10 Steps To Be A Better Guitarist

Just a few steps in my opinion on how to be a better guitarist.

Ultimate Guitar
Okay, first thing I just want to say I really hate those people who think they're like the best guitarist ever just because they can play open chords and use a capo You're Not! Go Back And Friken Learn How To Play! Okay I've finished my rant. Now I'm not the best guitarist, hell I'm not even pro. But I just wanted to tell some guitarists 10 easy steps of how to be a better guitarist. Step 1: Practice! Practice! Practice! I know that everyone will probably tell you this, but if you don't practice, how are you going to get better? You're not going to get magically good at guitar overnight. You have to put time and effort into it. Practice makes perfect. Step 2: Know Your Theory This will help loooaaaddss. Now I'm not just talking about guitar theory, I'm talking about music theory in general. You gotta know this stuff. If you're playing guitar and don't know you're theory, you. don't. know. what. you're. doing. Well you probably do, but if you don't know you're theory how are you going to learn songs properly? Step 3: Techniques Okay, so you need to know your techniques. Hammer on's, pull off's, tapping, sweep picking, alternate picking, sliding etc. You need to know your techniques or how are you ever going to do anything on a guitar? And if you know your techniques, then practice them. Get them solid. I know a few guitarists that only want to learn fast licks just to impress friends and they don't know basic techniques, so when they play, there's no feeling in their playing and it just sounds boring and stale. Step 4: Know Your Scales So a lot of people don't like scales. To be honest, I'm not one of those people. I love scales. I love playing scales, just the feeling of my fingers moving around on the fret-board, I love that (that's what she said) sorry ignore what it says in the brackets, it was quite immature of me :P. You need to know your basic scales or how are you going to improvise? How are you going to know how to write songs, and how songs work? You Need To Know These Stuff. You definitely need to know your basic scales like major, minor, pentatonic, arpeggios. That's not a lot. Step 5: Always Play With A Metronome Metronomes piss me off, I'm not gonna lie. They really do. When I get out of time, it really puts me off. But metronomes don't only improve your guitar playing, they also improve your feel for music and timing (obviously). I know some guitarists that have never played with a metronome before and when they've made a band and started playing with a drummer they have a really hard time keeping in time. Well you don't always have to play with a metronome but it's good to just use one from time to time. Definitely practice your scales with a metronome, I recommend that. Step 6: Know Your Preferred Genre If you know your preferred music genre, then you would know what to play, and what type of guitars/amps/pedals etc. to buy. Don't let anyone put you down about your favorite type of music genre and don't put anyone else down. I still do that sometimes, just because they're not into the music I'm into. But don't do that, because it might discourage people to play their guitar. Step 7: Have A Guitarist To Look Up To You should definitely know your basic guitars, like strats and Les Pauls. But you should definitely have a guitarist to look up to. If you do, it will encourage you to practice guitar. I have loooaadds of guitarists I look up to such as Orianthi, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, B.B King, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer and lots more. Every time I listen to their songs or watch them on YouTube, I think to myself, Hey I want to learn that song, or I want to learn that technique etc... Watching your favorite guitarists perform will encourage you to learn new things. Step 8: Don't Let Better Guitarists Discourage You To tell you the truth, I've met A LOT of guitarists that are soooo much better than me. It discourages me and I feel as if I'm not good enough. I've had some doubts about continuing with guitar, but I just love playing the instrument so much I can't quit. Instead of better guitarists discouraging you, make their guitar skills encourage you to practice more and hey, you never know, you might be better than them one day. Haters are our motivators. Step 9: Express Yourself You should definitely express yourself with the way you play guitar. Show some emotion when you perform on stage. Don't be scared to make a mistake. Failing will lead to success. Step 10: Never Give Up If you're having some doubts about playing guitar for whatever reason, Don't give up! You will get better, if you put time, effort and use these 10 steps. If you legitly don't like playing guitar, then maybe this instrument isn't for you. Find a different instrument you enjoy, there's an instrument for everyone. Don't forget, your voice is an instrument to. These are 10 steps in my opinion of how to be a better guitarist.

