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Wrist hurting when playing guitar?

Why Does Your Wrist Hurt When Playing the Guitar?

If you have pain in your hand and your wrist when you are playing the guitar, we are going to look at some of the reasons why this might be and how to solve it.

If you are right at the beginning of learning the guitar, then you may have pain that you have to go through in the beginning while your hand grows stronger.

wrist hurting playing guita

There is a couple of things we will go through that might help. It’s important to remember it’s normal to have certain level of pain when you first start learning.

Make sure you don’t play through shooting pain.

Keep your practising to about 20-30 minutes when you are on your own. If you have a great guitar teacher, making sure your technique is correct. You can play for hours and you would be fine.

Biggest Cause Of Wrist Pain

One of the biggest cause of wrist pain is to do with tension in the rest of your body.

Whether it’s in your shoulder or back or any other areas.

This tension may stem from how you are sitting. I have linked below a video on how to sit properly to help you with this to ensure you have good sitting technique when playing the guitar.

Playing Barre Chords

If you are struggling with barre chords. Which can happen whether you’ve been playing for 6 months or 6 years, it all depends on where your guitar playing is at.

When you first learn to play barre chords, you need to build up strength in your wrist to be able to play them for long periods of time.

In the beginning, keep consistency, and regularity with practising those barre chords with 10-15 minutes at a time. The cool thing is that once you have really improved your barre chord playing and built up those muscles. It’s a skill that is going to stay with you basically forever.

Another struggle with barre chords

Another common thing that causes wrist pain is when you are trying to play barre chords, you spend a lot of time pressing hard on the guitar.

If you are getting a lot of tension in your wrist, forearm, even your thumb. Then you might be pressing too hard on the guitar while playing barre chords.

A good exercise to try to combat this is to gently press down for a chord from a muted stage, then keep squeezing until a clear sound comes out. You can do this for both chords and for single notes to check if you are over pressing.

wrist hurting playing guita

Pressing too hard on the guitar

Also with a lot of guitars, when you are pressing too hard, you are actually bending the string and can get your notes out of tune.

Other reasons for suffering from wrist pain

There are other reasons that your wrist pain might be happening, but if you are getting lots of wrist pain, then you need to get a professional to look at your posture and technique to ensure that short term, you save yourself from wrist pain. And sometimes even a doctor because it might not be guitar related at all.

Having a professional guitar teacher look at your technique means in the long term, you are not doing any sustained damage to yourself. Whether that’s your wrist and perhaps other parts of your body if you are using incorrect techniques.

If you are based in East London in England and are suffering from wrist pain and what to know how to overcome this and learn proper technique for playing the guitar through our guitar lessons. Get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you and find out how we can help.

We provide a holistic approach to teaching that not only helps you with learning songs, building up your confidence on the guitar. But ensures that you enjoy learning guitar as a journey in a vibrant community that supports your long-term success.

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How to Motivate Your Child to Practise Guitar

How to Motivate Your Child to Practise Guitar

Playing an instrument is very rewarding for both the child and the parent. To see the progress that they make over their guitar play journey and over a lifetime.

One of the essential elements to make them improve their guitar playing is practice.

For all children, they will be more motivated at certain times compared to others when it comes to practicing the guitar. There will always be challenges and difficulties when learning new things on any instrument. The key is overcoming those challenges through determination and practice. This really helps the child build confidence. When they work hard, they can get a result from it. Playing the guitar gives them a very clear example to reference from when it comes to using this mindset in any aspect of life.

During those more difficult times when it comes to practising. Let’s see what we can do to help motivate your child to practice the guitar:

Do they love their guitar lessons with their teacher?

It really helps when your child enjoys their guitar lessons with their guitar teacher. They should be in a relaxing and fun, enjoyable atmosphere. There may be times when they get disheartened if they are finding something difficult. But the teacher should be able to help encourage them and motivate them to help them overcome these challenges. Your teachers’ role is to ensure they do this by providing the right materials for them to use in the lesson and also to practice with at home.

Try a 30 Days practice challenge

Having practicing guitar as a competition can help motivate your child to get over the hurdle of practising if they are having a lack of enthusiasm for practising. 30 days is a good timeline to get a routine. And they should practise for a certain amount of time per day depend on what their teacher has recommended. Set the reward as something that the child wants and will look forward to. We suggest having a family activity. Or something small like chocolates to motivate them. Ensure they are praised for the extra effort and hard work they have put into practice.

Get practising guitar as part of a daily routine

Get your child into the mindset that practising isn’t optional. And that it is something they must do to do well and get praise for how well they are doing on the guitar. It is always much better to practise a little every day than for a long period of time at the end of the day just before their guitar lesson. Doing daily practice really helps the information to set in and for them to progress the fastest way. And doing daily practice means they can see that progress. Try to make it as normal as brushing their teeth. So they expect to do it rather than thinking of it as an extra thing they have to do.

Keep a record of their progress by videoing it

Use your phone or tablet or anything else to video the practice that your child is doing once a month. This way you keep a record of the progress and improvement they have made over time. As we mentioned before. Playing the guitar, there will always be new challenges, which is great because it’s a sign that they are learning new things and progressing. So having a record of how they have overcome previous challenges. And how much improvement they have made will help them remember how important practice is and how much the effort they have put in is worthwhile.

Have an understanding of what they need to do at home

There is a difference between practising and playing the guitar. For young children, it’s important for the parent to know the difference and know roughly what they should be working on at home. Otherwise, it is easy for the child to play a little while and say that they’ve done their practice when actually what they have done is not what the teacher has asked and so it will not help them improve as much as proper practice will help them.

