As with any other line of music, being the best at playing the guitar can only come if you never stop practicing and trying new things. Furthermore, every guitarist will experience at some point periods of lousy playing and lack of progress. The signs of these kinds of periods are playing the same tricks without daring to change something, being afraid to try new things, and the list can continue.
The first thing that you need to know is that these are perfectly common and usual slumps in a guitar player’s path. The second thing that you need to understand is that you won’t be able to improve your playing if you don’t grasp the reasons why you are a lousy guitar player – at this time. So here is a list of seven habits or reasons for your bad guitar playing and solutions to them.
- You Do Not Practice Enough
There is a saying that goes like this: “Constant practice beats talent”. The lack of sufficient practice is one of the most common reasons guitar players are simply not good enough or not able to overcome a period of stillness. Being distracted by all sorts of factors is easy, and you don’t feel the time passing by. However, becoming good at playing can only be achieved if you practice like Bryan Adams – until your fingers start bleeding.
- You’re Too Impatient
Of course, you wish to be an excellent guitarist, and you want that now. However, if you try to play faster than the level at which your fingers and brain are ready to at that moment, you might find yourself unsuccessful. You will make mistakes and feel like you’re very bad at it.
So, abandoning a piece just because you don’t get the outcome you expected fast enough is a mistake. You must dwell on it until it sounds right to step up your game. Playing at the current tempo as comfortably as possible should be your main goal at all times. Progress should happen slowly and steadily, don’t rush anything.
- You Don’t Have a Strategy
Playing rather randomly and without a well-formed purpose will most likely result in frustration and piling of materials that you can’t deal with. Also, having no ways of testing your progress, due to the lack of a long-term goal will be harmful to your progress as well.
To change that, and start practicing with a strategy you must firstly understand what your goals are.
- You Don’t Try Anything New
Playing the same old songs is by far the easiest and the most comfortable thing in the world. However, you will never achieve greatness by doing so. Be comfortable, find the right position, leather guitar strap and environment in which to practice. Adding to your repertoire should be a constant thing. Always be on the lookout for new artist or songs, or – on the contrary: look back at the old school players and see what you can experiment from their songs.
- You Don’t Know Your Theory
It may sound boring and uninteresting, but one of the things that make a guitarist great is knowing the theory. There are always exceptions, geniuses that can pitch perfectly without almost any theoretical knowledge. However, you are most likely not one of them.
Knowing this, you should dig in on studying everything there is, from the ways the chords are connected to the scales, intervals, chord construction and so on. Having a strong base will improve your skills fundamentally. The theory is the foundation that helps you to be creative and fluid.
- You Are Self-Taught
Many guitarists choose this path because they believe they don’t need a teacher to make progress. However, the truth is quite in the opposite direction. The amateur lessons, tablature, and videos that are available online aren’t able to identify your mistakes and correct them. Also, they do not answer the questions that you might have, you don’t receive feedback from them, and they most certainly don’t personalize anything for you.
The benefit of having a guitar teacher is that he/she will set up a strategy for you, will encourage and correct you.
- You Stay Isolated
That is often the death of a guitar player. To progress and have a little fun, one must go out there and start practicing with other people. Playing in a band helps a lot with structure, rhythm and dynamics, and it could turn out to be what you needed to become great.