Are you confident that you know a lot about how to become an awesome guitarist? The majority of guitar players believe in (false) common knowledge/myths about getting better on guitar. Those who believe in these myths will struggle greatly to accomplish anything significant in their playing. Those who learn how things really work quickly achieve their goals.
Find out if you are close to achieving your musical goals with the following test:
Question #1: What is the best picking technique to use for playing guitar scales?
a. Alternate picking
b. Directional picking
c. Economy picking
d. They all work just the same
The majority of guitarists think that there is no “best” picking technique. This is not the case. There are picking techniques that are more effective than others. The answer is: directional picking.
Question #2: Which approach will help you reach your musical goals the fastest?
a. Getting information from many different sources
b. Learning by yourself
c. Learning information from one proven, reliable source
Learning from many sources can be harmful (even if they are good sources). Here is why:
- You begin learning in an arbitrary and mindless manner. The particular order in which you learn new things has to be controlled in order to be effective at getting you to understand and improve. Cramming a lot of new information into your brain makes it difficult to know what you should focus on, when exactly you should focus on it and when you should move onto something else.
- You quickly become overwhelmed from an overload of information. This takes away your motivation to practice. It becomes much easier to focus on learning new things rather than getting better through practice.
- Randomized learning makes it difficult to focus on achieving particular goals. This also makes it difficult to measure your progress. You aren’t sure what your skill level is and how to get to the next level.
These problems make you frustrated and greatly hinder your progress.
Being self-taught also slows down your progress in a similar fashion. Self-taught guitar players usually aren’t sure what to focus on, when to focus on it, why they should be practicing one thing over another and how to practice in order to achieve their musical goals.
You become an excellent guitar player much faster by learning from a single proven source. This keeps you on the right path at all times.
Question #3: What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by things to practice for guitar?
a. Take a break away from practicing
b. Force yourself to learn more and become more disciplined
c. Work on integrating everything you know together
Taking long breaks away from guitar is not a sensible solution because it only takes away from the time you could be spending to actually improve.
You can become a better guitarist without ever taking time off from guitar practice. Plus, you don’t need tons of discipline to practice guitar on a frequent basis. You must have a balance of learning new ideas versus integrating new ideas together with skills you’ve already mastered. This helps you to continue improving on guitar while avoiding feelings of overwhelm.
The following video explains what it means to integrate your guitar skills together:
Question #4: What is the most effective way to build your guitar speed?
a. Practicing to a metronome on a consistent basis
b. Practicing the correct speed exercises
c. Having a lot of patience and spending a lot of time practicing
d. Mastery of guitar technique fundamentals
A metronome is helpful for testing your overall top speed, but should not be used to develop your speed. Instead, your guitar speed comes through a mastery of fundamental technique. If you practice a lot with poor technique, it will only produce bad habits in your playing and make fast guitar playing nearly impossible.
To truly build your guitar speed, familiarize yourself with the right techniques to work on. Doing this is very important because this is what forms the foundation for speed. Once you have this foundation you can start raising your speed with the help of a metronome.
This guitar speed building resource shows you how to build your guitar speed and cut your practice time in half.
Question #5: How do you quickly master fretboard visualization for guitar solos?
a. Memorize the entire guitar fretboard
b. Learn how to use a single scale all over the fretboard
c. Learn all the scales you can
d. Learn new guitar licks from guitarists of different styles
Fretboard visualization simply refers to the ability to play and improvise phrases on any area of the neck. Memorizing the names of notes on individual frets won’t help you with fretboard visualization. Why? Because this doesn’t help you see patterns on the fretboard or stay in the correct key as you solo. To greatly improve your fretboard visualization, work on learning how to play a single scale all over the neck. Once you can visualize the neck as one single scale shape, it becomes totally easy to improvise solos.
Now what should you do?:
1. Put together a list of the guitar playing myths you were unable to spot in this test. This way you can better understand what to focus on improving.
2. Don’t worry if you answered many questions wrong. Now you understand what you must do to get better. Be excited about this!
3. Use the tips from this article to achieve your musical goals.