Having great communication between yourself and the teacher will ensure that you have an understanding of practise means, and so it gets you involved in the progress, the child knows that you have a level of expectation. This encourages them to practise the right things, which in turn improves their playing! It’s a cycle that helps to motivate them long term to play and practise.

Give them extra opportunities to perform in front of friends and families

Whenever there are friends and families visiting, coming round for a cup of tea or anything else. Get your child to do a mini performance for them. Don’t put too much pressure on them, just say something encouraging like “Your aunt/uncle would love to see what you have been practising.”. They can just do some practise exercises, or play a piece. The aim is to get them comfortable with playing in front of others. And if you give them a few days notice, they may be encouraged to do extra practice beforehand as well.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you encourage your child to do more guitar practice to help them progress and improve their guitar playing. If you are a parent interested in finding a guitar teacher or a new guitar teacher for your child and based in East London.

Contact us to find out how we can help you. Use the link below to get a free introductory lesson, and find out how we can help your child have a load of fun playing guitar and progress fast and easily.

 

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How To Get Better At Strumming Patterns

Do you want to make your strumming sound better and more interesting on the guitar?

Do all your songs sound the same, or do you struggle to get your strumming to sound like the song at all?

This problem that you are having is very common and one I often get asked by students.

They say to me “How can I get better at strumming patterns?” or “Can you teach me more strumming patterns” on the guitar.

Most of the students who are struggling with this problem want the songs they play to sound better. And are sick of playing one chord at a time. Or they have one or two strumming pattern which they use for every song, so everything sounds the same.

They then diagnose the problem as not knowing enough strumming patterns. If this sounds like you – I can help you.

The first step is to acknowledge what your real goal is here.

Do you want to collect more strumming patterns?

Or do you want to make your rhythm guitar playing sound better?

If you want to go and collect strumming patterns, in that case, learning strumming patterns is the way to go. But that path will likely lead to you having to go and learn a new strumming pattern for every song that you go and learn. This requires a lot of effort to play each individual different strumming patterns. Because you’ll be only looking at the rhythm for each individual song you work on.

A better way to solve that problem would be training on your own ability to master rhythm playing on the guitar. Then you can pick up any strumming patterns based on what you want to play at any given time.

Try this simple exercise below.

Basic rhythm pattern:

BEAT1+2+3+4+
StrummingDownUpDownUpDownUpDownUp

 

  1. Begin by muting your guitar strings with your fretting hand (so that we don’t get lots of extra noise.
  2. Strum down and up with your right hand while also SAYING out loud the beat numbers at the same time.
    1. You should sound like this “One And Two And Three And Four And”
    2. All the beats should be evenly spaced in time. No gaps should be longer than another.
    3. Note how when you are on a 1,2,3 or 4 your arm is ALWAYS making a downward strum
    4. When you are on the “Ands’ or the ‘+’ you are always playing an up strum.

Pattern 2:

Now we are going to start learning how to play more interesting strumming patterns:

To create a new strumming pattern, all I need to do is remove downs or ups from the strumming key line.

BEAT1+2+3+4+
Strumming KeyDownUpDownUpDownUpDownUp
Pattern 1Down DownUp  DownUp
Pattern 2Down Down DownUpDown 

I have put two examples here labelled pattern 1 and 2.

Make sure when you make up your own strumming patterns using the method above that you make sure that the Downs and Ups are in the right place.

Down always on 1 2 3 4

Up always on And (+)

When you practice it, you need to always be moving your hand as if it was playing down and up all the time.

Can you see how on patterns 1 AND 2 there is nothing on the AND (+) after the 1. Even though you don’t strum through the strings here, your hand is still going to move upwards – but it will do so without hitting the strings.

Creating Your Own Strumming Patterns

Practise doing this with new strumming patterns that you create for yourself, so your arm is used to moving in this motion, then it will become easier for you to learn any new strumming patterns that come across your way!

This is a great simple exercise to get you started working on your rhythm work, which will make a huge difference to your guitar playing.

If you are based in London and would like some more guidance and direction on how to improve your guitar playing. Contact us via the link below to find out how we can help you with your guitar playing so that you can master rhythm guitar playing and anything else you are after much quicker and easier.

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Polyphia London Gig at Islington O2 Blog Post

Halloween Night

Last night a few of the team at Guitar Tuition East London went to see a great band called Polyphia. They were playing at the O2 Islington and alongside some other amazing musicians. (Nick Johnston and Intervals).

We were there to see Polyphia – they were what we were looking forward to for this particular show. Because one of the team is a big fan of Polyphia. The two guitar players, Tim and Scott are incredible musicians. They have managed to make some shreddy fast guitar playing popular. It looked like a sell-out gig – the venue was choc-a-bloc.

how to solo on the guitar

 

Arriving Early

We arrived a bit early and the queue was MASSIVE. Stretched around the block. I’m not used to seeing so many people for a guitar gig. It was full of young people too, probably 18-22 for most of them. By the time we actually got into the venue we had missed Nick Johnston. Which is a shame since he is a fantastic guitar player.

Fortunately, that meant that the band we had come to see, Polyphia were on next. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to see them. (For anyone going to O2, there is a mezzanine upstairs that you can get a great view from if you can’t get to the front.) The bass player Clay Gober and Drummer Clay Aeschliman came out to do their own line checks. While the guitar players had a tech come on and test out their equipment for them.

