Here are 14 effective ways to improve your guitar playing skills:
1. Play Easy Songs
One simple way to improve your guitar skills is to learn and practice simple songs on your guitar.
This strategy works by having you practice simple skills over and over, so that you can master the basics in an enjoyable manner.
The great thing about this technique is that there are so many great, easy songs to play that you can spend a lot of enjoyable time practicing this skill.
Here is a sample list of good songs to learn to play the guitar:
- Here Comes The Sun: George Harrison
- I kissed a girl: Katy Perry
- Bridge over Trouble Water: Simon and Garfunkel
- Layla: Eric Clapton
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Beatles
- Hard Luck Woman: Kiss
- I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues: Elton John
2. Get a Quality Amp
It is interesting to see that many people play the guitar but don’t consider the quality of the amp as important.
However, a lot of the sound of an electric guitar is due to the amp you’re using.
What this means is that, if you want to get a good sound, it is very important to have an amp that will provide the sound quality you’re looking for.
Don’t try to get the cheapest amp out there in the market. Do some research and find an amp that is really good for the style of music you’re making.
Here are some alternatives for amps that will improve the quality of your sound:
- Donner M-10 10W Guitar Amplifier: a great amp if you plan to use distortion and digital effects on your guitar.
- Fender Frontman 10G: a classic amp sound, that will make you sound great on most popular styles.
- Fender Mustang LT-25: another Fender quality amp, this one provides digital effects that will make your sound much better.
- Orange Amps Crush 12-12-Watt: this amp is inexpensive but it has great quality and can be used in digital setups.
3. Get Video Lessons
It is very easy to improve your guitar playing skills when you use better learning material. Traditional guitar instruction was based on books and text, which is not a very efficient way to learn music.
A few years ago, guitar players started to have access to music videos in the format of VHS tapes and DVD. While these are better than traditional methods, they were still expensive and hard to buy.
Nowadays, we have the advantage of using online teaching systems, where we can have easy access to guitar videos.
Guitar videos can be either free or paid. The free videos, in websites like youtube, are good quality but they don’t follow a didactic sequence, which can be bad for beginners.
On the other hand, paid guitar video sites have the advantage of providing videos is a well designed sequence. You also have access to forums where professionals will answer you questions about the video lessons.
Recommendation: there are several good video learning systems in the market, but one that I have used and recommended is the Instantly Downloadable Guitar Videos: This package is one of the best I have seen in terms of covering different aspects of guitar playing. Students can follow a progressive sequence that reinforces what you have previously learned.
4. Learn Guitar Blues
Blues is a music style that has influenced generations of guitar players and singers. Many of the best songs for guitar were written in the blues style.
If you want to improve your guitar skills, one great option is to learn to play blues style songs.
You can learn topics such as guitar solo, blues scales, blues chord progressions, and many more, by becoming familiar with blues styles. Moreover, blues is not a difficult music style, which makes it approachable for a beginning learner.
Pro Tip: You can quickly improve your guitar playing skills by using a web-based online course such as Blues Guitar Videos. This online course is probably the best source to learn blues on the Internet, with several resources such as videos, PDF charts, and explanation of each concept and several exercises. It is also a very fair-priced method that will give you a lot of topics for daily practice.
Tip: You can also use methods created specifically for blues, like the following:
5. Practice Guitar Licks
An important skill for guitar players is to be able to play solo lines. This is a skill used in several styles, such as rock, blues, and jazz.
If you want to learn to solo on guitar, one good strategy is to start with simple licks. A lick is a many times simple solo that lasts one or two bars, and is repeated throughout a song.
To start learning licks, you can just pay attention to guitar parts of songs that repeat themselves. Then, you can start learning these parts either by ear, or by videos and tabs, for example.
Another way of practicing guitar licks is to use some kind software to slowdown parts of a song and practice these licks in slower speed. This is an easy method that is used by a lot of players to learn parts of a song, until they understand each part.
Pro tip: You can slow down video and audio for guitar songs using software. An example is the Video Surgeon software, which gives you all the tools needed to slowdown and repeat musical phases. This software that will certainly simplify your task of listening and playing a particular song by ear.
6. Learn Guitar Scales
If you want to really get great at playing guitar, and improve your guitar playing skills, it is very important to learn the main scales used in music.
The main scale is the well-known major scale, also known as the white keys on the piano: A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
In the guitar, the scales have particular shapes that are easy to learn. Moreover, if you learn the shapes of guitar scales you can use them for any key. For example, the shape of the D major scale is the same as the C major scale, you just need to move it two frets down.
This shows that the guitar is an ideal instrument to learn scales, and it is even easier than the piano or other instruments.
