Blues Guitar Institute

3 Ways to Practice Without Your Guitar

practice-without-your-guitarI try to practice guitar every single day. Sometimes my free time gets away from me for whatever reason, and I’ll bang out a quick 15 minute intense practice session.

But how do you practice without your guitar?

Every now and then I find myself packing the car for a family trip and, despite my best efforts, the guiar case just wont fit between the luggage and baby stroller. The stroller isn’t optional. And even though I would rather have my guitar than fresh clothes, I always make the painful, yet practical decision to leave the guitar at home.

Maybe you travel regularly for work.

Whatever the reason, we all have those times when we simply can’t be near our instrument.

Here are three ways to practice and improve your playing without physically touching your guitar.

Disconnect the Guitar to Reconnect with Music

Occasionally, we need to reconnect with our passion for playing guitar. A great way to do that is to simply listen to music. Listen to the songs and artists that inspired you to pick up the instrument.

I find when I don’t have my guitar in my hands I listen to music differently. With my guitar in hand, I am constantly analyzing the music and trying to replicate certain parts on my instrument. This certainly can be fruitful, but once in a while I find it refreshing to completely shut my brain off and just lose myself in the music.

It is very easy for me to be incredibly analytic and forget to simply enjoy the music.

So when you aren’t near a guitar, take some time to reconnect with why you started playing.

Study a Bit of Music Theory

I have mentioned this before but, I don’t learn theory just for the sake of knowing theory. I only want to expend my effoert learning theory that makes me a better player.

That said, music theory is incredibly broad and you could spend a lifetime studying and mastering it. Determining what to study can be daunting to say the least.

If you’re away from your guitar take a magazine or a book on theory that covers any of these subjects:

You could also sketch out the names to the notes on the fretboard or write out the note names of the common scales.

Study Your Favorite Player

In this YouTube world we live in, an unbelievable amount of concert footage, instructional videos and interviews are available at the other end of a search query.

I didn’t have the luxury of growing up next to an awesome guitar shop or even with any cool music channels on TV. Like most generations before now, our only way to learn the licks of our favorite player was through a tab book and CD/cassette.

Now, there are an incredible number of concert videos for say, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King available on the Internet.

How cool that we can now watch our heroes do what they do?

So, when your away from your guitar, try to queue up some sweet videos like the ones below and watch with a keen eye.  Pay attention to the subtle nuances of a lick or the guitarist’s style. Listen deep inside the music and connect visually with what is happening on the guitar.

Check these excellent videos out videos out. Personally, I think these are some of the best things on the entire Internet!

Watch the BB King Guitar Lesson video on YouTube.

Watch what BB King Calls One of His Best Performances on YouTube.

Watch this great Blues Performance by Tommy Emmanuel

Don’t Miss a Practice Session Just Because You’re Without Your Guitar

It’s so easy to skip a practice session or two while your away from your guitar. Sometimes being away from the instrument can be a great thing and with some creative thinking you can even sharpen your skills without your guitar.

These tips are just a few ideas that I try to keep in mind while I’m away from my guitar. But, I’m always looking for more great ideas of how to “practice” away from my guitar.

What tips do you have for practicing without your guitar?

When you are ready, there are two ways I can help you:

Back Porch Blues Course:  A proven system to fingerpicking the blues.  This step-by-step course guides you through building fundamental fingerpicking skills.  Plus, you’ll learn three levels of a delta blues style performance study to put your new skills into action.

Become a myBGI Member: Membership comes with access to Back Porch Blues plus over 70 step-by-step courses.  Get proven results with one of myBGI’s structured Roadmaps.

Subscribe to Tuesday Blues​

Join 14,000 Tuesday Blues subscribers for weekly lessons.  You’ll get strategies, tips and tutorials to help you play better blues guitar.

    Hey, Before You Go...


    Unlock the fretboard so you can play great blues guitar.