The Secret to Becoming a Better Guitarist

For most of my guitar-playing life, I’ve been trying to find the secret to becoming a better guitarist. I’ve spent countless hours reading magazines and books, scouring the Internet, and searching for teachers. What I’ve learned is this: There is no secret.

Becoming a better guitarist takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. There are no shortcuts. This is a lesson that has taken me many years to learn. Actually, I’m still learning this lesson. The way all the guitarists I admire got better was by playing, listening, and learning. That’s what it’ll take for me and you to get better, too.


  1. says

    While it is certainly true that you are not going to get any better just by reading articles in magazines (most of which are written by random writer guys with no “secrets” to share), it is undeniable that some people advance faster than others. You have to practice, but the way you practice matters. There are lots of little secrets to learning guitar. Don’t you agree?

  2. says

    I have found that a good guitarist never stops learning. The subject is way too big to master. I think that you should enjoy the journey and enjoy your playing. It is easy to become frustrated especially in the early days.

    One other thing to remember is that the race is with yourself. The sad fact is that even if you become and outstanding talent on guitar, you may never achieve any real recognition.

    I once saw Sting accept a music award and what he said stuck in my head, “Music is its own reward”.

    Enjoy your playing, keep playing, find new things to play that you enjoy, you will get better.

    Don’t forget the learning curve too. Some people go from zero to hero in a short space of time on guitar but to get the maturity in your playing can take a hundred times as long. By this I mean getting your bends perfectly in tune, getting your vibrato just right or adding the slight changes in the way you play your notes to get “that” sound.

    Last thing, how good a player you are is subjective. Your playing may really turn some off while have others on their knees begging for more.

  3. says

    If there is a secret it is probably to integrate single note lines and chords – the hardest thing to do well. Chord melody playing will help with this,and maybe an hour spent on this is worth many more just going through scales.

  4. Ed Pauley says

    Good observations, guys. We are so fortunate the guitar never stops giving up its secrets – as long as we keep looking for them. Simply put, guitar is a lifestyle.

  5. Josh says

    @Mark – Thanks for stopping by!

    @Andre – There are certainly things that you learn over time that seem like secrets, but the point I’m trying to make is that seeking out those secrets, from my experience, have taken away from actually learning the basics that lead to those “secrets”.

    @Andy – Yes, all of the musicians I admire are open to learning and realize that they have more to learn. It’s the learning curve that can be frustrating at times. Some things come quickly, while some things take a long time to learn.

    @Jon – Combining chord and single line melodies would be very interesting. Any specific exercises to try?

    @Ed – Yep, guitar is a lifestyle, and it requires constant attention.

    @Sarge – thanks for stopping by!

  6. says

    The guitar has developed so much over the years, you can make a whole array of sounds from it, its fantastic. One never stops learning the techniques and technology! Good post.

  7. says

    True that!
    I think we all get the “try to read everything you can on everything at once” and not on a specific subject.
    Then comes information overload! and you don’t make progression
    I like your words: Dedication and Perseverance, that must be the ol’ core essentials to mastering the guitar.

    Short but powerful post, very nice josh

  8. says

    I follow the PP rule: Passion and Patience. Both are extremely important to keep up with the learning curve. I have been learning since nearly six months and I think I’m still passionate about learning guitar.


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