Getting in a rut as a beginner can be perplexing. It is easy to bask in comfort with the chords you know and the rhythm you can pluck with your eyes closed. But you can still improve your guitar playing skills significantly, and here’s how:
1. Eyes on the prize
One thing that can improve your guitar playing skills is knowing what you want with your instrument. Practicing is a step that you can master with a specific skill in mind. Do you want to improve your plucking skills? How about your chord transitions? You will improve a lot quicker when you put your energy into the things you want to practice more.
2. Record yourself
You will surely improve your guitar skills when you know your mistakes. Having a video of yourself playing the guitar is an underrated move that will help you hone your guitar playing abilities. A video recording of yourself will let you know the quirks you do when playing a particular part. It will also highlight points that often need improvement. Watching your recorded songs can help you repeat the best moves and avoid mistakes.
3. Build your chord library
It is undoubtedly helpful to know a couple of chords for your favorite tunes. But building your chord library with the typical genres and songs you play will help you extensively. This chord library will sharpen your chord transitions and speed up the time you play different songs. This library also expands the songs you can master in a matter of time. Once you have learned the chords, try them out on a song and consider incorporating them in your chord bank.
4. Learn different chord versions
Learning and expanding the number of chords you know is a trick that will improve your speed in learning the guitar. But knowing the different versions, so a single chord will speed up how you will incorporate one single chord into another song. Knowing versions makes your fingers flexible and fast if you continuously practice different chord versions. There are a lot of ways you can play a single chord. Do not limit yourself and try chord versions that will best fit your playing style.
5. Play with other people
Jamming to people you just met or to a group of friends you’ve been with for years will help you improve your guitar playing skills. Playing with other people encourages you to be more accepting and open in techniques to help your playing. Aside from that, playing the guitar with other people will teach you how to listen more. You will appreciate song variations and their renditions when you consider listening to a bunch of their song covers.
6. Put on your jam
Learning a technique or a song can be frustrating at times. You will drastically improve if you keep on playing songs that are your jam. Mastering your taste in music can be soothing and inspiring. Your jam will hasten the mastery of your song choices in a couple of days. Aside from that, you can put on a jam track in a foreign key. You can try to take those patterns and experiment on a fret where they are in a new key. Improvisation is a great way to master your jam on a different take. This can drastically improve your skills focused on giving your version of songs and jam tracks.
7. Improve aural your talent
Having an excellent aural skill can skyrocket your guitar playing capabilities in a dozen of ways. Learning to transcribe songs by ear enhances your sensory and coordination skills. Although you won’t improve overnight, try out playing songs with your guitar while listening to it instead of watching lesson videos on the internet. You can also skip reading the tabs for these songs. You will learn a lot by playing things by ear. Your listening skills will improve over time, and this can boost your guitar playing as well.
8. Get to different pick types and models
The positioning of your hand and pick is essential in all aspects of guitar playing. Knowing the types and models of picks can develop your guitar playing abilities drastically. Stay curious about the right pick for your jam. This is not a one size fits all, and you might have the wrong pick for your current music library. Try researching a couple of picks in the local guitar stores. You will be surprised how a pick type and model can change the way you play your jam.
9. Practice consistently
Muscle memory is an excellent tool for you to advance your guitar playing abilities. Be determined in the techniques you want to learn and the songs you want to master. Time is an excellent ally in keeping your guitar skills polished and topnotch. Plan out your practice sessions and do not include guitar ramblings and the random song plays. Have a goal on how you can practice with intention. Set aside a time for this practice, and consistently have this time. Developing a habit is easily attainable if you know what you want and passionate enough to do what it takes to improve your skills.
10. Take a break
Practicing the guitar will also need patience. Don’t be too hard on yourself in mastering a particular chord, technique, or song. You won’t have the inspiration with you all the time. It can be hard to stay motivated and sometimes not see the results you want. Take a break once in a while to refresh your mind. Exercise your hand without the pressure of your guitar and without the burden of getting it right all the time. You will get better with practice, but it is also best to take some time off. Always get back up and learn new things and techniques. It is a balance of hard work without being too hard on yourself.
Learning the guitar is easy, but at times it can also be tricky. You can improve well with these tips. Taking a leap on playing the guitar takes courage and passion. And if you are willing to shake things up, you are up for a massive chunk of improvement in your skills in no time.
About the Author
Charles Vallena is the founder, and managing editor of TheGuitarJunky.com. He helps musicians become real musicians by providing expert insights, guides, lessons, and reviews on the best music instruments. Follow Guitar Junky on Facebook, and Instagram.