After a short line check, they were on and playing. It’s the first night of their European tour and the sound was great. The most impressive part to me was the guitar playing. Their phrasing is awesome. They use a lot of legato playing (hammer ons and pull offs) and they also use a lot of “slide vibrato”.

Slide vibrato:

Instead of bending a note for vibrato, you slide up and down a tone, or semitone on the guitar to give the same effect.  For instance, instead of bending your vibrato between a C to a D note. (Fret 5 on the 3rd string to fret 7 on the 3rd string). You can get an amazing sound by sliding back and forth quickly instead.

It takes a lot of control to make sure you don’t overshoot when doing slide vibrato. Practising it slowly is essential for getting it perfect. When you get it up to speed it will sound amazing.

Legato:

This is all about making a smooth sound while you play the guitar. Hammer ons and pull offs are typically what people think of when you are working on legato for the guitar. They have got it to such an amazing level where it is really fast while they play – and incredibly clean. There is a lot of power going into the guitar while they do legato playing, but with minimal effort.

How can they play so fast, but look so effortless?

While watching them play, it was not only their great guitar playing that stood out to me. Or how tight they were as a band, or how well they nailed their playing from the records.

The biggest thing I noticed was how little tension they played with. How small the amount of movement in their hands was when they were playing.

Tim and Scott’s shoulders were very relaxed. Their fingers were gliding smoothly across the strings.

To see how hard this is, go grab your guitar and stand in front of the mirror. Try and get your shoulders completely relaxed with your arms down by the side of your body. Now start playing something on the guitar – some chords would work (or a scale or arpeggio or song is fine too.)

Now mid playing stop… and hold that position. Are your shoulders completely relaxed? The same as if there was no guitar in your hands.

I didn’t think so.

That’s pretty normal. And it takes quite a lot of training to get to the stage where you can do things with minimal tension in your body.

relaxed shoulders guitar playing

 

The benefits are incredible once you start removing some of that tension. You’ll find that you can play the guitar for longer. You can play the guitar faster. And with must more ease than before. This will help fix a lot of those back and shoulder problems that guitar players have and can develop over time.

If you are already experiencing back or shoulder pain. Or want help working on posture and technique in your guitar playing. Fill in our contact form to find out how we can help you further.

Darryl

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Are you not getting the response you want from your friends and family when you play the guitar for them? Read more to find out how to improve on it next time.

We’ve all been in a situation, even from the very beginning of playing guitar. Where friends and family will ask us to play something. It can be daunting. Especially in the beginning to know what to do and what to play.

We want to help you understand a few easy things you can do to make it simple for you next time this comes up. So that you can feel more confident about your guitar playing in the future.

Who are you playing to?

When you are playing to your friends or your family. Is it your 80-year-old grandmother listening to you who is into classical or jazz? Or your brother whose into rock music? It is important to consider what your audience thinks sounds “good”. Playing what they enjoy is an important part of impressing them.

When you are in the beginning. Focus on improving your strumming. You want a variety of strumming patterns and techniques. So even when you are playing open chords, you can add a style that speaks to your audience.

Playing within your skill level

You might be practising your latest piece at the moment. This piece of music might be the most exciting thing that you are playing currently. If this is the hardest piece you can play on the guitar. Then it is not the best thing to be playing in front of someone else. (Unless you are working on trying to perform it and that’s why you are practising it.)

When you play for someone else, you will most likely be more nervous than when you are playing on your own. When you are nervous, you will make more mistakes. The simpler you can keep the piece you are playing, the easier and more effortless you will seem. This makes you look more impressive! So stick with something simple that you are confident with when trying to impress others.

Perfect your strumming

As mentioned above, practising your strumming so you can play a variety of genres is useful. This will get your playing to sound more impressive and professional.

The quality of your strumming will improve the sound of your playing. Check out my other strumming articles and videos to find out how to improve on those if you are unsure.

What to do when making a mistake

When making a mistakes, don’t show it. Keep a poker face. Don’t’ flinch, don’t make a face. Keep carrying on playing the guitar.

Most of the time, no one will know. Even if it seems obvious to you. You playing through the whole thing is a lot more impressive than stopping and starting. It will sound a lot more professional as well.

Keep on practising

Always practise the pieces that you want to play in front of other people. Try filming yourself as well to see if you are making any silly faces. Also when filming yourself, you will feel extra pressure like when you are performing. Now you can practise with the extra adrenaline.

Finally, just go for it! The more you do it, the easier it gets!

Put yourself out there. Ask your families if they would sit and listen to you play. So that when you play to your friends and want to impress them, you will be that much more confident. This is because you’ve had lots of practise and feel prepared about what you are going to play on the guitar for them.

 

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Beginner Guitar Tricks – Part 1

Beginner Guitar Tricks

Do you ever wonder what the professionals do to get to where they are? They were all beginners once upon a time. You can start at any age and make considerable progress on the guitar. We are going to address some of the “tricks” you can use to make your playing sound more professional and improve faster on the guitar.

Having Persistence For Playing The Guitar Long Term

 

While you are learning the guitar, at any stage of your learning, you must have persistence. You must keep going even when it gets tough, and you need to be pig-headed about it. There are so many skills when you first start that you need to develop. Including getting your brain working with your fingers and your wrists and building strength. Initially, until your brain has worked out those things, progress can seem slow. Sometimes you are just having a bad day, or a bad week or a bad year where you haven’t had to chance to play as much as you have wanted.

 

You have to still keep going.

 

It is only a failure if you give up, if you keep going on. You will keep improving under the right instructions and training. The only difference between people who can’t play the guitar and people who can is that those who can’t give up.