Recommendation: If you really want to learn all important guitar scales, you may want to refer to a system that was designed for students who want to learn scales. The Advancing Guitarist package will help you to become a pro and play guitar scales as a second nature.
7. Learn Improvisation Skills
Another great way to improve your guitar skills is to learn to improvise.
Improvisation may seem a daunting task at first sight, but it is not so complex after you get some experience.
To learn to improvise, your first step must be to master the main scales, such as the major and minor scale (for all keys), and then learn other scales such as harmonic and melodic minor, diminished scale, and a few others.
Once you learn the main scale, you can start using them in the context of a few chords. This first step will teach you the connection between scales and chord.
Finally, you should practice creating improvisations over changes of chords, so that it becomes second nature.
If you really enjoy playing guitar, improvisation is one of the most rewarding skills. You need to practice a lot, but then it gives you a lot of independence on your playing style.
8. Use Software to Learn Chords
Learning chords is one of the hurdles for many beginning players, but it is essential to improve your guitar playing skills.
While a few chords are easy, they seems to grow exponentially, including chords like:
While it may take a long time to get used to all different chords, you can use software to help you in this process.
Using a well-designed software to show you different chords, you can reduce the time necessary to learn them.
Recommendation: I recommend to my students the use of the Guitar Notes software. This is a very well designed online package that will help you to find any chord instantaneously. Using this software is like having an expert guitar professor 24 hours to help you.
9. Master Music Theory
Many students are intimidated by the name music theory.
They think that because there is a theory involved, everything must be very complex and abstract.
But this is not true. Guitar theory treats some very practical issues that every musician needs to solve. For example, it shows you how to build chords, how to combine chords, and how to create melodies that sound well.
All of these topics covered in music theory are practical, and will make you a better guitar player.
Pro Tip: I commend that you take a look at the Guitar Theory Reviewed website. They have a lot of practical information about music theory application. This is also a great companion for those who want to understand the theory behind guitar chords.
10. Play Rock Songs
Another great way to become a better guitar player is to practice rock songs in your guitar.
Rock is a music style that is mainly dominated by guitar. You will find nice guitar solos and chord progressions in most famous rock songs.
To get great at playing rock, you just need to find a source of rock guitar songs and some introduction about how they’re played at the electric and acoustic guitar.
You can play riffs, and you can use several techniques that have been developed for rock players over the years.
Recommendation: You can also learn rock songs for guitar using the Rock Guitar Mastery method. With this online resource, you will find hundreds of rock songs that have been analyzed for easy understanding. In this course, you’ll also find a long great exercises to improve your technique.
11. Use Different Methods
This is a tip that you can use not just to improve your guitar playing, but any other skill such as learning computer programming, stock trading, painting, or anything else.
You should avoid getting stuck with a single method. Instead, you should be open to using different methods to achieve your goals.
By adding variety to your learning strategies, you can progress faster. You will also have a broader view about your topic than someone who just learned the basics from a single source.
12. Improve Your Guitar Pick Control
If you play the electric or acoustic guitar, an important part of your sound is determined by your picking technique.
If you don’t know how to hold and use the guitar pick, you will have difficulty progressing in other areas.
Thankfully, learning to improve your pick control is not difficult, you just need to practice this skill a lot.
One strategy that you can use if to follow a directed method to improve your guitar pick control.
The Guitar Control was developed exactly to improve your control skills on the guitar. This is a very organized method that can help you achieve mastery over several important aspect of the guitar. I have tested many of the techniques presented in this course and found them to be extremely helpful.
13. Do exercises for Left Hand
Another useful strategy to become a better guitar player is to practice your left hand.
The left hand is responsible for coordinating your chords and single note solos. That is why it is crucial to practice quick changes in your left guitar position.
Any good guitar method will have exercises for the left hand, but I also recommend the Guitar Control method to achieve mastery of the left hand movements.
14. Learn to Equalize the Instrument
Another method to improve your guitar playing skills that you need to have is to listen to the guitar sound and determine if it is what you expect of if there is something missing.
A possible way to improve your sound is to perform some mixing, and improving some of the frequencies produced by your guitar.
The equalizer is an equipment that will let you emphasize some segment of the frequency spectrum. You can decide to give more emphasis to lower frequencies, to get more bass sound. Or you can can give more weight to middle-range frequencies, to make the instrument more well balanced.
Learning to do this will turn you into a better guitar player, who understand not only the instrument but also the way you can achieve a better sound.
Pro TIp: You can learn more about these and other topics by requesting a free PDF guitar course that I created! Just request your free course and it will be send to you immediately by email.