I have collected for you 15 methods that I followed myself and with my students in order to become a better guitarist and enable you to play the guitar quickly without falling into the mistakes that I fell into.
By following these methods, you will improve your playing and advance your level in the least amount of time and effort. If you have a comment or question after reading the article, please write it in the comments and I will respond to you.
Here we go.
1) Find a place to practice the guitar
One of the most obstacles that prevent you from practicing the guitar is to look for the guitar or take it out of the bag or wardrobe, then look for papers and musical notes, and then look for the footstool or amplifier!
And after you arrange the place for practicing, you will have lost your enthusiasm or tired of searching for all this!
Organizing the practice setting is the first rule in order to be able to play the guitar quickly. Make everything you need easily accessible, whether it is a laptop, tuner, amplifier, cable, footrest.
Dedicate a place designated for practicing the guitar in your room or living room, and make it “a silo” from which you can take the energy that you need in practice.
There are essential accessories that will make your life much easier in practicing land, you can learn more about them by reading the article “4 Essential Guitar Accessories For Beginners“.
2) Tune your Guitar to become a better guitarist
And I don’t mean tuning the strings – of course, your strings have to be tuned all the time. What I mean is the guitar tuning itself, the action height (the distance between the strings and the fingerboard).
You’ll need light strings and low action if you’re playing solos with a lot of legato techniques. You will need heavy strings and a little high action if you play rock or metal.
Visiting someone who has a guitar repair shop at least once every 6 months to tune your guitar is an idea to consider. It will facilitate a lot of trouble for you and you will explain to him what you want or what you play exactly, and he will customize the guitar in a way that will help you play the guitar quickly.
3) Practice slowly
Practicing slowly is one of the more habits that will enable you to play any piece correctly. There is a common mistake, especially among beginners, which is that they practice the song or the piece at its original speed, thinking that this is the correct way to practice, and this is a fatal mistake!
Practicing slowly is a proven and effective way to get accurate results. I know it’s hard because it’s not the best way to spend time with the guitar, and also playing slowly takes concentration and patience.
However, by playing slowly you are programming your brain and fingers with the correct information, and from here you can gradually increase the speed until you reach the desired speed.
Conversely, if you practiced quickly – especially in the early stages – chances are that you will make many mistakes, and it will be difficult after that to get rid of them.
4) Practice like you are giving a concert
Have you tried and played in front of an audience? Even for a few friends or relatives? It is completely different from playing alone in the room.
When you’re playing in front of people, the adrenaline is flowing through your veins, and you’ll feel your heartbeat in your ear, you’re so nervous!
Everything is in red because you are playing and you are afraid to make mistakes, I must not do anything wrong or people will know that I made a mistake. Well, why don’t you practice the same way when you’re on your own?
Yes, have you tried to play without making any mistake, even if it is small? I mean, playing all the notes on time, that’s all it takes.
5) Learn major scale intervals
The major scale is the bedrock of many of the chords and scales that you will learn. By understanding the composition of the musical scale, it will be easy for you to study the harmonic and learn the major, minor, and other chords in each key.
The musical scale consists of 7 Intervals and they are in order: Root – Major 2nd – Major 3rd – Perfect 4th – Perfect 5th – Major 6th – Major 7th.
6) Learn the fretboard to become a better guitarist
Knowing the names of the notes on the fretboard will take some time, but believe me, it’s worth it. This will help you in all aspects of playing, whether reading musical notes, knowing bar chords, power chords for rock, or, of course, improvising on the guitar.
Many players only know the names of the notes on the sixth and fifth strings, as this helps them know where the chords are. As for the fourth, third, and second string, they have no idea.
There are many tricks and patterns that will help you know each note and its location on all the strings, like this figure:
7) Practice with a Metronome
To become a better guitarist It is good to know musical theories, but it is more important to know how to apply them. One of the most important things that is overlooked, especially at the beginning, is for the beginner to understand what rhythm is and how to practice it.
Practicing with a metronome is a tragedy for many beginners, who don’t understand how to use this thing! And they are right, it is not as easy as we are talking about. If you are taking a lesson with a teacher, ask them to show you how to use the metronome.
I wrote a separate article on how to practice with a metronome you can check it here.
