“I Ain’t the Best But Thats Where I Wanna Go…” – a great mindset to have. It shows humility and ambition at the same time.

 

Practicing to be the best guitar player you can be

This week I’ve decided to work on my songs, solos and arpeggios. So in my practice log which you can get at Sam Ash for 99 cents, I wrote down these 3 things.

I may do more, I may do less but I really want to get my songs moving forward this week and I really want to nail the solos Im working on.

Each week I write down my goals and have them crystallize before me on paper. Something about writing it down makes it seem more vivid and more achievable than if its stuck in your head.

 

Songs

I have many songs so I pick the one thats tugging at me the most and of course those are the new ones im working on.

I dont do lots of covers so Im talking mainly about my original songs.

This doesnt meant that covers are bad though. If you like learning covers then by all means do so.

You learn a lot by doing so. Pick the ones that you like the most and try to nail them start to finish.

Or at least move forward with it this week. Sometimes songs are not able to be done in the timeframe we want them to be due to a lack of technical skill or speed but dont let this stop you.

Learn as much as you can and then now you know what you need to work on to get those parts done.

If its speed then work on your speed, if its a solo that takes some extra time to attain then work on your lead guitar skills such as scales and arpeggios.

When working songs you want to go section by section and not let the length of the song discourage you. The smallest progress will keep you feeling happy and will get you closer to your goal.

Remember that progress equals happiness.

 

Solos

When learning solos you want to go through each of the measures first and work on each phrase individually.

Once you get your fingers warm to the phrase itself then go and do the same phrase in a few other keys before moving on. You don’t have to, but I like to…for my own personal growth.

You can also try to do it at a faster or slower speed so you really get to know the phrase. Continue like this for each measure or phrase until you get to a certain point in the solo.

For instance if you have a solo that is 16 measures long it may be a good idea to learn it in 2 sections.

If its really tough then you want to learn it 4 measures or even 2 measures at a time. Don’t cheat and move forward before nailing the early measures.

Make sure you’ve got a good grasp on them before you start to move on. Moving forward too quickly will only deter your total time it takes to get the solo down.

Sad but true.

I currently have 3 solos I want to master. I have a good grasp on 2 of them but I still need to work on them some more.

My strategy for these will be to play the entire solo 10x each. Since I know the solo and all the phrases its just a matter of rehearsing it and getting it tight.

The 3rd one I only know a few phrases so I will have to use the process of going measure by measure but its totally worth the time and effort. There simply is no other way.

One thing to keep in mind is to pick a solo that you can do with your current skills.

Unless you want to sink into a discouraged mindset, I suggest you pick something at your level and keep working on your technique and speed to nail those that you REALLY want to play.

Step by step, you WILL get there. Put in your daily practice and stay FOCUSED and you’ll soon be playing the guitar like you never thought you could.

 

Arpeggios

Ahh, arpeggios. There are so many of them! Don’t get bogged down. This will murder your chances of ever playing them in your own music.

Learn 2 string arpeggios first and then 3 and so on. Transpose the arpeggios you already know to a few other keys.

This means up and down the neck if you are just beginning.

Learning them in different keys will get you closer to mastery.

What Im working on this week will be 4 string arpeggios in 16th notes. As you can see i’m very specific and this helps in staying focused.

Since I always play 3 and 5 string arpeggios, I may do some of those but I really want to get ahead with my 4 string shapes and possibly 6 string shapes.

Keeping your practice fresh and invigorating is key to having a dailypractice regimen.

If it ain’t fun your’e probably not gonna do it son.

So why not make it fun if it gets you practicing. Sometimes you have to dig in and do the dirty work by doing things you cant do yet but for now just focus on getting into the daily habit of writing things down and then going to town on them.

 

 

Mike Soca