How To Get Good At Guitar – Seven Tips To Improve Your Playing

Want to improve quickly on guitar? We’ve got seven-pointers that will make a huge difference in your playing.

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 7 points to consider when trying to improve your guitar playing
  • Why stretches and warm-ups are so important
  • Two exercises to help you warm up on the fretboard
  • How to create an effective practice journal

Want To Learn How To Get Good At Guitar?

We all need to start somewhere, but how we improve depends on how we practice – and how often.

Learning how to get good at guitar isn’t a one-answer solution – we need to break down our approach in order to fix what isn’t working first.

Only then can we truly move forward with our musical ability.

In this lesson, we’re going to show you ways to crack open your guitar playing so that you can improve in leaps and bounds rather than baby steps.

how-to-get-good-at-guitar

Today, we want to help you put a magnifying glass to your guitar playing.

By being analytical when it comes to our approach, we can solve problems more easily and move our skill forward at a blazingly fast pace.

We’re going to present you with a series of questions that will make you take a closer look at what you’re playing and how you’re playing it.

We’re also going to deconstruct an easy-to-stick-to practice routine that works for everyone and helps us improve quicker.

If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of how to get good at guitar, scroll down and let’s dive in together.

We guarantee you’ll have a new perspective on your practice routine by the end of this lesson.

how-to-get-good-at-guitar

How To Get Good At Guitar I – How Tight Are Your Chords?

If we’re going to take a look at our own playing to see how we can improve, the first thing we want to look at is our chords and how we play them.

The thing about chords is that the shapes themselves may sometimes be easy to form, but they’re less easy to sound out completely.

When it comes to learning how to get good at guitar, the key is wrist rotation.

This is what helps us open up our chords to sound clearer.

The biggest problem that every beginner guitarist has is sounding out their chords properly, so let’s look at a few more ways we can make them work.

how-to-get-good-at-guitar

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Arpeggios are another amazing way to check the sound of our chords to make sure we’re hitting all the right notes.

An arpeggio is simply the name we use for the technique of playing your guitar chords one string at a time rather than all at once as a strum.

When we perform an arpeggio, it’s important to use alternate picking so that we can simultaneously practice our picking hand technique. This back-and-forth technique across the strings helps build our string compass more accurately.

If you want a lesson in arpeggios, click here.

If you need help with your alternate picking, click here.

Now, let’s move on.

how-to-get-good-at-guitar

How To Get Good At Guitar II – Are You Practicing Your Scales?

Guitar scales help teach us the language of music, along with chords.

Once we’ve gotten a handle on how to get good at guitar with our chords, the next step is to work on really sounding out our scales in full.

The key with playing guitar scales is that we need to assign one finger to each fret.

If we’re talking about an A major scale, we would have our fingers laid out like so:

Index: 4th fret
Middle: 5th fret
Ring: 6th fret
Pinky: 7th fret

how-to-get-good-at-guitar

When it comes to scales, they can be a great teaching tool for alternate picking, much the same as arpeggios.

It’s easy to overlook scales, but they can teach us loads about what notes interact best with which chords.

Try This: Try playing the A major scale over this backing track. Listen for how the notes that you play in the scale interact with the chords you’re playing with in the progression.

When you’re trying to learn how to get good at guitar with scales, it’s important to take this type of practice slowly so that you can listen to the notes and how they lead into and away from one another.

how-to-get-good-on-guitar

How To Get Good At Guitar III – Do You Stretch Before You Play?

Let’s get real for a second here – if you’re not taking care of your body, how are you going to let yourself improve when it comes to speed and dexterity?

You need to be flexible if you want to learn how to get good at guitar, so we’ve got a few suggestions to help you out.

First things’ first – you need to stretch. Stretching is vital for promoting good blood flow in our bodies.

When we play guitar for long periods of time, it’s common for us to feel tense especially in our forearms and wrists.

how-to-play-good-guitar

Start out with these stretches before you play, do them each for ten seconds:

  • Cross one arm over your chest and hold your shoulder with the other hand
  • Hold your hand out in front of you and pull your fingers backward gently. Do the same for your thumb
  • Hold your hand in front of you and push down on your hand above your wrist
  • Hold your hand up above your head and bend at the elbow. Push down on your elbow with your other hand to stretch at the shoulder and upper arm

If you’re trying to learn how to get good at guitar, you’re not going to want to sleep on stretching. Not only will your playing become more fluid over time, but your body will feel better too.

Learn-to-play-good-guitar

How To Get Good At Guitar IV – Do You Have A Set Of Warm Ups?

Before we get into a practice session on guitar, it’s important to have a few hand exercises that we can use to get ourselves ready to shred.

As important as it is to stretch your body, it’s important to warm up your hands both on and off the guitar in order to ensure you’ll be able to play for a long period without tiring, stressing or injuring your hands.

