Whether you’ve just started learning the guitar or have been playing for a while, there’s always room for improvement!
If you want to hone your guitar skills and make significant improvements in a short amount of time, the good news is, it’s possible!
You just need to learn some tried and tested methods used by talented guitar players all over the world.
Here are 16 ways to get better at guitar right now, including tips for avoiding common mistakes, improving muscle memory, and generally becoming a better guitar player.
How To Get Better At Guitar
Make Audio And Video Recordings
Before you can work on getting better at guitar, you need to know where you’re currently at in terms of your skills. Often, the best way to do this is to record yourself, both in audio and video form.
Making audio recordings of your guitar playing will help you hear what your playing sounds like to other people, which is crucial because our perceptions of our own sound can be distorted.
Once you have a clearer idea of what your playing sounds like, you’ll be in a better position to identify areas for improvement.
One of the biggest mistakes guitar players make is not paying attention to their posture and physical movements while playing.
Hunching over your guitar limits your range of movement and may impede your playing.
If you like to accompany your guitar singing with your voice, poor posture will make this more difficult because your diaphragm won’t expand fully, limiting your vocals.
Videoing yourself when playing the guitar will make you more aware of postural issues so that you can correct them.
Work On One Technique Daily
When you’re trying to improve your guitar skills, it’s often tempting to try and cram as many different techniques into one practice session as possible.
However, you’re more likely to see significant improvements quickly if you focus on one technique each day.
The reason why giving all your attention to a single technique per session is so effective is that you’ll have a better chance of perfecting that skill.
Overall, it’s better to take the time to perfect one technique at a time rather than practicing a lot of techniques at the same time, resulting in an average level of proficiency in all of them.
Plan Practice Sessions
Building on the idea that it’s better to practice one guitar technique daily, you should plan out your practice sessions at the start of every week.
By planning ahead, you can ensure that you practice the skills that are most in need of refinement as a priority.
Having a plan in place also reduces the possibility that you’ll get caught up jamming to your favorite song for an hour instead of practicing actual techniques.
Remember, your plan should only involve one technique per day.
If you love to play covers of your favorite songs for fun or to develop your style, you can absolutely do this as often as you like, but make sure you’re setting aside time for the hard work, too.
Discard Bad Habits
Do you have bad habits that get in the way of your development as a guitarist? If you’ve answered no, don’t be so sure – you might have bad habits that you don’t even know are harmful!
For one thing, many guitar players practice sitting down. This is one of the common traps guitarists fall into and don’t see a problem with.
However, playing the guitar while sitting down can be unhelpful for your posture and will make it more difficult to sing along to the best of your ability because it restricts your diaphragm.
Additionally, if you ever play on stage for a group of people, it’s likely that you’ll be playing standing up, so it’s best to get into this habit now.
There are plenty of other bad habits that damage a guitarists’ progress, such as positioning their hands incorrectly around the guitar’s neck.
Something as small as this can make playing much more difficult, so before you try any new techniques, make sure you have the basics down.
Build Up A Repertoire
While much of your guitar practice should focus on developing specific skills, practicing cover songs is also important because it will help you to build up a repertoire of songs.
After all, the point of learning to play the guitar is to use your skills to create music.
Next time you’re sitting around a campfire with your friends or see an opportunity to play in public, you want to have a list of songs memorized.
In addition to practicing individual skills daily, you should dedicate some time to learning how to play some of your favorite songs.
Make sure to keep revisiting them so that they stay in your memory until your next gig!
Bending strings is one of the biggest challenges for many guitarists. Luckily, with practice, this is a skill you can master.
If you’re very new to guitar and don’t yet know what bending is, it means pulling on the string as you play it so that the string tightens and changes pitch.
This technique is more commonly used for the electric guitar, but you can also do it on an acoustic guitar, and it will lend a vocal quality to your music.
Bending on the guitar is not the easiest skill to perfect, so this is one of the techniques that you’ll want to devote many practice sessions to.
However, it’s definitely worth it, and mastering this skill will mark you as an experienced and accomplished guitarist.
Play Different Instruments
Did you know that playing several instruments can actually make you a better guitar player?
It might sound counterintuitive, because practicing various instruments naturally takes some available time away from your guitar practice, but hear us out.
There are skills to be learned from every single instrument, and most of these skills can also be applied to other instruments.
For example, learning the drums will massively improve your sense of rhythm, which will also help you on your guitar journey.
