. Do not get into the habit of not finishing what you start. If a certain part of a song frustrates you, put the guitar down and take a break. You may even sleep on it, and start fresh the next day. Do it at your own pace, it doesn't matter how long you take to master a piece. Of course, remember the previous step. Be reasonable. Do not take on a complicated song or piece if you haven't mastered your basics.

Listen to different guitarists. Compare one artist's interpretation of a song to another's. Have an open mind. A good guitarist is familiar with different styles and genres.

Record your guitar-playing. Listen to yourself and identify your mistakes and weaknesses. Have another guitarist critique it. You'll improve more if you know what you must work harder on.