Developing Your Skills

Your skills are a matter of practice, not solely a matter of talent. The first thing I want to say is to not practice with your TV on or with the radio playing in the background.

Ultimate Guitar


You have to believe in yourself. You must believe that you can and are able to play at a high level, or at a level higher than where you are right now. Without this you are doomed. The mental aspect of playing guitar is very important, every great player believes in himself, and you MUST do the same. For example, if you are frustrated or are coming across things that you are not able to do you should not get discouraged. In other words you should use it as a platform to propel yourself to the next level, sort of like a stepping-stone. Step UP to the next level. You have to say to yourself; I can do this, and believe it. Believing is key. Expect yourself and see yourself playing well. Visualizing yourself playing well is a good idea to do before you pick up your guitar. Know what it is that you are going to play and then envision yourself doing it without mistakes. Feel yourself in that place of victory. One thing I do regularly is read positive stuff on a daily basis, whether it's a new book or a daily quote.


Practice makes perfect. It's the same with playing guitar. If you don't practice every day you won't make any progress. There is surely somebody close to you or maybe a world's away that is practicing right now. This is by no means a statement of intimidation. It is a call to action. It is the truth. Desire is in all of us. It's what we do with that desire and what we are willing to prepare ourselves to do with it that counts. If you have the desire to play the guitar at a high level you have to act on your desire. Stir it up. One good way of doing this is with consistent practice. The more you practice the better you will get and you will see results which will then stir up your desire to be even greater. A good question to ask oneself is, What am I going to do about it? Is your desire big enough to be the best, to be good, just for fun? Once you have determined the answer to these questions you will have a much clearer path laid out before you and a much easier time practicing your guitar. You should stick with someone who monitors your progress and not be going all over the Internet from site to site trying to learn in this way. You can learn by doing these things but it shouldn't be the only way you learn. In fact, I think you should do both. If you are serious about your progress, you must be guided by someone who knows what he or she is doing, how to make you better and how to get you to progress. One of the major causes of failure is LACK OF PRACTICE, not talent. It's because someone stops playing that their skills grow stagnant, it's NOT that that person doesn't have any, or little, talent. Another way to stir up your desire is to be constantly on the lookout for things that you want to play. For example, looking up songs that you love and that are in your style of playing, and studying them for a few minutes will greatly help you to see how the pros did it. This is a great source of motivation because now you have a broader perspective on how to go about creating your own song.

You should write down your practice goals on a daily basis. Write them down on paper and not on the computer. It's done with more emotion this way. What matters is that you are CLEAR. And once you are CLEAR your actions are then determined and ready to plow into. Another thing to do is to get with someone who knows more than you and keeps tabs on your progress, even if it's just a hobby. Every hobby takes commitment as well. If not the fun dwindles. And your progress suffers. If it's just a hobby, ask your family members or your friends for feedback. It's always fun to get good feedback on your playing. Get a response from them, although be careful of negative people and responses. Know whom you are showing it too and if you always get negative responses about other areas of your life from this person then by all means do not go to this person. Go to someone else. Forums are a good place to show your stuff but be careful since negativity can be anywhere. If you see any kind of negativity it is NOT good for your progress as a player. If you are not so serious but still interested in learning; then you need to get with a teacher that will help you play BETTER. There are great rewards in being able to express yourself exactly the way you want to.

If you are a serious student, there is only one path for you to take. Take lessons and take them seriously!


I believe that all great leaders first learned how to follow, and that's how they became teachers. They had teachers themselves. I believe you must do the same when learning your instrument by studying with a good teacher. Trying to do things yourself will only get you so far. Every single athlete in the world has a coach. This coach knows what the athlete needs to work on. He has studied this and has been through it in order to get you to the highest level. You should be seeking someone who has proven results. The coach can then assess your skills and give you exercises and a certain plan made out specifically for you.

After all is said and done, you need to get into your practice spot and not stop. Don't be inconsistent. Be consistent. Keep a log of your progress. This is very important when you need some inspiration. And lastly, learn in line with your goals.

About the Author

Mike Socarras is a guitarist, songwriter, lyricist and guitar teacher. He teaches music theory, songwriting and guitar in the Westchester area. If you would like to know more about music and playing guitar you can visit these links for more songwriting information. visit my website.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Dan Acheron
    Nice article Mike! Following this advice will help anyone become a better guitarist!
    Great article, Mike. So true...envisioning yourself playing great and then practicing with that and your goals in mind is a secret to success.
    I agree with most of this. The whole practice and mindset thing are completely true. I think after a certain point of playing, you need to ask yourself why your playing, and what you want to do with it. Practice is the most important thing. I play a minimum of 3 hours a day, and generally go much over. Electric during the day, and then from 8-11pm i can only play my acoustics. I think that's the only step people need to follow to become a great guitarist. I, myself, never had a teacher to show me how to do things, and am doing fine. Sure i don't know enough musical theory, but i can well enough solo in a given key, as long as its not some crazy weird one. You don't really need a guitar teacher these days if you have the will to learn. Playing along to songs you like teach you enough about scales and keys and chord changes. And then sites like this, teach you the names of the chords (although not always corectly). I guess it would be easier to have a teacher to tell you how to do things. Like for me, during the first month of playing guitar i had no idea how barre chords worked. I couldn't figure out how you could compress 6 notes with only 5 fingers ( lets just include the thumb here, i know its not a finger ). But with enought practice i figured it out. same with how to vibrato if you want to get good you have to be very concious of what your doing. You have to listen to good music. Keep up with new music and news, to see what s going on now. Concurrent to general statement that most music nowadays sucks, there is a lot of really good, really innovative music being made as well. And not only do you have to keep up with the new, but you have to study the old. The kings of guitar, that began it for us. It's a guitarists duty, to be at all points in time, and look at all the music revolutions. There are no shortcuts. But there are paths that are nicer than others. Thats my much more than 2 cents.
    Lots of motivation Thanks very much.. I'm getting stucked but after this I know what I exactly going to do
    This is a great article. Although I think you should also get negative feedback to learn to cope with negative comments and also to know what you have to make better. But the feedback should always be constructive, not like "you suck hairy balls"
    my buddy's aunt brought in $13728 the prior month. she gets paid on the laptop and bought a $428900 home. All she did was get lucky and set to work the tips made clear on this website
    iup788 wrote: Just saying, not everyone can afford a teacher.
    I hear ya. I'm working on an article on this right now. Funny you mentioned it. It will explain several things you can do if you cant afford lessons. I once couldn't afford lessons either. Though I do believe you can learn a lot faster with an excellent teacher, i'm writing it in the hopes that it helps somebody. I think it will. Thanks for your comments guys
    Lou Lombardi
    Nice work Michael. Very informative! I totally agree about all great leaders having teachers. Too many try to go it alone...and too many fail. Lou
    Cody Mazza
    Great article, only issue I found was the first sentence in the practice portion.