Sitting Comfortable With Your Guitar

 

A lot of beginner guitar players struggle to know how to sit with their guitars. They worry about where they should place their hips and legs and shoulders. Another big problem is that when they go from playing sitting down to standing up, they struggle as it feels unnatural. We are going to help you solve this issue. By sitting comfortably, you will save yourself from having tension and back pain in the future. I have seen many advanced guitar players who struggle with their posture and have a lot of technique and tension issues now because they didn’t resolve this early on. So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

Most people when they sit with a guitar, they have it on their right leg. (If you are right-handed). And the guitar is laying horizontally across them. What this does is that it then requires your body to curl over to provide additional support to make sure your guitar doesn’t move all over the place. This then creates extra tension in your back.

Going from this position to standing up as well is very different. The guitar has just gone across your body into an entirely new position to you. Your brain now has to reconfigure your hands in the new place and work out how to play the frets from an entirely different angle for your wrists and fingers. So that’s twice the work you need to put into practice to make sure you play fluently in both positions.

How To Solve This?

We are going to solve this by first shifting your guitar to your left leg. (if you are right-handed). And the first method we are going to use involves a footstool. We are going to place the stool below your left leg to raise that knee up. If you don’t have a footstool, you can use a few books that you don’t mind putting your feet on. You will see how the curve of your guitar should sit nicely on your left leg.

Make sure the angle of your guitar is not horizontal but at an angle where the headstock is now in line with your eyes. The guitar should sit comfortable (and you should too), with no hands supporting it at all. It might feel a bit strange initially. A good way to practice is to sit like this for a few minutes every day, getting used to not having to hold the guitar with your hands at all.

You will notice that this position is the same as the position that guitar would be in when you are playing standing up. This means that your hands are already comfortable playing at that angle and it will save you a lot of time practising to make you feel comfortable in both positions.

An alternative method to achieve the same effect is to use a guitar strap. Have the strap on short enough that the guitar sits above the legs and in the same position it would be if you were standing up.

If you are playing a guitar that is relatively light, this works great. If you do have a heavy guitar, I would recommend having it on your leg instead. So that you don’t have that weight on your back if you are practising for extended periods of time. It’s useful to keep both options open so you can switch if your guitar does get too heavy.

Do you want maximum effectiveness at learning guitar to progress faster?

All this information is generalised to help you progress faster on the guitar. If you want maximum effectiveness, having a guitar teacher who can get you to your goal is essential for your guitar playing progress. If you are struggling to get starting and feel lost not knowing how to improve. Or getting overwhelmed with all the information online about how to play the guitar, then contact us. Our location is situated in London, and we can help you progress quickly and easily on the guitar to reach your goals.

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How To Make Your Strumming Sound More Professional So That You Can Express Yourself Creatively and Emotionally

Why Improve Strumming Patterns?

Strumming patterns are an essential part of rhythm guitar and are important in almost every piece of music. Your strumming hand is responsible for conveying the emotion of a song to your audience.

We are going to take a look at how to improve your basic strumming patterns so they’ll sound clearer and more dynamic. Your playing will also sound more creative, plus it will add variation to your guitar playing.

Watch our video with Darryl to see how you can improve your strumming, or read on for further explanation.

You’ll want to get your strumming patterns to sound so good that when you play these chords that you have mastered, your guitar will sound awesome. Don’t let your strumming you bring down after all that work with chords and rhythm playing! Use that strumming hand to show your audience how tight and professional your playing is.

 

The first issue I often come across when people strum the guitar is that they strum it like it’s an on/off switch. There are certain types of music and certain times when you may want to strum your guitar this way. Generally, to achieve a more melodic feel to your music, you need to be a little more delicate.

 

Let’s imagine that when you strum your guitar, you are stroking a cat. Strum the first few strings slowly and then speed up on the last few strings. To practise this, try doing the up stroke, then down strokes separately, and then put them both together. Practise this until it feels comfortable. Afterwards, apply this technique to your strumming patterns.

 

The other common mistake people make is forcing their pick through the strings really hard. When you strum, you want to feel your pick bouncing through the strings. Try to hear the difference between forcing your pick through the strings, compared to bouncing through the strings. They sound very different, don’t they?

 

Keep in mind, there is a time and place for the on/off switch type of strumming and forcing your pick through the strings – punk music is a good example. However, to make your guitar sound more melodic, practise this technique to make the chords you’ve learned sing.

 

The second thing you can do is split up the guitar strings when you strum. We are going to practise this by taking a really simple strumming pattern; we’ll focus on strumming different strings on different beats of the bar.

Let’s try strumming on the first and third beat of the bar. We only strum the lowest string of the chord. But for beats 2 and 4, we’ll strum the higher three or four strings. You should hear a nice emphasis on beats 1 and 3 with the bass strings, with the higher strings on beats 2 and 4 creating the melody to make the chord sing during the rest of the bar.

how to solo on the guitar

 

Try practising this for a while. Then, combine this technique with the first technique – the one we likened to stroking a cat – to give your chords more life and bounce. You’ll really impress people because good strumming makes even simple chords sound great!
If you are struggling with getting your strumming to sound good, or you want to improve your guitar playing in general, get in contact with us. We are passionate about helping you achieve what you want on the guitar. We know what it’s like to feel frustrated and wonder why your guitar doesn’t sound good no matter how much you practise. Our professional instructions will help you to advance in the most fun and easy way! We are so confident that we can help that we even offer an introductory guitar lesson, so we can find a plan that works with you and your needs.

