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How to Practice the Guitar Effectively


I am a self taught guitarist that has been playing the guitar and other instruments for over 40 years.

Learn to practice the guitar effectively.


How did your guitar journey begin?

Before you started playing the guitar or decided to learn there must have been something that triggered the idea of wanting to learn how to play.

Maybe it was your favorite band that inspired you or perhaps your favorite guitarist or you just wanted to take up an interesting hobby.

Regardless of your reason if you want to improve you will need to practice, if you want to improve dramatically you will need to learn how to practice effectively.

What does that mean?

It means that you will need to learn how to use the most of your practice time, more than likely you have a career or job you need to earn your income.

Perhaps you have a family that requires your attention so your practice time is valuable and may be limited.

Regardless of your situation if you want to advance as a guitar player you will need to practice, how well each of those practice sessions are will determine how quickly you improve as a player.

So learning how to practice effectively is using the most of your practice time.

Learn to play guitar for fun or create a passion.


Determining your goals as a guitar player.

To make the most of your guitar playing or practice you need to determine what your goals are as a player, you more than likely will fall into one of these categories:

  1. You just want to learn how to play so you can enjoy playing your favorite songs on occasion or what I like to call sitting around the campfire player.
  2. You decided to take up a hobby and always interested in the guitar and other guitar players.
  3. You want to be a rock star you are sick and tired of your dead end job and can’t wait for the day when you are part of your own band.

You eat, sleep and breathe the guitar.

Getting the right guitar makes all the difference.

How intense do your practice sessions need to be?

How much time your practice - When we consider the goals above they will determine your level of commitment when it comes to the allotted time you will need to set aside for practice.

If you just want to learn to play for pleasure or as a hobby then you can practice whenever time allows or when you feel in the mood.

If you want to make a career of guitar playing and want to be a guitar God then you will need to set aside as much time as possible.

That is where this How to Practice the Guitar Effectively understanding comes into practice (see what I did there)?

Select the right guitar strings and tune them!


What are some ideas for practicing the guitar effectively?

The practice environment – Whether you want to shred like a maniac or just learn some new chords you need to have a quiet place to practice with a comfortable chair or sitting surface.

If you are not comfortable your practice is not going to last very long.

The equipment – You will want to invest in the best guitar you can afford and also the best strings.

If you have a cheap instrument and strings you will not sound good and if you do not sound good you are not going to be motivated to practice.

This holds true whether you want to learn on a nylon string guitar or a steel string guitar.

When you have the suitable guitar and strings make sure you are in tune.

As a t shirt I own states … tune it or die!

Setting a practice session goal – This one can be tough at times because you may be tempted to grab the guitar and just start shredding away at whatever you know at the time.

Which at times is fine the process is supposed to be enjoyable.

However, if you want to advance you need to have a goal each time you sit down to practice as an example do you want to work on your open chords, learn or practice some new scales, improve on your strumming or practice learning a new song?

Which brings up another point and that is you want to listen to other guitar music as much as possible.

However don’t limit yourself to only guitar music, listen to all types of music and gain an understanding of song structure and rhythms.

Find a comfortable place to practice.


The final note for practicing guitar effectively.

As you continue to play and practice you are going to reach new plateaus as you go beyond each plateau the next one will be harder to reach and harder the more you practice.

However, at some point you are going to reach a plateau where you are no longer focusing on your technical skills and instead are much more aware of your creative skills.

When you arrive at that stage you are going to get really excited because you will feel free of the laborious task of chord progressions and making sure your fingers land where they are suppose to.

Your right hand strumming is in synch with left hand fingering (unless you are left handed then reverse).

You may find that when you hit a certain plateau and it seems nothing you do seems to be working and at times you actually think you are getting worse, stay the course you are closer than you think.

I have found if I just walked away from the guitar for a short time like 5 days or so I heard things differently when I picked it back up.

Don’t develop bad practice habits, if you are not “feeling it” just walk away. Another approach that can help you advance is to play other guitars, if you are lucky enough to own more than one then switch off.

If you only own one you can always go to a music store and pick up other guitars, just no Stairway To Heaven please!

Playing guitar can be great therapy.


For the guitar player that desires quality.

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Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on January 29, 2020:

Thank you for an informative post!