Top 10 Tips That Will Help You Improve Any Guitar Technique
After many years of playing the guitar I learned many little things that accelerated my progress on the guitar. I am really passionate about sharing my knowledge with people so I decided to share my top 10 tips which will help you improve any technique on guitar.
Tip 1. Always focus on the timing
Playing in time is what makes guitarists sound good. You may play all the wrong notes but as long as you play it in time with the music, it will sound good. Devote most of your practice time to develop a good sense of rhythm. Study and listen to drummers. Learn to how they manipulate the rhythms and you will start to notice a huge positive difference in your playing.
Tip 2. Always start learning new things at 60 bpm or less
The fastest way to program your brain to learn new material is to do it very slow at the beginning. Play every note as slow as possible and really concentrate on how clean and even the notes sound. If they do not sound clean and even, slow it down even more. 60 beats per minute is a good starting point for most people. Go slower if you need to.
Tip 3. Increase the speed by a maximum of 3 bpm at a time
Increasing the speed by small increments ensures that you continue to use proper technique as you speed up. What happens for many people is their technique changes as they increase the speed and eventually they hit a plateau and can not go past it. The key is to use the same technique throughout the process. Three beats per minute is the best increment to use for this purpose.
Tip 4. Stay positive as you practice
Many of us beat ourselves up as we practice. That negatively affects how fast you learn something. When you stay positive and believe that you can learn to play anything you want, you remove all the internal blocks that slow down the learning process and keep you stuck in a plateau.
Tip 5. Watch every single move you make during practicing
You have to watch everything you are doing when you practice so that your brain can learn it faster. Focus on every little detail as you play. An example of that might be focusing on the feeling in your fingers as they touch the strings. Do it really slow so that you can concentrate on every aspect of the technique.
Tip 6. Make sure your guitar is set-up properly for your hands
If the guitar is poorly set-up, you will have difficulties with executing a particular technique. Trying to play legato technique with a high action is very challenging and not really practical so make sure everything is set-up properly for your hands.
Tip 7. Use the right gauge strings for you
If you use strings which feel uncomfortable for you to play, change them immediately and your technique will improve drastically. Many of us use a particular set of strings for the wrong reasons and that is very detrimental to the playability of the guitar. Experiment with different gauges and find the one that is right for you.
Tip 8. Find the right pick for the right technique
So many people use the wrong pick for their style of music. Using a really thin pick will not help you play faster. Using a thick pick will not get you that soft sound on the acoustic guitar. Decide what you want from a pick and buy different gauges for different playing situations.
Tip 9. Learn about the technique from multiple sources
Everyone has a different way of explaining things. I have found that when I learned something thoroughly it was because I used multiple sources of information. Every source clarifies the concepts even more and you always learn something new from each source. I strongly urge you to learn things about guitar techniques from many different people.
Tip 10. Always challenge yourself
Always practice things that are challenging for you to play. If you can play something new properly after a couple of hours of practicing, it was probably not very challenging. Your technique will improve when you conquer something that took a good amount of practice time. So find something that is very uncomfortable and unnatural for you to play and master it and you will move to the next level technique wise.
These ten tips helped me a lot and I am sure they will help you too if you use them. Remember that nothing is too hard to learn. There are thousands of people who already learned what you want to learn so that means that you can learn it also. Stay positive and remember to take daily action to develop perfect technique.