How to improve your skills

In Online Lessons by patrikLeave a Comment

Introduction

There are many useful online resources out there. When I started out playing guitar almost 30 years ago I didn’t have access to this amazing thing called internet. It took me a quite a few years to figure out what and how I needed to practice to improve my playing. The following information is nothing new but it’s what works for me and I suggest you use the tips you find interesting. I can also recommend YouTube, of course, where you can find tons of good material on this topic. And remember the most important rule, to have fun!

Tips for improving your guitar technique

Practice whenever you can!
I mean whenever you can! Back in my teenage years I used to play guitar whenever possible. While watching something on the television or when I was on the phone. I used to lay in bed playing before I went to sleep. The only way to get better at anything is repetition. Practice, practice and practice.

Set goals!
It’s important to know why you are doing something. The goals can be small or large. Maybe you want to learn a particular song or a new technique. I often try to find out my weaknesses and focus on improving that. For example, I had a problem with my pinky finger not being as “strong” as the other fingers. Instead of “cheating” and use the other fingers I came up with different exercises to build up the strength. Of course this differs from person to person so I’m not suggesting that you must train your pinky finger, but that was one of my personal goals. With goals it’s easier to see when you are making progress.

Play slow!
I can’t stress this one enough since I know how frustrating it can be when  you want to be able to shred like a guitar wizard. You will do yourself a big favour if you start out slow and increase the speed as you go along. When I want to learn a new technique or nail some complicated lick I usually start out by playing in slowmotion to a metronome and when I feel that I can play it perfect I increase by maybe 5 or 10 BPM. Another thing I often do is to play with a quite clean sound when I learn something since tons of distortion can camouflage minor imperfections.

Put it into action!
The main reason to why practice is hopefully to use what we learn. After I have nailed a certain technique or a lick I usually write some backing track to jam along with and use what I have learned.

Explore other styles
This was an eye opener for me. After years of only playing different kinds of metal I went to a jazz guitarist to take a few lessons. I’m not much of a jazz guy but I continued to take lessons once a week and practiced every day on strange chords I never heard of before. After a few months I realised that all my playing had improved dramatically. Not only had I learned a lot of music theory but the muscles in my fingers had been training on things they had never done before.