 

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Top 5 Mistakes in Soloing And How To Avoid Them (For Beginners)

Top 5 Mistakes in Soloing And How To Avoid Them (For Beginners)

Every guitarist no matter what any level of playing they are at can make mistakes in their guitar solos. Even at a professional level. We are going to outline some of the common problems that beginners and intermediates struggle with when it comes to soloing and improvising on the guitar. We will discuss how we can avoid the top five mistakes to improve your guitar solos tremendously.

 

Playing With No Space

 

how to solo on the guitar

A common mistake that people make when they improvise is always playing throughout the whole guitar solo. They don’t leave any space. Imagine someone was talking to you, and they spoke constantly, with no stops or pauses. It’s very tedious and tiring to listen to. This is what happens in your guitar solo if you don’t leave any stops and pauses between notes.

You need breathing space in your guitar playing because they help to form phrases. Phrases are short musical sentences. When you start your playing and have pauses in between a few notes, they create sentences into your playing rather than having continuous speech. Even when you play fast, you can still have spaces and pauses to add tension and emotion in your playing.

Having Gaps In Between Your Notes

 

What do I want to do

A lot of new players have gaps in between their notes when they play. These voids produce a guitar solo that does not flow fluidly from one note to the next. The notes end up sounding slightly staccato, which is a term for short, pointed sounding notes. There will be times when you want to accent these notes intentionally. However, doing this constantly throughout your playing won’t sound very pleasant.

To avoid this, work on eliminating the gaps between your notes. Having smooth phrasing and playing will make your solos much more pleasing to the ear. You will also sound a lot more professional as well.

 

Out of Tune Bends

 

How to improve guitar bends

When I hear people play bends incorrectly, it often sounds like a cat dying. This happens because they are not bending the string into another note in the scale. It is not enough to just bend it to create a good sound. You need to make sure the bend is in tune with the scale and key that you are playing in.

I am not going to go into detail regarding scales and keys here. If you need more information about scales and keys, ask your guitar teacher about them. Alternatively, if you are in London, you can contact us to find out how we can help you improve your guitar playing and teach you more about music theory.

How to practise your bends?

We are going to take a look at how to get your bends to sound good. To do this, we are going to use a tuner. When you are practising, use the tuner to help you make sure that when you bend your string, it is in tune when it gets to the next note in the scale.

While the tuner will help you stay in tune, the more practise you have, the better your ears will get at listening to when you are bending the note correctly.

Practising your bends this way may seem hard the first few times. You will have to do this exercise three to four hundred times to see improvements in your bends. You also need to make sure that every time you do a bend, you make it to the next note. And when soloing, make sure it is in the scale and key of the piece you are playing.

It doesn’t take very long to practise this a few hundred times, and you will soon find your solos sounding less amateurish and more professional once you have improved each of your bends.

guitar lessons London

Same Rhythm

I find that with a lot of guitar players that when they solo, they will use the same rhythm all the time. Or they’ll use the same rhythmic value. Rhythmic value is defined by how long a note is. To change this, all you have to do is vary the rhythmic value, and play with a variation of shorter and longer notes.

When you alter the length of each of your notes when you are improvising will make your solos sound more captivating. You’ll be able to convey more of a story to your listeners and connect with them better. Variety in your improvisation will make your solos sound more impressive than before.

Starting On The Same Beat Of Each Bar

 

guitar learn to solo lessons

Another common mistake that beginners make when they improvise or play a solo happens due to making all the phrases start from the same beat of each bar. When they begin their phrasing this way, it makes their solos sound more predictable, and therefore mediocre. For example, if you are counting bars in a four-beat rhythm, a lot of players will pause and always begin a phrase on the 1st beat. The next time you improvise, try starting on a different beat – maybe the 2nd or 3rd – or even on the off beat. You can also play slightly before the bar starts as well. You will get much more interesting phrasing this way, and your solos will sound a lot more intricate and adventurous.

All of these tips combined will make your guitar playing sound much more impressive. You will be able to impress more with your improvisation. You will be able to connect with your audience on a deeper level. They will add a lot of variation to your solos no matter what style you are playing. You can be confident that you will sound more creative than ever before.

 

What To Do Next?

We understand that soloing and improvising can seem difficult to master at first,  especially without the right instruction and the right information, given in the correct order. If you are struggling with your guitar playing and would like to become an excellent guitar player – and want to learn in a fun and easy way – contact us to find out how we can help you. We are so confident that we can provide you with the path to becoming the guitar player that you want to be that we will offer a free introductory lesson. This guitar lesson gives us the opportunity to get to know each other, and you can find out how we’ll be able to solve your guitar playing problems.  Click on the button below to find out more about the introductory guitar lesson in London that we offer.

 

Click the button below to tell us about your guitar playing today!

 

 

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Guitar Playing

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Guitar Playing

Today we are looking at 5 different ways to kick start your guitar playing. No matter where you are when you are watching this video – whether it’s January or the middle of July – if you want to give yourself a kick start, or if you are struggling with motivation because you haven’t played and practised guitar in awhile, then this article is for you.

 

Work Out What you Want to Do With the Guitar

What do I want to do
Are there any particular songs you want to play?
Do you want to play in a band?
Enjoy being able to jam with friends?
Do you want to enjoy improvising on the guitar by yourself?

 

Once you’ve written down what it is that you want to do, stick it up on the wall next to where you practise and play the guitar. There are so many things you could be working on while practising; this exercise helps you focus on the things that are most important for you to get to where you want to be. You don’t want to end up being an average guitar player – jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none – not really being able to do exactly what you want.

