Playing Guitar - Get As Many Good Sources As You Can

The Easiest Way To Master The Fretboard!Uncle Tim's Building Blocks

The series was developed visually, because people natively think visually. You do not have to interpret a picture. You can understand it by looking at it.

And when you combine it with knowledgable text, the meaning and rules of music will jump out at you!

Immediately you will begin to see into the instrument and develop an understanding that is not possible any other way.

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Over the years I have talked to many guitar players and music store owners. It seems we are all interested in becoming better players. We all want to find the right way to proceed. Sure there are players out there that only want to be taught the song running through their head without giving any thought to the madness behind the music. But deep inside their brains, a million questions go unanswered and continue to cause confusion.

How can I say that? By talking to a bunch of them and listening and observing their mental direction. They want to know how their favorite star does the tricks that attracted them to the music. They want to create that type of music too. "Never mind all that theory stuff, I want to play this song." I heard this many times. Some actually learn to play a few of their favorite songs verbatim, but when they step outside that small mental space, they are lost.

I remember a friend that could play all sorts of Led Zeppelin and amaze people. His skills and ear were finely tuned, however, when he tried to play something spontaneously or improvisational, the whole thing took a big step backwards. He was, and is, a good guitarist, but he could not free his mental awareness enough to step into new arenas. At one point, another friend stated, "he didn't have a creative bone in his body." That was wrong, because he did have great creativity. He just stumbled when he tried to get it out. I know because we used to play a lot together.

He was much better than me. He had several years of serious practice learning songs off records when I took up the instrument. In fact he was somewhat responsible for the light coming on in my head. When I watched him play, I realized I could do it too. He showed me lots of stuff and I went home and tried to play Led Zeppelin on my classic guitar. Hey, I really wanted to learn and I was not going to stop the little detail of not having an electric guitar get in the way. I was not going to knock politely on the door, I was going to break it down! Nothing, and I mean nothing was going to stop me!

So I went home and tried to mimic what I heard him do, on my cheap classic guitar. Some of it went fine. Other stuff you just can't pull off with that type of guitar. I was torn between my desire to play classical guitar and hard rock. I was torn between gobbling up Segovia's recommendations that every guitarist should start the day with two hours of scales and the notion that a person should forget that and just play rock and roll.

When we had jam sessions, I excelled. I could easily call upon my scale and theory work to weave nice melodies. I rambled quite a bit, but often I threw off some pretty nice runs. I could tell because when the nice ones showed up, heads would turn. It was cool. Real cool. A very cute girl with lots of exposed skin, once walked up to my dad and expressed what a privilege it was to listen to me play. He immediately came home and took a critical look at what I was doing with my new found skills.

As a rhythm player, I still was pretty bad. I did not put the time into chording like I did scales. And that showed me that I really had some work to do. So I learned to finger pick and I spend one hour each day going over chord formations. I would add a few new chords each week. My intense scale work helped me to develop the finger strength to dial in the chords. Everything started to work together and after a while, other beginner guitarists would quietly pull me over and ask me about certain chords, or picking patterns and even lead playing. My ego loved it.

This all happened because I read everything I could get my hands on and took in as many sources of information I could find. When got the chance to play with another guitarist, I would put my best stuff out there first. My strategy was to show them something they might want to learn, in the hopes they would accept me and trade some information. Nothing was going to stop me. That strategy worked pretty well too. Sure there were times it didn't work. But I was already pretty sure I did not want those people in my lives anyway. I just couldn't resist the opportunity to try and learn something new.

In jam sessions, all that background information took center stage. It all showed up sooner or later. I was just beginning to get my chops together so my ego never got in the way. I really never worried about being judged because just a few weeks ago, I stunk! So what was there to lose? Everything was ahead of me. Even the good players would ask me how I did certain things after awhile. But only when they thought I was safe to talk to and I wouldn't thump them for asking questions from such a rank player. Trust was critical to those conversations. Without that, they would have never shown their vulnerabilities.

Hearing those questions showed my that everyone has billions of questions racing around in their heads. Sometimes people don't even realize they have these questions. They never surface, they just give hints that something may be missing. Sometimes egos would squash the desire to ask questions, and these questions would then be buried deep within the psyche of the person. There they would fester until some stimulus would bring them to the surface in a mad boil. I've seen it. Sometimes alcohol would allow the barriers to drop enough to allow these questions to seek the light of day. Then when common sense would return, they would clam up, take the answers and go deep within themselves again. After awhile I would recognize several different recurring themes that would show up in these conversations.

The point of all this is to find as many good sources of information that you can. Learn the difference between good sources and great sources. Figure out what questions each one can help you with. And then start thinking of all the questions that are running through your head. Maybe even write down the really important ones until you meet someone that might have the answers. Listen closely and try not to open your mouth too much when the answers start to show up. We have all met the person that cannot stop talking long enough to allow the answers to be heard, let alone be absorbed. That can happen to all of us, particularly if you get excited by all of this.

The guitar is another facet of the journey of life. Your life! It will reflect the nature of the journey. The higher the quality of the journey, the nicer the sounds you will create. And all of this is controlled by one person. You!