- Have you played guitar for a while but feel that you should be better by now?
- Is your guitar playing in a rut or are you feeling stuck?
- Are you looking to learn new and innovative rhythm or lead techniques, discover fresh approaches to improvising, expand your chord vocabulary, how to accompany yourself on the guitar if you sing, understand music theory, or learn how to read music?
It’s very common for experienced guitar players to feel as if they’re spinning their wheels and not improving despite putting in the work. I’ve helped countless intermediate and advanced players over the years break through and get to the next level and beyond with their guitar playing.
While every student is different, here some of the best ideas and strategies that I’ve used over the years for advancing guitar players, not necessarily in order of importance:
- Learn new and different styles. Let’s say you’re a rock player and you’ve hit a wall with your playing. You can get a lot out of learning jazz or fingerstyle that you can take and apply to rock. Same thing if you’re an acoustic player. You can learn funk and then become even better at acoustic. If you play blues, learning jazz and some advanced theory can take your playing to the next level and beyond!
- Transcribe. In the Internet era with tablature just a click away, transcribing has become a lost art. Remember that music is originally an aural art form and many of the pioneers of popular music only relied on their ears to learn. By transcribing and developing your ear, you will see huge improvements in your playing. In fact, there is a supercharged method and approach for transcribing that I share with my students that will get you much bigger results than just transcribing alone!
- Learn more advanced chords, strumming patterns, and soloing ideas. There is a huge world of chords beyond barre chords and a lot more to soloing than playing pentatonic scales.
- Get discipline and structure into your practice sessions. The way to get big results is to learn how to organize your practice time in the most effective way so that you get maximum benefits for the time you put in. Also, it is a huge benefit to learn and master no more than a few new concepts at a time.
- Learn music theory and songwriting. Even if you already know some theory, learning more advanced theory will increase your understanding of harmony and allow you to come up with new ideas for playing. You can also use theory to come up with new writing ideas.
- Read music. One of the problems with only knowing tablature is that you tend to think of the guitar in terms of numbers and shapes. By learning to read, you will start to think of the guitar as musical notes and harmony.
- Develop your own voice. All of knowledge that you can gain with this new information is great. However, it’s best to be able to fully integrate everything into your playing and to inject your own personality and style into everything. While it does take time, I help all of my students develop their voice on the guitar!
- Believe in yourself! Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy. We get frustrated at our progress, upset with ourselves, and then doubts and negativity start creeping in. You can’t succeed at anything – especially something as challenging as learning the guitar – if you don’t think you can do it!