Many people dream of becoming the next Petrucci or Hendrix. But only a few can ever make it. This is primarily because it is easy for guitarists to get stuck in a rut and eventually stagnate at a certain point.
Following the right direction is the key to becoming a great guitarist. Without a certain direction, it is easy to end up being a mediocre guitarist. Or worse, having your guitar lying in some corner collecting dust.
While there isn’t one fixed formula and every legend has had their own journey, getting a few basics right will help you along the way. So for newbies who picked up the guitar a few weeks back to advanced players who feel their progress hit a glass ceiling, here are 5 tips to improve your playing.
Practice With Purpose
It isn’t uncommon for guitar greats to say that they play to enjoy music. What they don’t often mention is the amount of discipline they followed for years.
There are times to enjoy music, and there are times to practice strictly no matter how much you don’t want to. Always have a goal that you should have achieved after a practice session. Random noodling won’t really take you anywhere and leave you feeling dissatisfied.
Practice with intent, and see yourself gradually master the guitar.
Take It Slow
No, you’ll not start shredding the first day you pick up that Ibanez. It takes enormous practice and discipline to rip out great solos and eventually make one of your own.
You should be willing to take things slow and master one bit at a time. Let your mind and muscles work in perfect coordination with each other.
Once you are comfortable playing it slow, then gradually increase your speed until you can play each note perfectly at your desired speed.
Watch Your Posture
This is a rookie mistake that can hinder progress for even advanced guitarists. Always be mindful of your posture. If you sit and play, see that your spine isn’t twisted or strained and that your picking hand isn’t in a bad position. Discomfort can cause pain and eventually discourage you from practicing.
If you stand and play, your guitar strap is well adjusted. Don’t try to imitate professionals and end up hanging your guitar down to your knees just to look cool. Do what feels naturally comfortable to you.
(Below are some great examples of good posture while standing and sitting)
Use A Metronome
Never underestimate the importance of the metronome. No matter how fast you can shred, if you’re playing out of time, it kills the song.
The best way to make sure you’re playing on the beat is to practice your exercises with a metronome. It is really easy to get your hands on one. Just search in your app store, and you’ll find lots of great apps that’ll serve the purpose.
Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced player, incorporating this tip into your playing as soon as you can will help you to stay in time very quickly.
Don’t Hesitate To Take Inspiration
There is no harm in following someone who plays better than you. Research your guitar heroes and see what they do. What things they did right that allowed them to reach where they are.
Sure, don’t blatantly copy them. But there’s no harm in being inspired. Following them will give you tons of new ideas to work with and eventually make you a better guitar player. This will also get you out of the feeling of being stuck.
Just remember, you’ve got to try new ideas at all times to keep moving on your musical journey.
Getting good at guitar isn’t a hard thing. In fact, it is really simple. You just need to be disciplined enough to follow what’s required. If you do that, you’ll be ripping solos that you once dreamt of playing.
Just be consistent and stay focused.