 

Get Your Practice Environment Set Up

What I mean by this is, you want to minimise the time it takes for you to sit down and start practising guitar. If your guitar is in a case, get it out and put it on a stand. If you have music to practise with, put that on a stand, ready to read. Keep the area clean, and have a pin board – in which you can track your goals, theory charts and anything else you might need – somewhere close by. Make it easy and accessible for you to start playing and practising the guitar.

If your place is a little chaotic, just start with having the guitar out and ready. Don’t make the easy excuse of “this sounds like a lot of work”. Take it one step at a time and aim to make your practise as accessible to you as possible.

living room set up

If you are already quite organised, how can you make your environment even better? Do you have a tuner and capo ready? If you need a footstool, is it already out in the perfect position?

Any extra steps you’re forced to take before you can practise – such as getting the guitar out of the case, then hunting around the house for a tuner – these nuisances all add to the mental block that can discourage you from practising. Reducing this mental block will help you remain motivated to practise, and will save you a load of time too.

 

Get Some External Forces To Help Motivate You

 

guitar teacher london

Recall the goals that you previously wrote for the first point. If you know how to reach these yourself, then great! If you are struggling, then get someone to help you. That’s exactly what Guitar Tuition East London do; we find out what you want to do and help you achieve exactly that, and cut out the parts you don’t need to save you a bunch of time.

Other external forces that can help motivate you include being in a band. It might not be the most efficient way to power-up your skills, but you will always benefit from playing in a group with other musicians who share your enthusiasm and can help keep you accountable. This all adds up to helping you play more guitar and going in the right direction. Having positive people in your life who are supportive of you and your playing will help eliminate any mental blocks weighing you down or slowing your progress.

 

Practise More Than You Play – And Practise Before You Play

 

playing vs practising

If, when you begin your practise, you find yourself playing the same old stuff again and again, don’t worry. This is a really common situation that a lot of guitarists share. It is also a really big problem. You really aren’t getting better at your guitar if you merely repeat the same songs or exercises over and over again. You need to make sure you are working on things that are challenging you. This will mean making mistakes, and that is a good thing. You want to keep pushing yourself. You can’t push yourself by just playing the same things over and over again; you’ll never be able to progress far with your guitar. Proper practice involves taking on new challenges.

Now we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t enjoy playing the guitar. You should. Playing guitar is all about having fun. Just make sure you allow yourself dedicated practise time before you let loose and play. By doing this, you resist the temptation to cut your practice short and miss out on any measurable results. If you practise more than you play, you are guaranteed to see much bigger improvements in your guitar playing.

 

Take The Little Victories

notebook

Keep a journal of the little victories that you have. Make a record of what was tough about the things you practised today, and write down the moments that made you feel good. Finish up with any revelations that you may have. A lot of people waste time because they don’t remember where they left off after their last practise, and then have to practise the same things over before having the same revelations. Keeping a journal will help you remember the progress you’ve made, and help you stay motivated. It can also save you time when it comes to practising the guitar as well.

If you are struggling to motivate yourself and think you need someone to keep you accountable – or you don’t know how to get your guitar playing to sound the way you want it to – then get in touch with us. We are here to help you develop your playing so that you can do the things you really want to on the guitar. Whether you are a hobbyist or a seasoned pro, we will have you progressing in the fastest, easiest direction while having loads of fun along the way.

 

Click the button below to tell us about your guitar playing today!

 

 

How to Choose Your Guitar Teacher

How to Choose Your Guitar Teacher

Choosing a guitar teacher makes the difference between succeeding and completely failing and never picking the guitar back up again. The following advice could save you a load of time and money by helping you pick the right guitar teacher to help you learn to play the guitar.

guitar teacher london

What do you want to do on the guitar?

What sort of style do you want to play? What sort of guitarist do you want to become? These are the kinds of questions to think about when looking for a guitar teacher. Generally, you want to go for someone who is a specialist in what he does. Anyone who says he can teach any style probably can but not as well as someone who is a specialist in a certain area.

If you want to be able to play rock music, then choose a specialist who knows how to teach rock music. If it is jazz, then choose a specialist in jazz. If you are a beginner, then find someone who knows how to teach beginners.

Not all teachers are the same, and not all musicians are the same. Everyone’s approach to teaching differs, and it is important that you find someone who will work well with you.

How much are the lessons?

This question is a common one that people ask, the answer to which is a part of one’s decision-making process when looking for guitar lessons. Generally speaking, guitar teachers who are good, who get you results, cost more because there is more value in what they do. Generally, cheaper guitar teachers are not as good at getting you results.

Make sure when you are choosing a guitar teacher that you make the decision based on what she can do for you. Even if it seems to cost more, you will actually save time and money in the long-term. You could do cheap lessons for five years, but a great guitar teacher could get you the same results in a year.

Watch and guitar with open book on old wooden table, vintage style.

Are you able to be coached by your teacher?

Can you see yourself being coached by this person? Will you take his advice, trust what he has to say, and actually do what he has asks you to do?

These questions are important to answer because if you question what your teacher is doing or are unsure of the method he is using or the path he is taking you on. You might double check on YouTube to see if what your teacher has told you is right. Doing this is wasting your time!

You need to be coachable and accept that your teacher is a master of his craft. On the other hand, you need someone who is not only a master but is also able to teach you, someone you have respect for and trust that he can get you the results you are looking for.

 

Will your instructor teach you how to practice?