58 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Im just gonna say this- Im pretty sure metronomes piss everyone off
    "Know Youre Theory"
    You, good sir, should really get to know YOUR grammar.
    iluvsushi2650 wrote: A few grammatical errors aren't going to kill you.
    Nor would re-reading your article before posting.
    Hell Kaiser Ryo
    How does one accept that they are theory? I thought I was a human being. I think that you should know your grammar.
    iluvsushi2650 wrote: Just chill guys.. I'm still a kid livin' my life.
    Great, but did you at least read your article back before posting it? Seriously in the last point "legitly" - no. The word is legitimately. This is good advice for a beginner, but the mean-spirited members of UG have and will continue to rip you for posting articles that you have not even proof-read.
    Metronomes are boring. Practice over backing tracks, and retain some motivation.
    Youre not going to get magically good at guitar overnight.
    I agree for the most part, but small exception; When i can't sleep i play stuff on an imaginary fretboard in my head, usually songs that i've just started learning. I actually find it helps me "get better overnight" to a certain extent lol. At least in terms of remembering things.
    "I love playing scales, just the feeling of my fingers moving around on the fret-board, I love that (thats what she said)[...]" That makes no sense at all.
    iluvsushi2650 wrote: Just chill guys.. I'm still a kid livin' my life.
    That's nice and all, but sometimes the idiom "it's the thought that counts" just doesn't cut it. If you're going to do something, at least try and do it right. The tips are either common sense things that shouldn't really need to be said (such as 1, 6, and 10) and several of them don't make any sense (such as 2 and 3).
    1 - obvious 2 - questionable 3 - questionable 4 - questionable 5 - plain wrong 6 - has nothing to do with making you a better guitarist 7-10 - true but don't really add to the article. Good work.
    It seems as if there was only 2 truly helpful steps in there. Just saying, but its kind of guitar 101.
    Good stuff here, whether all of the advice given pertains to beginners or not is besides the point. it's all useful at some point in the journey. Keep up the good work, and keep on playing.
    Not a bad article, but you shouldn't make it a how-to kinda thing. All grammatical errors aside, I think that there is some information that actually could hinder someone, were they to not know all of this stuff already, e.g. steps 6 and 7. I personally think if you strive for what you want to hear as opposed to what you know someone else uses, you will get a much better grasp on your concept of music... Putting a genre box around yourself just makes it even worse.
    Hey, ignore the grumpy people on here! At least you took the time and effort to share your personal insight with others!
    i'm pretty sure chopin is rolling in his grave about the "you don't have to use a metronome" deal. there's a reason the man's timing was damn near immaculate. and personally, i think something like "listen to everything" is a bit better than "know your preferred genre". seriously, listen to everything. a musician that doesn't actively listen to all genres of music is like an artist who doesn't stop to look at his surroundings, or who only knows one shade of each color. by and large, the number one problem among bad guitarists is not that they have bad technique, not that they only play one genre, or not even the ego issue -- it's that they don't ACTIVELY listen to music. they only listen to what they know, and they don't even actively listen to try to understand what's going on (without an instrument) in a song. you absolutely NEED a trained ear. i've never met a good musician who didn't have a fantastic ear. i get that you're a kid trying to live your life, but here's the thing - if people take your opinions, they're not going to end up like great guitarists, they're going to end up like you. i'm willing to bet that you've followed the advice written here, right? if you give advice, i'm sure you take it yourself. and where have you ended up? the exact same place the other people who follow your methods will end up. does that make sense? sure, i guess it's nice you "took the time and effort to share your personal insight", but if a homeless person took the time and effort to share his personal insight on how to make money, would you listen?
    Bad Kharmel
    so, I just read an article on music theory by one of the mods, and its bad, really bad, but it has a good score, I'm here to tell you that nothing you wrote was really far from the truth, you just had a bunch of beginner level guitar players attack you for some grammar mistakes, keep up the good work and don't let people on this site get to you remember 90% of guitar "players" can only strum chords
    Yer I didn't play with a metronome or play scales either and I found it hard to play fast runs or repetitive lick. Now I practiced with one for about three weeks and I have seen dramatic improvements. You learn your scales at the same time because you need something to play over them. So it's probably the best advice there because once you start seeing fast improvements it makes you want to practice more. Oh yer can I just mention that there are a lot of people. On here who seem to have that ego thing going on. Just remember it's not a competition it's a passion so chill out.
    I rarely post stuff for this very reason- all the internet trolls who come out of the woodwork to put someone else down. Why don't all you bedroom guitarists realise you are not that great; otherwise why would you be reading an article on how to be a better player? It's pretty good advice, albeit not 100% original. Thanks man.
    stop bitching about grammar and start creating some normal critisism...if this is an english exam im making sure im getting the **** away from here. either add something usefull in the comments or STFU. OT: I think the steps are OK, but nothing I really didn't already knew.
    Grammar: The difference between knowing your sh1t and knowing you're sh1t.
    I love that (that's what she said) sorry ignore what it says in the brackets, it was quite immature of me . Got that shit right LOL
    All I've gotten out of these comments are a bunch of morons bashing a girl for a few grammatical mistakes, and no real opinion on the actual article. Sure, it kind of was something we all knew. Did anyone say that a member who is not an English professor at Harvard is not allowed submit an article? I don't think so. If you guys are so picky on the grammar, maybe you should spend your time majoring in English rather than bashing a kid for making mistakes that we have all made in the past.
    iluvsushi2650 wrote: To lazy haha.. Sorry for being uneducated. This is advice for beginners, so I'm sorry if anyone's to good for this.
    It's solid advice, just very poorly written - look at how many comments regarding this fact there are above^!
    How old are most of you?stop bickering.God damn emo pissants! These steps are o.k if you are approaching them from a beginners angle,and there is nothing wrong with going back to the fundamentals of the guitar from time to time.
    this article is quite bad. i can play very much like yngwie malmsteen, megadeth, maiden, ect. and i dont know my theory, i dont know all my scales, i dont play with a metronome,and i dont really practice i just play.
    i can play open chords and use a capo, im a far better guitarist than you. I hope this discourages you, at least enough to not write another article like this.
    You sound like just another one of those millions of guitarists who prefer heavy metal and idolise Metallica. I'm really sick of kiss-ups to James Hetfield.
    Very helpful man! I have been lacking in my practicing lately. I want to be a musician full time. And I just love music. Thanks for the boost!
    To lazy haha.. Sorry for being uneducated. This is advice for beginners, so I'm sorry if anyone's to good for this.
    Some good points, but alot of it idk. Ive never used a metronome, but when i started pllaying in bands it was very easy? idk. And you shouldnt pick ur genre lol, unless ur in a cover band, but let the songs you write be themselves but there are some good points.
    I think this don't go to guitarist, but to anyone wanting to become a musician cause a lot the thing mention (disregarding the grammar)has good points which some don't do.
    Sorry for the grumble just please please try in your future articles to put more emphasis to your points otherwise it becomes a useless cliche you have a good general guitar playing mentality
    This article pisses me off alittle could ease up on the stupid guitarist cliches weve heard for years and why the hell do we have to have a 'preffered' genre? I agree with not letting anyone put your tastes down but listening to one 'preffered' genre all the time is just gonna put your playing in a closed minded loop listening to a broad range of styles is what helps your playing reach the next level you dont ever want to close your options to other genres and techniques you could learn try finding 8 to 10 preffered styles more like haha