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Five Steps to Guitar Mastery - Part 1

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

"...there is no one method to accomplish guitar mastery..."

Before I dive head first into my thoughts and feelings on how to best develop the skills necessary to master the art of guitar playing, I feel I should touch on the fact that there is no one method to accomplish this task and that the road to guitar mastery is an ongoing journey.

Everyone is an individual and will approach the guitar, and their learning journey, from their own unique perspective.

Once you start your journey, you will find that there are many masters, methods, styles, techniques and songs that interest you. To approach them all simultaneously would be a mistake, rather, pick a few subjects of interest, immerse yourself gradually and develop a level of competency before jumping into another area of interest.

To dilute yourself with a “Scattergun” approach to learning will not serve you.

Learn songs as complete pieces, rather than just knowing the riff or the intro. There is nothing entertaining about a musician that knows a few bits and bobs of a few songs.

Having said this, I have compiled a list of pointers that will help make the journey more focussed.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that playing the guitar is fun. It will provide you with hours of entertainment and a feeling of achievement, as well as introducing you to other players and people who will enjoy listening & participating in your music. ...

“Fear not the man who knows 10,000 kicks, but rather the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Bruce Lee

1) Make the guitar accessible. Don’t lock the guitar away, bury it in the wardrobe or under the bed in-between practice sessions. Leave the guitar out of its case and place it on a stand or hang it on the wall so you can pick it up and play at any time.

2) Establish a practice routine. If you have 60 minutes to practice try to divide your time into “perfect practice” modules

  • eg: 20 min A - Scales, arpeggios and warm up dexterity patterns playing to a metronome.

Strumming techniques and difficult passages to a backing track.

  • 20 min B - Play back new info from your last lesson

New techniques, chords, scales, theory, progressions, solos and improv skills, songs, tricky passages, etc.

  • 20 min C - Song list / performance material / record and critique / noodling

3) Record yourself - Nothing shows up your flaws like a recording. It can be as simple as on your mobile phone. RECORD - PLAYBACK - CRITIQUE your way to accelerated improvement.

4) Practice with an amplifier - Amplified playing amplifies your mistakes and teaches you how to play with grace, accuracy and finesse.

5) Focus on the groove, not the mistake - We all mess up songs, but the pro player will carry on as though nothing happened and come home strong, while the beginner wants to stop the song and start again. Learn to roll over the mistakes and go with the groove and finish the song.

Remember that the learning experience never ends. There is always something to learn. Be open minded......

Grow - Practice - Improve

Look out for Part 2 in this series. 5 more steps to Guitar Mastery, coming soon.

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