The best way to learn how to get good at guitar is to make sure you avoid muscle stress and injury at all costs.

how-to-improve-at-guitar

The first thing we can do before we even pick up the guitar is to make a fist and then release it, stretching our hands out as far as we can.

Do this repeatedly and then shake your hands out, releasing any leftover tension.

Leaving unnecessary tension out of our hands is one of the best ways to push our playing forward when it comes to learning how to get good at guitar.

If you have a stress ball lying around the house, practice your grip with it. This also works with a tennis ball.

The next thing we want to look at is the chromatic scale and any/all of its variations (pictured below).

Easy-ways-to-play-good-guitar

We can use this scale as an amazing warm up for our hands as well as a tool for exploring the fretboard in different ways.

Use the chromatic scale tab above as a starting point, and begin mixing the notes up as you see below. This will help stretch your fingers before you play.

Finger stretching is one of the best ways to open up your hand prior to playing guitar.

If you’re looking for the best way to learn how to get good at guitar, start by stretching your hand before you play. You’ll feel a noticeable difference right away.

Now, if we really want to learn how to get good at guitar, how often should we be practicing?

how-to-get-better-at-guitar

How To Get Good At Guitar V – How Often Do You Practice?

Practice is the most vital part of any musical endeavour, and frequent practice makes all the difference – period.

So how do we go about putting together a practice schedule to help us learn how to get good at guitar?

First thing’s first, we need to look at our existing schedule and see what time we already have.

We all lead crazy lives, and free time can often seem like it’s more scarce than it actually is.

Try This: Set aside a simple 20 minutes every day. During that time, pick two things that you can practice for ten minutes a piece.

free-guitar-lessons

As you start committing twenty minutes every day to working on your guitar chops, you’ll soon find that that twenty minutes has quickly turned into a half hour or more, leaving you more time than you initially thought you had.

Rotate your practice material every day. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, something as little as two chords a day for ten minutes each will do perfectly.

This simple routine will get your brain in the habit of making time for the guitar each day, and that’s all you need to start building a good habit.

The key to learning how to get good at guitar is building effective habits and routines that benefit your practice and learning. Don’t sleep on this one, and click here for a video lesson on how often you should practice.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

How Much Listening Do You Do?

This is one that every beginner tends to miss, and we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

When we talk about learning how to get good at guitar, we cannot skip the listening process under any circumstances.

It makes sense that as musicians, we should take in as much music as we can in order to keep ourselves inspired and forward-thinking.

Our ears are our most vital resource for learning how to get good at guitar, scroll down to find out why.

national-guitar-academy

We retain a bit of everything we listen to. Every bit of music leaves a tiny imprint that influences our musicality in some way, and this helps us learn how to get good at guitar.

The longer you play music, the more you will find this to be true.

Our brains are impeccable at retaining information, and this can be harnessed to help you learn faster.

The more patterns we play such as scales and chord progressions, the more we will be able to hear those patterns “in the wild” on other people’s recordings.

Did You Know: Some musicians are able to lift entire pieces of music just by listening repeatedly.

Some of you may say “yes, but that comes with years of training,” and you’d be right – but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on some of that magic for yourself as well. Why not start today?

Do You Have A Practice Journal?

This section is not to be overlooked under any circumstance.

Your practice journal is the key to visualizing your progress on paper.

Want to learn how to get good at guitar? Start by writing down your progress, and spare no details.

When we start logging our progress every time we pick up our guitar, we’re able to keep better track of what we’ve been practicing and what needs more work.

If you want to learn how to get good at guitar by utilizing a practice journal, scroll down for some pointers on what you should include.

Practice journals make all the difference in our progress, but what you log in it is crucial

Want to get a practice journal started that will help you learn how to get good at guitar?

Include some of these points below:

  • How long did you practice for?
  • What did you practice and for how long? (Chords, songs, scales, etc.)
  • What did you have trouble with?
  • What did you achieve? (Always make note of your accomplishments.)
  • What can you work on in your next practice session?
  • What did you hear today that inspired you? (Make note of songs you’ve heard as well as things that you’ve played)

A practice journal gives us a good frame of reference for how we’re doing, and if we want to learn how to get good at guitar, it’s a critical resource to have.

How Else Can We Improve On Guitar?

Creating a guitar routine will make a difference as noticeable as night and day with your guitar playing.

Take the principles that we’ve taught you in this lesson and put them together to create a routine for yourself.

Whether it’s a quick 20 minutes routine of picking up a few chords after work, or an hour-long session complete with stretching and yoga, you’re bound to find a routine that works for you.

The biggest key in learning how to get good at guitar is to create a routine that doesn’t get in your way. Do what works for you!

Recommended Resources”

If you enjoyed this lesson on how to get good at guitar, you’ll love the other lessons we’ve got for you below:

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

 

Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!