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Gutar Practising Tips

 Guitar Practising Tips 

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Getting the Absolute Most out of Practising

As an experienced guitarist, I would have to confess to spending a great part of my early guitar practising days playing things I could already play because - well... because I could! It took me a while before I realised I should be spending my time practising things I couldn't play so that I was continually stretching my education.

Getting into the Practice Mindset

It's so important to get into the right mindset when practising and setting a schedule so you'll improve and stretch yourself every time you pick up the guitar. Aimless practising can add years to your learning!

The Essentials 

If you can, plan a time when you can practice for at least 15 mins, 6 days a week; if you practice longer, make sure it's quality practice and that you don't get physically or mentally tired as that usually means that you standards will drop and you will finish the session with negative thoughts. Ideally, you will need a music stand as it's important to be able to see your sheets at the right angle without having to look up and down and divert your attention.


Secondly, get a guitar tuner! If your instrument is out of tune, practice will become tortuous and you will not develop your ears to appreciate and understand pitch.


Thirdly, get yourself a metronome (you can use online versions for free!) and practice along with it. The metronome will shape your timing and rhythm ways in that will stay with you throughout your musical life. Tuners which have built-in metronomes are also available and provide good value for money.

Headstock Tuner - Tuners come in many forms but the headstock variety are both cost-effective, accurate and efficient.

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Metronome - There are many types of metronomes available but the cheapest ones are the ones you can use for free online!

Technique, Timing, Tenacity

Structuring your practice session is essential as you need to maximize the time in order to examine your technique, timing/rhythm and the rudiments of music which will include chord shapes (see blog post on learning open chord shapes), harmony, scales, arpeggios, modes etc. Use your smart phone to set an allotted time for all the things that you have in your practice schedule.

Set the timer so you will spend an allotted period of time on one discipline so that when it goes off, you move onto the next. Perfect for time management and a great way of ensuring you get through your practice schedule.

Music Stand - A decent music stand will last you a lifetime and make practising a much easier experience.

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More Tips to Consider when Practising on the Guitar 

Here's a list of tips which can help with your practising, it's not definitive and lots of other teachers will have good ideas that work for them and their students - put together something that works for you. You don't have to employ them all upfront to the point where it becomes restrictive and boring, get the fundamentals working first. Here's a list of pointers that ensure you stay on the path to becoming a guitar God:


  • Break down problematic sections into segments, put them into a loop, slow it down, then repeat the passage until perfect.

  • Practice playing pieces and exercises slowly and gradually speed up when you can do them correctly.  

  • Practice regularly, at least five times a week (min. 15 mins), more is good, but only when you use the time constructively

  • Be self-critical but not too critical – you’re learning for goodness sake!

  • Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time playing what you’re already capable of playing, push yourself to what you can’t play yet, challenge yourself.

  • Use your mind’s eye to visualise what you’re trying to achieve, don’t rely on your eyes. If you can see it in your mind's eye, the chances are you can translate it onto the fretboard.

  • Focus on perfecting your rhythm by working with a metronome.

  • Play exercise scales, arpeggios etc. along with a metronome.

  • Practise everything with a metronome!!

  • Did I mention practising with a metronome?

  • Use the timer on your phone to ensure you stick to practice scheduling. 3 mins scales, 5 mins chords, 5 mins etc.

  • Experiment with different strumming and fingerpicking patterns.

  • Learn scales, arpeggios and modes which will open up a whole new world of musical understanding

  • Listen to music you like and try to use your ears to work out what chords, notes and techniques are being used. Start with isolating the bass guitar to see if it gives you any clues as to what the root note of the chord is. In most cases, it's going to be a major or minor triad fromed on top of the root note.

  • Youtube Videos - Press the cog icon and then slow down the playback speed so you can hear notes played slower but still at the same pitch

  • Don’t be afraid to record yourself (a mobile will do), it may throw light on what you thought you were doing well but aren’t.

  • Don't be afraid to experiment with your own ideas, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to creativity, it's all down to you!

  • Don't practise when you feel tired, feel inspired to practice. Practice shold never be a chore.​​​

  • Watch local bands and feed off the enthusiasm they provide. Learn anything you can from the experience.

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In Summation

You will only improve your guitar playing in leaps and bounds by practising, and you will only practise if you don't see it as a chore. A sure way to keep up the enthusiasm for practising would be to structure your practice time, practice regularly, improve as a consequence and therefore have irrefutable evidence that you are becoming a guitar player.

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