Why Don't You Play Better? Ask Yourself These 10 Questions

Have you ever heard the old saying "practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good"? If not, you most likely are not playing guitar at the level you want to play at.

Ultimate Guitar

Have you ever heard the old saying "practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good"? If not, you most likely are not playing guitar at the level you want to play at.

So, riddle me this Batman:

Why are you not playing as well as you think you should?

It might sound strange but one of the best things you can do to improve your guitar playing does not involve playing your guitar. So put away your guitar and find a quiet place and contemplate the questions below regarding your practice habits. This will only work for you if you are honest with yourself. Ask yourself these 10 questions and write down your answers in a notebook. I'm sure the answers you read back will surprise you.

1. What are you practicing?
2. Are you a doodler or do you concentrate on what you're doing?
3. Do you know what to learn?
4. Are you being realistic when it comes where you "think" you should be in your progress?
5. So you know some scales, what can you do with them?
6. What is your practicing environment like?
7. Do you turn off the TV & cell phone during your practice time?
8. How often do you how pick up your guitar?9. How much time are you putting into it?10. How bad do you want to play?

For 15.5 more hard hitting questions click here.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is just an advert. I thought UG were against columns that were links to adverts.
    1.) ZZ Top & PanterA "80%" covers. Seriously, I learn the riffs & find out what key the song is in & start soloing in what notes I think sounds in key with that song. 'Cause screw playin' it note-for-note perfect. 2.) I don't concentrate on what I'm playing, I simply let it all flow outta me & onto the guitar. 3.) Yes. If I like a song, I say "I wanna learn that song & play it my own way." 4.) Progress? What on Earth is that? 5.) Play rhythm, shred, sweep-arpeggio, hammering, harmonics (pitch, artificial or otherwise), harmonic squeals & anything else that comes to mind in that split second. 6.) Loud! I usually jam to some of my own backing tracks that I've made in FL Studio or I just play whatever I want. 7.) I don't have a TV & I never switch my phone off. 8.) As often as the sun rises & sets. It's nothing for me to lock myself in my studio & hammer out on my axe all day. 9.) I'll play 24/7/365 if I want to. 10.) IIIII'mm gonna play my guitar RIGHT now.
    1) Practicing scales and when and how to incorporate them in whatever keys (and how to differentiate), Play with my Looper a lot. 2) I concentrate on my doodles. 3) I watch and am subscribed to guitarsystem..that seems to lead me pretty well. 4) No..i am not to realistic. Been playing an easy hour every day for 3 years and feel like my progress isn't growing as fast as it was. Maybe im learning how much I suck at the technical with keys and the stuff im currently learning. 5) I expand on some, come up with little licks, bends, rhythmic patterns..gotta get out of playing the scale in sequence and jump around a bit more.. 6) I have a private area and table with my gear and can be in a closed off room whenever I want. 7) cell phone not so much, but I don't check it too often, plus I use it for metronome and recording. 8) as often as I can..pretty much everyday. 9) an hour a day (granted I might play for 8 hours on the weekend or something..worst case scenario I AVERAGE an hour a day. but more often than not I play an hour a day.. 10) BAD
    Unstuck Guitar
    The last thing i'm going to say on this topic is my column was submitted, approved and posted by UG. They could have edited the link out but did not. Judging by the Facebook likes, retweets and the amount of people who have downloaded the 25.5 questions, I have helped a lot of people Liam today. How about yourself? Rhetorical question! For the record, I don't currently have a blog or website. I'm going to go practice now.
    They don't even proofread their articles, come on. Advertising..... That's a paddlin'
    You've helped "a lot of people Liam today". Does that mean you've helped a lot of people called Liam, or helped a lot of people realise they want to be called Liam?
    I'm not talking crap about your article. I just stated that number 8 screwed with my head. Instead of trying to defend the article... maybe tell us what 8 was supposed to say. I genuinely do not know. I'm guessing it's "How often do you pick up your guitar?". Good questions and tips otherwise.
    Unstuck Guitar
    lol…… yes, number 8 should read, how often do you pick up your guitar? I won't be defending any more articles, it took way too much energy and time away from important things (such as proof-reading the next article). Thanks
    Unstuck Guitar
    Hi Bad, I'm not advertising or selling anything. Above are 10 interesting yet simple questions I pose to my student and I'm sharing this info for free. The link does not go to an advertisement, but to more questions. Sorry if you didn't find the column useful.
    So why does the link ask for my email address?
    Unstuck Guitar
    To get more free information, which many UG users have happily done and many, many more have not. All the best to you.
    Then why not put the information on your website instead of emailing it?