Almost everyone who decides they would like to learn to play the guitar, reaches a point where their technique plateaus.
They dream of being able to play just like their idols- whether that be Jimmy Hendrix or Eric Clapton, but they easily become frustrated when no matter how much they practice, they keep getting it wrong.
Like most things in life, the more frustration you put into your guitar practice, the more you will attract a negative outcome, which is why it is important to follow these expert tips when you are in a cool, calm and collected frame of mind. Here are 4 easy ways you can improve your guitar playing today.
Once you have mastered these, then check out this article for more exercises.
A perfect technique comes from repetition and muscle memory.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no secret to playing faster. It just comes down to memorising which fingers need to hit which string and when!
Practice makes perfect, so if you take a deep breath and focus hard, then you will soon notice that you are able to increase the pace of your finger movements without even thinking about it. And that is exactly what you need to do- not think about what it is you are trying to do, or the next step.
Just practice and then practice some more, until playing even the most complicated riff comes naturally. This video gives some great guidance on speed and picking tech, so be sure to check it out once you have mastered the basics.
Take frequent breaks
As I mentioned earlier in the introduction to this article, no good comes of trying to play the guitar when you are feeling frustrated and tense.
Of course you are going to get it wrong, but the key is to keep going until you get it right! In order to do that effectively, you must make sure to take breathing breaks at least every 20 minutes, allowing you to practice for longer periods of time overall.
Additionally, you can master the best technique in the world, but if you are not pouring the right emotion into your guitar playing chances are the song is not going to sound good in any event.
Being a good guitar player means being able to put your own groove into the song and to sound confident in your ability whilst doing so.
Pick your pick!
Your pick, or plectrum as it is officially called, is also essential to playing the guitar with fluidity and ease. Oftentimes people find that experimenting with different picks allows them to improve their techniques in leaps and bounds.
The way you hold your plectrum is also crucial to your success as a guitar player. Many amateur guitarists hold their plectrum as if it is something they are terrified to drop, yet tension of any kind when it comes to playing the guitar is only going to be counterproductive.
You should be holding the plectrum just tightly enough that it does not fall out of your fingers, no more.
Set clear practice goals
Another key to successful guitar playing aside from the points mentioned above, is to have clear goals in mind of what you want to achieve from your practice sessions.
Overwhelm is the result of focusing on the big picture of becoming a pro guitarist, rather than breaking down your goals into bite sized, achievable pieces.
It is disheartening and demoralizing when we keep tripping up and getting things wrong no matter how hard we try, therefore it is always better to set yourself small and reachable goals so your sense of personal achievement will keep morale high and add to your motivation.