"Organize your life to have as few distractions as possible and keep your hands moving on the guitar for hours every day. Play things that you like, so that this experience is enjoyable and you want to keep doing it.
" –Paul Gilbert
"I tell them to stop practicing and start playing music. Play with your band, your buddies, and any other instrument you can. Play in the studio, play live – play all the time. The weakness is getting too hung up on technique.
" –Marty Friedman
"Any guitar player is going to always sound much much better if he masters seven or eight concepts, than he will if he has fifty things sort of half-there. And that's because the world of music is endless, I mean any door you open there’s six doors behind it.
" –Greg Howe
There's a problem today for guitar students that is devastating.
It's called distraction.
Here's how distraction destroys guitar hopefuls time and time again:
is in love with music. So he decides to pick up a guitar and start practicing. He's excited and can't wait to learn more about his favorite new instrument. He gets a few books, looks at a few videos, reads a few websites, and then starts to practice some of the things he's learned.
The next day, his friend Sam tweets him a video of some dude in his bedroom shredding to Beethoven
" he says, "That is amazing. I gotta learn how to do that.
And just like that...
has now forgotten about the song he was working on last week and is hard at work on the new one he saw on YouTube.
This process continues for the next year. By the end of one year, Jeff
is confused as to why he still sucks at guitar, when all he knows are a few parts to a bunch of songs - none of which he could ever nail down and master.
Does this situation sound familiar to you?
If so, I'm here to tell you it's not too late to fix it.
In an era where we are drowned in information and entertainment, the only way to actually learn something (anything) is to sacrifice 99.9% of all your options.
You have to COMMIT to something. To burn the bridges to everything else.
You're gonna see an inspiring guitarist doing crazy stuff on YouTube every week. A new great song will get stuck in your head every week. Your favorite guitar website (UG) will have a new practice routine for "building your chops" every week. Guitar magazines will put ten new songs for you to get lost in every month.
The fact is, book publishers, YouTube posters, guitar mags, and whoever else... do not have your specific needs in mind. They are not looking after you with the best intentions.
Bottom line: They do not have your back.
In fact, most guitar TEACHERS are hoping you'll never know the truth:
More songs, techniques, tricks, and theoretical information almost never helps (and often hurts) your ability to learn the guitar.
(The exception is information on the learning PROCESS and SYSTEMS for structuring your practice.)
There is more information on "what" to learn than you could ever use in your life. And there's probably no way you can internalize even 1% of it correctly, if you are finding something new to learn every week.
So why do most guitar "teachers" overload you with more than you can actually learn?
The answer is simple: To Make More Money
Many guitar teachers are actually "starving" musicians themselves. They teach on the side - ONLY to make money. Not because they actually care about their students making progress.
In reality, they know nothing about teaching. Especially about teaching the thing that matters most for beginners... how to get your fingers to do what you want! How to train your body.
Teaching just that alone would take only a few lessons, and then you'd never have to pay for another lesson. So to make it look like they're teaching you a lot every week, these teachers load you up with more theory than you can even remember. Then they'll lie to you by saying you NEED all that theory to be a great guitar player.
If they gave you a song and just watched you practice it, you'd feel ripped off, and leave. Yet, as I mention in my free newsletter... that's exactly what you NEED to be doing about 80% of the time... learning songs. Not studing theory.
How do I know all this?
Direct experience with at least 3 different guitar "teachers." These teachers taught me new techniques, new theory, and new exercises each and every single week. They did nothing for me that I couldn't do myself with an internet connection and some free time
And after paying for lessons, week after week, and putting in hours of dedicated practice... I saw almost no improvement.
Not until I did two things:
1. Sacrifice all the junk that's available and start playing music you enjoy.
2. Commit to mastering the PROCESS of taking new songs, techniques, and theory and internalizing them systematically
"Establish an idea of what you would like to hear yourself playing, and follow that concept.
"I can only say what I'm trying to do, which is just try to get into your intuitive nature of what speaks to you musically.
" –Eric Johnson
"When you hear something you don't like, don't ever play it again.
" –Joe Satriani
Bottom line #2: The combined effect of doing too much and not playing music you love is your guitar career will be over before it even starts.
The options never end. The only thing that might end is your enthusiasm for learning.
I hope this sends the message home, loud and clear:
Sacrifice 99%. Focus hard on a few things that matter to YOU. Never learn anything that doesn't speak to you musically, no matter what anyone says.
About the Author:
Johnny Lee is a lover of music, guitarist, songwriter, and creator of NOBSGuitar.com, the best-kept secret of self-taught guitarists from over 73 different countries. Today, it has become one of the premier sources of accurate information, useful knowledge, and uplifting inspiration for scores of self-taught guitarists. Johnny's lessons have appeared on top guitar websites such as Ultimate-Guitar, GuitarNoise, and many others. He has just released a new book titled "The No B.S. Guitar Advantage: Secret Strategies Most Guitarists Will Never Tell You About to Go From Beginner to Head-Turning Guitar Player Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible." Check it out here.