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Mastering the Guitar - Tips for Success

Updated on January 11, 2011
Photo by Conrad Morgan
Photo by Conrad Morgan

A new guitarist often feels overwhelmed by the task laid before him or her. Mastering the guitar, or any instrument for that matter, isn't an easy prospect. Especially when one sees so many talented and expert guitarists out there, achieving success can seem beyond your reach. Don't lose heart! Every guitarist goes through these doldrums. Here are some simple tips and advice to help you gain mastery of your instrument.

  • Practice. Practice is king when it comes to learning an instrument and the guitar is no exception. In fact, every one of the following bits of advice I give here are predicated upon the necessity of practice. No accomplished guitarist has become so without hours upon hours of practice. I personally don't believe that natural talent has much to do with your chances of success at guitar. Maybe 1-2% lies with natural talent, but the rest relies entirely on practice. So, you need to understand from the start that lots of practice is going to be the chief element in mastering the guitar. Enough said.

  • Form a regular practicing schedule. How often you practice will depend on your expendable time. Once you decide how much time you can allot to practicing set up a regular schedule and stick to it. It's very important that you don't skip your practice sessions. This is sure path to disappointment and failure. One skipped guitar session leads to two, and then a third, and so on. Once you fall out of a routine it's hard to get back into one. The vast majority of new guitar players make this mistake and end up never playing again. Instead they become the owners of an expensive instrument that sits in the corner and gathers dust.
  • Consult as many resources as you can. This could be in the form of guitar playing friends, websites, books, videos, etc. There is a wealth of knowledge out their for beginning guitarists to tap into - use it. Here, you can find a good list of resources for guitar beginners.

  • Be patient. Nothing worth accomplishing can be done overnight. It's going to take you a long time to master the guitar, there are no shortcuts. So, accept this fact at the start and you'll save yourself a lot of frustration down the road. When you hit an impasse, a learning plateau, or experience a lack of enthusiasm put your guitar down temporarily and return to it later in the day, or possibly the next day. Don't wait too long though or you'll easily slip out of your practice schedule. Here's one thing I find effective if a practice session isn't going well or my inspiration just isn't there at the moment. I substitute reading a book about the guitar or learning the guitar for my practice session. This way I'm still applying myself to learning guitar, but giving my playing a rest for the moment. Often, reading about the subject invigorates my interest and I get excited about diving into my next practice session.

  • Spending too much money. Don't fall into the trap of buying all kinds of guitar accessories and goodies. This is just a drain on your wallet and doesn't do anything to make you a better guitarist. Wait until you've progressed to a certain level and are sure you're going to continue playing the guitar before you buy any expensive gadgets. The only thing you truly need is a guitar, a pick, and some sort of instruction course; anything else may make you feel like you're accomplishing something, but won't really help. Oh yeah, you'll of course need an amp and cords if you're learning on an electric guitar. If you're learning without a teacher and need a recommendation for a self-teaching guitar course be sure to check out my review on some high quality methods to teach yourself guitar.

Mastering the guitar will come if you remember these tips and keep plugging away at it.


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    • OrlandoC profile image

      OrlandoC 7 years ago from Glen Ridge

      You had me with that pic of Dave. Good tips.