If you are a drummer or bass guitar player, rhythm is your life. But when you’re a guitarist, your focus will be on other things like scales, chords, and technique – but if you don’t have a good rhythm, you can’t really play well.
8) Divide your practicing time into parts
To sit for half an hour or more doing just one thing is boring and unproductive. I suggest that you divide the exercise time into 4 sections:
- Warm-up (Scales and Arpeggios)
- Techniques (Slur techniques – Sight reading)
- Practicing new pieces
- Review old pieces
It is not necessary that the time be divided equally between them, this decision is up to you, each person is different from the other. You can even delete a part or modify a part according to its importance. For example, if you are in a band, it will be more important to practice new songs and review old ones.
9) Don’t forget about the Dynamics
Most guitarists practice up and down the scales with the same tonality, but have you tried playing the scale from low to high (up) and back from high to low (down)? Like the example here.
Dynamics is a big factor in solos, especially rock and blues, and you’ll better communicate your feelings when you play.
10) Don’t forget about the Rhythm
Focus on the rhythm and master it as much as you do on the solos and lead. We as guitarists accompany the rest of the band 90% of the time, and 10% play solos!
If you can’t master the different rhythms then your chances of playing are unfortunately nil.
11) Learn to love commitment
This is the secret of success in anything you do, whether to become a better guitarist or in a sport you do or in your work.
Decide that you will practice at all costs, but at the same time do not make it the last thing of the day when you are tired and unable to focus. Practicing is exhausting and requires a clear mind, so do it calmly as if you have all the time in this world, and don’t rush results, they will definitely come.
12) Do not learn too many chords
This may sound counterintuitive, but learning a lot of chords will not help you become a better guitarist, but it will have the opposite effect! In the beginning, you do not need a lot of chords, there are basic chords that you should know like these:
Does this look like a lot? They are only 15 chords. But you can’t imagine how many songs you can play with that many chords, thousands!
Of course, there are other chords from families such as minor 7th and the sus4, but these chords can be learned as needed and according to the song.
It is important to memorize the basic chords (form and name) and know how to move between them easily, and make a clear sound from each one of them.
13) Learn the CAGED system
Since we are talking about chords, we must mention the CAGED SYSTEM.
The word itself is nothing but the arrangement of 5 basic chords as shown in the previous figure. They are 5 chords any guitarist should be familiar with.
There is not enough space here to explain this system, but very briefly, it is a system that explains how one chord (for example the C major) is moved through the entire guitar in 5 different areas on the fingerboard.
What you see in the figure is the C major chords in the shape of C (blue), then the shape of A (green), then the shape of G (red), then the shape of E (orange), then the shape of D (yellow).
This system shows you the anatomy of the guitar and how the fretboards fit together, and how each shape delivers the other.
I will be writing an article and making a tutorial on this whole system soon because it is one of the most useful things to me when I learned it, and you will be amazed at how easy the guitar is after you learn it!
14) Control the pick or your fingers
The reason here is not only because it is the base of the guitar, but because with time you will have a sense of the rhythm with the plectrum.
You will know that you are at the beginning of the bar when you play down, and when there is a stroke at the beginning of the bar that is half a time, then automatically the next note will play up.
Also, this intuitive technique will make you play the solos and scales faster because the pick moves smoothly on the string.
The same goes for i,m fingers if you play classical guitar or flamenco. Over time, the fingers will see the strings, not you. And that will make you become a better guitarist.
15) Reocrd your playing
An important aspect of practicing is to record yourself playing. After you’ve had enough practice on an exercise or song, record yourself playing with your phone, you don’t have to go to a studio!
You will feel the same feeling when you play in front of an audience because recording yourself while playing means that you are afraid of making a mistake in a note, forgetting a chord, or even criticizing yourself.
This is all normal and part of your development as a player, remember that you are the one who will listen to your playing and this will not be broadcast on the radio.
But the feeling that you get during recording is what we want to practice and skip, and with the repetition of recording and as you progress as a player, this feeling will disappear, and you will play in front of the audience with confidence and comfort.
Of course, you don’t need to apply ALL of them immediately, you can try one or two of them at first and see how it will go. Then start implementing one more way into your routine, and keep a record of what worked and what did not.
So, there you have it, 15 shortcuts to become a better guitarist (or musician). If you have any questions regarding any points I mentioned, please write in the comments and I will reply to you as fast as I can.