Practising is one of the most important parts of becoming a better musician, even to just getting out of a beginner stage and going past barre chords. Practising makes such a big difference to the amount of progress you make. Generally, you will spend less time with your teacher compared to practising at home. You want someone who knows how to practice well and knows how to teach you to practice.

Many teachers drop the ball on this aspect, but there are great teachers who can help you with this. When you have learnt how to practice properly from your instructor; It will be like sticking a jetpack to your car, and it will propel your playing to new levels. This information will speed up your progress massively.

guitar tutor in london

 

Can you see results from your instructor’s students?

Seeing results from your teacher’s students is very important; maybe she can refer you to one of her students. Talk to these students about what their playing was like before they started lessons and where they are now. Alternatively, ask to see before and after videos of your teacher’s students to see the results the students have achieved.

When most people look for guitar lessons, they look at how good the teacher is at playing the guitar. However, this factor is one of the less important parts of a great teacher. (Also, it is hard for beginners to spot good players from great players). You need someone who can get results from you. One way to find that out is by looking at the results she has helped other students achieve. You instructor’s job is to turn you into a great player.

Go and meet your teacher

Get in contact with the teacher, sit down with him, and find out what he is like. See if you get on with him, if you believe that he can help you. If you do not feel comfortable, your results will be hindered. That confidence and certainty will help you progress faster.

guitar teacher london

 

What experience does your teacher have?

It is important to find out how long your teacher have been teaching. You do not want a beginner guitar teacher. It is great that everyone has to learn at some point; however, most people learn through testing on guinea pigs, and you do not want to be that guinea pig. If you want good results, find someone who has been teaching for a while and someone who has invested in educating themselves in guitar teaching. At least three years is a good benchmark. You want someone who has taught many guitar students, so he/she has an idea of how to teach different types of people. Everyone learns in a slightly different way, but the more people your teacher has helped, the easier it is for her to help you with your playing. Looking for an experienced teacher should protect you from wasting time and money when it comes to learning the guitar.

When choosing a guitar teacher, there are many factors to consider. You want a guitar teacher that is going to get results for you and your playing. To do this, your need to trust the teacher, and this stems from having met him and feeling confident that he is going to get you results. Find out how much experience he has and whether he can get you results by looking at their other students. And remember, you can save money in the long run by getting the best guitar teacher for you, even if he costs a bit more in the meantime.

Free Introductory Lesson With Us

With all that, we hope this article helps you find the perfect guitar teacher for you. If you are based in London, we would love to find out if we can help you with your playing. Just click on the button below. It will take you through our contact form where we can find out a little more about you and book you in for a free introductory lesson. This lesson will allow us to find out a little more about how your playing is going, what you would like to achieve on the guitar, and how our teaching would benefit you. So click the button below to get in contact.

 
 

 

Why Do People Struggle To Improve Their Guitar Playing

Why Do People Struggle to Improve Their Guitar Playing

We are going to discuss some of the reasons why people do not improve at the guitar, some of the most common reasons that I have seen from students who have come to me for help or people that I have met. Watch out and see if these apply to you so that you can avoid them in the future.

 

Not Persistent Enough with Their Guitar Playing

The biggest reason I see why people are not improving is that they are not persistent enough. You have to keep going, and when you hit a barrier, you have to be persistent enough to get past it. You need to find a way around it and to solve it, which means getting the right information and finding a professional to help you. Unless you do not like the guitar, there is no reason to stop. Just keep at it. If you love the guitar, you need to be persistent and going on even when it is tough.

Keep Playing the Same Things

People keep playing the same old stuff—they practise the same thing all the time, especially people who have been playing for a while. When people “practise”, they will play the same old thing that they are used to. This idea might mean different things to different people; some play the same songs, some people do the same exercises. Some people might play and jam with themselves to backing tracks. Doing the same thing is just playing and not challenging yourself.

Only Learning Songs

We have found many people who, when they learn the guitar, only learn individual songs. When you only learn songs, you do learn some things because you are learning the songs themselves. However, what is more important is how those songs are put together, the fundamental aspects of them, the skills that link all those songs together. You are not really studying those aspects. Rather, you are just copying and not creating.

It is like when you are writing a speech; instead of learning how to write your own speech and understand how the language and structure are put together to make a great speech, you just copy someone else’s great speech. That strategy does not make you a great guitar player, and definitely not quickly. There are some benefits to learning songs, but there are many more things that you need to learn.

Get Too Content with Your Guitar Playing

It might be that at one point, you were really pushing yourself and learning. However, people sometimes get too happy with where they are and get out of the cycle of learning. It is great to have milestones and reach goals, but you also need to set new ones and get excited about reaching those. When you get too content, years can go by, and you do not get any better, which is because you are happy with where you are at, and you do not see a reason to apply yourself anymore.

Do Not Know How to Improve and Do Not Have the Right Information for Their Situation

People do not know how to improve and do not have the right information for their situation. I see many people just finding exercises online or from books. However, these exercises are not specific for the players and for where they are at, which is similar to learning some songs. Because these resources are not whole plans or strategies, they do not help the players very much.

Not Getting a Guitar Teacher

You would be surprised the amount of professional guitar players who have a teacher and a coach to train them and teach them guitar. However, you would probably not be surprised by the number of beginner guitar players who believe they do not need a teacher. This belief is a big fallacy. There are also people who think they are too good or do not think anyone can help them. With that attitude, you will struggle for a teacher who can help you.

You want to find someone who does know how to help you, and someone who can help you put it all together.  The reality is that you do not know what you do not know. Many people are so unaware of what else is out there and the amazing things that will help them progress so much faster. Not wanting to seek out professional is holding many people back.

