Dave Byers Blog

What are the main reasons people don't advance on guitar or other instruments?

Good question. Here's my 2 cents:

* Not enough practice. Said before but certainly needs to be at the top. More time wood-shedding = better level no matter what you do.
* Learn music theory. Understand the language music is made up of. Learn chord construction, chord progressions, scales/modes etc. construction so that you can recite it off the top of your head and apply it.
* Study your influences and learn their riffs. All the greats do this. Take songs you love and musician's you admire and learn their works to the T. Later as you evolve as a player you'll be able to pull from these influences and add things and twist them and combine them to your own tastes. But you've learned many great techniques you can build on and keep in your "musical toolbox" to pull out as you need.
* Lessons. Thanks mom, I had lessons when I first started back in 1979. Instead of learning bad habits and floundering around aimlessly I was on track and learning quickly. Believe it or not I was taking 3 lessons a week from 3 different instructors. Yea, I was in the deep end of the pool and guitar was what I did 24/7/365. Lessons lasted maybe a couple years but what a magnificent foundation I had to build upon. All these years later I've used that stuff. Thanks mom and dad!
* Productive practice. Be focused and learn new techniques at an extremely slow tempo and gradually increase tempo till your up to full speed. Many/most all musicians attempt new things at WAY TO FAST of a tempo and learn to play it sloppily instead of very cleanly. Use a metronome or drum machine.
* Take every opportunity to jam with players better than you and in front of an audience of any size at every chance you can.
* Less research and more playing. All musicians do this. We spend time researching pedals, amps, instruments etc. when we should be practicing and jamming instead. Much better use of our time. I own a store and a people often comes in asking odd ball questions (you can tell they've hit the internet) with these concerns. They try and sound like a player whose played for decades asking precise specs and all. Then they pick up the guitar and sound like they've... well instead of wasting all that time ... you really should be learning how to play. The fingerboard wood, split pickups etc. has nothing to do with your techniques as a musician. If you suck you're still going to suck on any instrument and it won't make any difference. Even advanced musicians do the same thing and I'm guilty as well. Chasing tone and the next gadget is all cool and everything but decrease that time spent and increase your time wood-shedding (practicing) and you'll be MUCH better off for it.
Dave Byers
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