Blues Guitar Institute

The Secret to Becoming a Good Guitar Player

Have you spent years searching for that instructional guitar DVD or book that immediately solves all of your problems?

Or maybe you’re looking for that one simple tweak like holding your pick differently or raising your guitar strap two inches that would instantly make you a better player.

You’re not the only one 🙂  Seems like I’m always looking quickest way to get the biggest results, still do.

While I do think there are small things that can yield dramatic results in guitar or anything, I find I am usually better off not chasing that shiny new object.

The longer I look, the more I realize the secret to get better at guitar is PRACTICE!

Crazy, huh?

Start Small and Keep At It

After years of digitally wandering the Internet and scouring every guitar book and magazine available, I have finally come to the conclusion that playing guitar excellently is a result of practicing slowly and incescently.

That much is probably obvious to most of us. But it’s good to be reminded. It takes hard work to improve your playing.

The key is that it takes hard work that’s focused on the right things.

For me, even after decades with a guitar in my hand, I find that the more I strengthen the basics of guitar, the better I become.

Being a great guitar player comes from doing the little things well.  Over time they add up to something big.  <– Click to Tweet

Little things like playing in time and getting a clean note are HUGE when it comes to being a good guitar player.  Maybe you don’t know a million scales and modes, but if you can play cleanly, on pitch and in time, you’ve beaten half the pack already.

Play slow and perfect – that’s the way to becoming a virtuoso. – Steve Vai

I have continually been blown away by guitarists who don’t play anything flashy.  They just play the right notes at the right time.  Perfect Execution.

Micro Licks: A Simple Acoustic Blues Lick

The video below shows you that ‘basic’ doesn’t mean ‘boring’.

You can start small with tiny licks that reinforce basic elements of great guitar playing like staying in time and getting clean notes.  A great way to start is with simple little licks like the one in the video. I call them MICRO LICKS.

A Micro Lick is a 3 to 4 note lick that becomes a great building block for longer licks. For the budding blues player, they work just fine on their own.

This simple acoustic blues lick , adapted from the famous train whistle blues sound, is a great way to introduce a simple lick into your playing.  Whether you play acoustic or electric, with a pick or fingerstyle, this lick pulls on the basics that you must have down to be a good guitar player.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this video:

  • You’ll learn how to move in and out of the groove while playing a short lick – commonly called a lead fill.
  • You’ll learn how to utilize open strings to switch positions on the neck.
  • You’ll learn that these short Micro Licks can be linked together to produce a nice longer, melodic lick.
  • You’ll learn how to make that super bluesy train whistle sound.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/raPFak74fEgWatch on YouTube | Grab the TAB PDF | GuitarPro 6

Combine Micro Licks to Create Longer Licks

In future lessons, we’ll take a look at more Micro Licks that we can string together with the train whistle lick to create longer licks.

Then we’ll learn how to move these micro licks around the neck to play in different positions and in the most common blues keys.

Big Things to Come from These Little Licks

Searching through the tremendous amount of instructional guitar material available is certainly not a bad thing. There are some great programs out there. But, don’t get caught up in the latest craze. Good guitar playing has and always will come from nailing the basics.

When you practice, make sure to reinforce the little things that make a great guitar player great. Playing in time, on key and clearly.

Playing fast and flashy can come later. And once these basics are second nature to you, your flashy stuff will sound better than those who ignored them.

If you have a short lick that you want to share, leave a comment below and tell us about it!

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.

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