After all, if you’re going to strum a guitar properly, you need to have a solid grasp of rhythm.
Pick up another instrument one day a week, and you’ll quickly see that your guitar skills improve, too!
Focus On Individual Notes
Beyond practicing specific skills and techniques, it’s a good idea to devote your focus to individual notes on the guitar. This could be as simple as trying different ways to play a single string.
Why is this so important? Because every string on a guitar feels different and requires a different amount of pressure and a slightly different approach if you want it to sound perfect.
This doesn’t happen overnight, so while it might be more tempting to spend your practice time jamming out, you should discipline yourself to practice every note until you get it right.
Invest In A New Pedal
If you’re using an amp for your guitar, you might want to invest in a guitar pedal if you don’t have one already. A guitar pedal is not necessary for becoming a good guitar player, but it can definitely help.
Guitar pedals are especially useful for developing new riffs and tones, so if you’re looking to change up your sound, buying a guitar pedal is a good first step.
Additionally, if you already have a guitar pedal, buying another one can still be helpful because different brands produce different sounds styles.
Play In Various Styles
Speaking of styles, you’ll benefit from trying out different musical styles that you wouldn’t usually play.
Not only will this help to expand your repertoire of songs, but it will also improve your skills as a guitarist because you’ll have to get accustomed to different rhythms, paces, and plucking styles, and chords.
Of course, it’s fine to have a particular style that you prefer, and as we’ll get into later, it’s important to start developing your own personal style.
However, you should also be broadening your horizons and challenging yourself to try new things because this is the key to making progress and learning new things.
Organize Group Sessions
Playing in a group is an important step if your aim is to get better at the guitar.
For one thing, if you ever want to play guitar in a band, it’s crucial to learn how to play as part of a group at the earliest opportunity because it’s not as easy as it might sound.
Playing as a member of a group involves keeping time with other members, making sure that your instrument is always in tune, and listening carefully to the rest of your group while they play.
These are all valuable skills whether your aim is eventually to play in a group or not.
Make Time For Rest
As much as it’s important to practice the guitar regularly, you should also take a break from time to time.
Whether that’s to play a different instrument, focus on other hobbies, or simply take some time for yourself, rest is crucial if you don’t want to get burnt out and stop enjoying your guitar practice.
If you’ve been practicing daily for a while, it might even be beneficial to take a whole week off. This way, you can fully recharge.
However, be careful not to take an excessive break because any callusing on your fingers may wear away and getting back into playing may become more uncomfortable.
Research Your Inspirations
Sometimes, practicing the guitar daily can start to feel like a chore, no matter how much you usually enjoy it.
If taking a break hasn’t completely restored your love of playing, you should research your inspirations for picking up the guitar in the first place.
Researching your inspirations isn’t just about getting inspired, either. It’s an important educational tool, especially if you take the time to research their inspirations, too.
This will teach you more about the sources and inspirations for certain types of music and the connections and overlaps between genres.
In fact, researching inspiring musicians can be a useful lesson in music theory.
Use The Clean Channel
For those guitarists who regularly use an amp to boost their sound, you should consider using the clean channel more often.
The clean channel on a guitar amp is basically the setting that doesn’t create any distortion or additional effects.
While adding effects to your sound can be a lot of fun and is even important if you’re trying to create your own unique sound, it can also get in the way of your perception of what your playing sounds like naturally.
Therefore, if you’re wondering how to improve, it’s best to use the clean channel and use our video recording tip to find the answer.
A good guitarist should be able to improvise. Many famous pieces of music actually started as improvisations, so you never know where a quick improvisation session will lead you.
The best way to improve on the guitar is to put on a backing track in a key that you wouldn’t normally choose to challenge yourself. Then, pick a chord pattern you enjoy and get to work!
Develop Your Own Style
If you want to be a successful guitarist, it’s not enough to rely on the music of others. You need to develop your own, unique style to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself.
There are many ways to create a sound that is your own. The first step is to stop trying to be anyone else.
It’s fine to have your inspirations, and they can certainly contribute certain things to your music, but ultimately, you need to find out what is unique and special about you and translate that into your music.
If you implement all the tips we’ve given you in today’s article into your weekly guitar practice routine, you should soon find that you’re making sizable improvements.
Remember to dedicate yourself to specific techniques and note practice as well as learning covers. Once you’ve done this, you can start improvising and creating your own incredible style!
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