How to Play Guitar – What’s Your Strategy?

If you’ve decided that you want to know how to play guitar, you need a strategy. You won’t get anywhere very fast if you bumble along aimlessly strumming this or widdling that. Oh no, you need to take a structured approach. And not only that, but you need to have clear idea of where you’re heading – you need to have a goal in mind.

So how do you come up with a strategy for learning guitar? Well, first you need to be clear where you want to end up. What is your ultimate goal?

It is not enough simply to say that you want to be a great guitarist. No, you must have a very clear idea of what it is you are trying to achieve. Imagine yourself playing guitar in exactly the way you desire, with complete mastery of all of the skills that you want to develop; this is your ultimate goal. Then you must break down this goal into milestones with set times by which you want to achieve them.

For example, you might decide that you want to be able to shred like…well, like this guy…

Not too shabby…especially with those two fellows in the background doing their best to put him off.

Anyway, if your goal was to be able to play like that, you’d need to break down that ultimate goal into smaller goals. Perhaps you’d set yourself the goal of playing a particular solo that involves some wicked cool bimanual tapping. A further sub-goal would be to become proficient in tapping with one finger of the right hand, then two fingers, then doing it faster, and so on.

Each goal must be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time-bound. It’s all about breaking it down into manageable chunks. If you set out to eat an elephant you’re going to be put off by the enormity of the task, but if you break it down into a steak for lunch, some liver for dinner and a couple of elephant sausages for breakfast the following morning, it’s bound to feel more realistic and you’re much more likely to stick with it.

Does that analogy work? I have no idea but what I’m trying to say is, be clear about what you want and what you need to do to get there. And don’t bite of more than you can chew – there I go again!

I think I’d better go and grab something to eat because my subconscious is clearly trying to tell me that I’m hungry.

While I’m doing that, why don’t you develop your own strategy for how to play guitar that will help you achieve your goals?

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