Lack of Belief

People often lack the belief that they can become the guitar player they want to be. This mindset is common. Many people believe that talent is an innate thing, and that is why they cannot play. There are no babies who come out the womb playing the guitar. Zero. It is all learnt; it is all skill. However, there are different ways those skills put together from different aspects of life experiences. It is important that you understand the need to believe that you can do it. Only then can you work out how. You need to believe you can first, and the how comes afterwards.

People Hold Themselves Back

Some people hold themselves back because they are scared how much work it will be to learn how to play. However, if you really love the guitar, no amount of work is too much to do something you truly love. If it is important enough that you want to play the guitar for the rest of your life, then you are going to continue to gain skills, work on them, and develop your playing over time.

If it is one of those things where you just want to try it for a couple of weeks, then I would not bother; it is not worth it. However, if you want to give it some more time and keep going even when it gets tough, and you absolutely love music, then do it. Playing the guitar is so much fun. It will bring you a tonne of joy and happiness.

Are You Struggling to Improve Your Guitar Playing?

Are you struggling to improve on the guitar? Do you want some additional guidance to help you make massive progress in your guitar playing right now? Do you need someone to keep you accountable and help you stay persistent? Are you passionate about the guitar and music?

If this sounds like you, and you are based in East London, then contact us regarding how we can help you. We are so confident in ourselves that we provide a free assessment lesson. Click the button below, which will take you through to our contact form to schedule your assessment lesson with us where we can discuss how we can take your guitar playing to the next level.
 

 

How You Can Make Massive Progress With Your Guitar Playing

How You Can Make Massive Progress With Your Guitar Playing

Do you think someone can learn to play the guitar if they are not talented?

How would you define talent?

Where do you think it comes from?

Where Do Brilliant Musicians Come From?

You will never find a brilliant guitarist who has not put in thousands of hours of playing and practising to get to where they are. Playing the guitar is a learnable skill that anyone can achieve. What people perceive as talent has always come from hours of hard work, which has produced that brilliance. Often, people who brush off trying new things by stating that they are not talented enough are subconsciously making excuses for not wanting to put in the time to achieve things themselves.

There are three components that come together to create brilliance and massive results with any skill. These are practise, ignition, and a master coach. In this article, we are going to focus on what practising guitar truly is and how it contributes to achieving massive results on the guitar.

the chemistry of learning the guitar

 

Are you “Playing” guitar or “Practising” guitar?

What is  the difference?

Let us imagine for a second that you are a professional tightrope walker. You are pretty good, and you perform every night for a small circus in front of half-terrified, half-excited audience members. To keep your job at the circus, you must not make any big mistakes while performing. You have big dreams about being a world-renowned circus performer, but you know deep down that you are not good enough yet.

practicing or playing guitar

Playing Guitar Without A Safety Net

You know that you have to get better at your tightrope act. And you need to perform more daring stunts to further your career, but how can you do this?

You start putting in more time, going to the circus early and practising on your tightrope walk with just the net to catch you if you fall. However, you have a problem; whenever you try anything too difficult, you fall off the 50-foot high tightrope and land in the netting. You are not making enough progress fast enough because every time you fall off. It takes you a long time to climb back up to the 50-foot ladder to try the same stunt again.

You do not know what to do, so you seek out expert advice. Then you find out that the fastest way for you to make progress is to go back to basics. You are told to set up a tightrope in your garden, two feet above the ground and start focusing intensely on your weaknesses to make improvements. With the rope being so close to the ground. Every time you fall, you just jump right back on the rope to try the same stunt again! No time wasted, and more repetition of the same stunt until you perfect it.

performing, recording or jamming

What is it like practising properly?

As a guitarist, performing, recording, or jamming is like the performance of the tightrope walker in front of an audience. You sound good when you are playing things with which you are comfortable. To keep looking good and sounding good, you do not want to make any big mistakes while performing. Instead, you want to ignore your weaknesses and focus on your strengths to look and sound good. This experience is called “playing the guitar”.

“Practising the guitar” is when you need to identify what challenges you need to work on. Then focusing on those challenges intensely and in minute detail. When you are practising the guitar, you have a different mindset. Just like the work of the tightrope walker, you are going to focus on your weaknesses and eliminate them.

Weakness in your playing are the biggest things holding you back. You should be looking at very short passages and bursts of music to increase repetition of practising these challenges. This strategy is like setting your tightrope very close to the ground so that you get lots of repeated practise at the same stunt over and over again until you get it right.

Are You Playing Guitar At The Right Level?

To judge if you are working at the right level of complexity, you should look at how many mistakes you are making. You will know that you are working on the right things if you are playing it correctly two out of five times. That means that three out of five times you are making mistakes! This moment is a sweet spot where you are striving to grow and failing as you go.
playing correctly or making mistakes?

How can you identify which challenges you should be working on?

The following exercise will blow out all of the cobwebs that were previously making you unsure of what to do when you practice.

  1. What do you want to achieve in guitar playing over the next 90 days?
    • Write down your answer.
  2. What are the top three things holding you back from achieving that goal right now?
    • Write down your answers.
  3. What is the solution for these three things?
    • Write down your answers.
  4. Put this piece of paper on the wall in front of where you practice and get to work on it right away.

Start working towards your goal every day.

Contact Us For Guitar Lessons in East London

If you would like help reaching these goals or if you are struggling to work out what the solutions should be for your challenges, we can help you by diagnosing your problems and putting a plan together along with the appropriate exercises to solve them. Contact us today for your free introductory lesson.

 

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