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What’s the fastest and most efficient way to improve at guitar and play “cool songs” pleasing to the ear?

guitar beginner chords
by Ben Ward

Question by e830s: What’s the fastest and most efficient way to improve at guitar and play “cool songs” pleasing to the ear?
A little background:

So I am a guitar beginner – I can play the chords OK, can sing sometimes when I play simple songs, have decent rhythm, and I still hate bar chords but I’m getting them down OK. One problem though…

Practicing really feels like a chore sometimes (the hard part is just getting my guitar out, once I start it’s not so bad) but I wish I could really see myself improving and playing well quicker. I feel like there has to be some advice out there that will “make the difference” in my progress. I bought a Fender instructional DVD for acoustic and it’s helped; I’ve learned some cool things but I think after a while it will get old…

Any teachers/experts out there with some good advice for someone looking to improve in guitar and develop a passion for the instrument?

Best answer:

Answer by TR
Well, a few ideas–

Have you had any professional instruction? Book a few lessons with a good teacher (you can find them in the better music stores–go to the store that sells a full range of band/orchestra/world instruments as well as guitars and amps). If you are making any little mistakes that are slowing you down, the teacher will correct them.

What’s your practice routine like? Can you set things up so that your guitar is out on a guitar stand rather than in the case? When you practice, do you do warm-up exercises or just jump in and start strumming songs? Here’s my thought: several shorter practices lead to more progress than one long one (exception; at some point you need stamina, and only a long session will give you that). So maybe do a 20-minute practice with short warm-ups and then work on playing some real changes, then break–and do another 20-minute session later, and maybe a 30-minute after that.

Playing chords is fine but for real progress you’re going to want scales. Get a copy of Diatonic Major and Minor Scales for Guitar by Andres Segovia and decipher it–all the great shredders play scales according to Segovia–

Alternate your routine often. For example, don’t play the song as written–change the rhythms. Play it in 3. Play it all the way through with the first note or chord long, the second one as short as you can make it, third long, fourth short, etc. Then reverse it and play short-long-short-long.

Go to a store that sells fantasy gaming dice and buy a 12-sider and a 6-sider. Throw them both. The 6-sider is the guitar string (1=low E, 2=A, etc.) and the 12-sider is the fret. Name that note. This is the quickest way to learn all the notes on the fingerboard in the first octave.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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