Simplifying the guitar... one lick at a time.
Playing the guitar is hard enough, but part of our job as students of the instrument is to always be on the look out for methods of improving our efficiency.
So, let’s talk about position shifts…
Position shifts are one of the most overlooked techniques in guitar playing. Sure, we all notice when we constantly biff the notes in a tricky shift, but we really do very little to investigate deeper into the problem.
Like most problems in our playing… we think that just by throwing a bunch of mindless repetition at it, it will go away.
Don’t get me wrong, repetition is crucial to learning anything. And playing the guitar is no different. But it always pays to look deeper into the problem… to see if there’s some kind of simple and obvious fix we are missing.
And that, my friends, is what today’s video is all about. I want to give you a little insight into what one of these simple, often overlooked solutions looks like.
It’s not some magic fix that will have you beating down the doors of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, it’s a rather minuscule little trick in the grand scheme of things.
But my hope is that it get’s you thinking outside the box a little when it comes to troubleshooting areas in your guitar playing.
I have a special treat for you today...
I was feeling inspired to share an inside look into my creative process.
It's just a quick follow up video from the recent post I did on locating octaves.
In this video I use all of these octave locating strategies to create a good ol' rock riff... just off the top of my head. I admit, it's not going platinum anytime soon and I'm not going to use it for anything. (Feel free to steal it if you think you can put it to good use.)
But it goes to show that if you know your fretboard you can crank out riffs on demand. I literally came up with this in about 30 seconds right before I hit record.
And this was just using a few simple octave techniques. (You can get the scoop on these octave techniques here.)
It gets way more interesting (and a bit more complex... but it's worth it) when you know your fretboard like the back of your hand and apply a little theory knowledge.
And without further delay... here is the video.
When was the last time you practiced your guitar? Better yet, when was the last time you made a significant breakthrough in your guitar playing?
If you're like most of us guitar players, it probably feels like you're on a never ending roller coaster of guitar progress...
One day you're on top of the world feeling confident and super excited at what lies ahead... the next, you're left feeling dizzy and nauseous, wondering what just happened.
Lucky for you, there is a way to end this vicious cycle and make your practice more consistent and productive from day to day.
What is this secret to amazingly productive guitar practice?
Answer: Daily Practice
...or at least as close to "daily" as you can get (I let myself take a day off here and there, but my rule is that I can't miss 2 days in a row).
I know that seems hard, or nearly impossible to some of you, but I have a little secret that'll boost your chances of success...
Only hold yourself accountable for a few minutes of practice everyday.
What exactly does that do? How can you be productive in just a few minutes a day?
Well... you can't. You definitely need to practice more than just a few minutes each day.
The problem is... more than a few minutes will feel like a chore and you're less likely to stick to a daily practice commitment.
Let me ask you this: Which of the following are you more likely to implement EVERYDAY?
Practicing for 30 minutes a day, or 3 minutes a day?
I'll bet that if you only had to practice 3 minutes a day you're pretty likely to commit to it... every... single... day. In fact, I'll bet there would be some days where you would feel like practicing more than 3 minutes.
And by all means... you should practice as much as you'd like.
The reason this works so well is that it is very easy to commit to 3 minutes (or 10, or whatever you choose) a day. Who doesn't have 3 minutes, right?
In addition to the easy commitment, it will naturally lead to longer practice sessions, more often. Here's the story:
You have to "prime the pump," so to speak.
It's not the 3 minutes a day that is going to give you incredible results. It's the overall daily commitment to picking up your guitar that makes the difference.
So even when you absolutely do not feel like practicing (and making up all sorts of excuses not to) it's easy to say to yourself... "but it's only 3 minutes."
The 3 minutes a day is there to act as a safety net for the days you're not feeling into it. You can just play for 3 measly minutes and be done with it, yet still be satisfied that you stuck with your daily commitment.
And for the days that you do feel like practicing... the 3 minutes acts as a primer to get your creative juices flowing and prepare you for a rewarding, productive practice session.
The bottom line is...
Short practice sessions make it easy to stick with a daily commitment to practice your guitar....
...and when you pick it up and play everyday, you're likely to get in some longer sessions here and there...
...and before you know it, you could be averaging 30 minutes to an hour of daily practice.
Now you can get the inside scoop on daily guitar practice.
By subscribing to my daily email newsletter, that's how.
It's called the Guitarist Insider's Club and as a subscriber you get exclusive benefits...
I have achieved great results for myself by implementing daily practice, and my students are benefitting tremendously.
And you can too, by signing up below. It's totally free and you can unsubscribe at anytime. What have you got to loose?
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The other day I was with a student and had what you might call an epiphany.
I was explaining the difference between practicing for learning and practicing for performance.
Not all practice is created equal and there are different mindsets for whatever you may be working on. You should have a clear vision on what your focus is at any given moment in your practice session.
As it often does in a lesson, the subject of mistakes came up.
This particular student was rather frustrated on the scale passage we were working on and got aggravated every time they made a mistake -- rightfully so.
This is what led to our discussion of practicing for learning and practicing for performance... and in both cases... how mistakes can actually be a good thing.
That's right, people.
MISTAKES CAN BE... AND OFTEN ARE... A GOOD THING
This may not make sense at first, and I understand. We've been taught our whole lives to eliminate mistakes. This leads most of us to develop a deep-seated fear in our subconcious.
Now I'm not an advocate for sloppy guitar playing, and this is not an excuse for you to get lazy in your practice habits.
But think about it...
What are mistakes?
When it comes down to it, they are just an indicator that something isn't right. And that, my friends is a good thing.
It let's you know where you need to work harder... where you need to really pick things apart and figure out what is going wrong.
Now, depending on whether you're practicing to perform or practicing to learn, you will treat your mistakes a little differently.
I'll bet at this point you're thinking about practicing to learn... it's fairly obvious why pointing out your mistakes is a good thing, right? You have to make sure you're learning the correct way.
One not-so-obvious thing is that pointing out your mistakes is only half of it... you must get good at coming up with solutions to fix your mistakes, too. And you need to learn to get creative with those solutions.
But what about mistakes in performance?
Aren't mistakes a bad thing when you're performing?
Yes, you do want to avoid mistakes when performing. It's why we spend so much time practicing, right? After all, a bunch of sloppy mistakes will definitely ruin a performance.
But, you have to remember that perfection is a myth... a unicorn... the preverbal 'pot of gold'
Mistakes are going to happen in a performance whether you like it or not. Some are worse than others, and some may even become "happy accidents," where you totally hit the wrong note but it ends up sounding amazing.
That being said, the practice mindset of performance is where you get you're work done. When you're practicing for performance you want to find a way to turn up the pressure on yourself a little. Something as simple as recording yourself on your phone is a good way to stir up your nerves.
The goal is simple: Shoot for a near-perfect recording and don't stop for mistakes. When mistakes occur you want to learn to recover as quickly as possible.
What you want to practice here is what I refer to as, "noticing your mistakes before they happen." Sounds weird, right? I agree, but it is a thing. As you work on being aware of your mistakes, you eventually get to a point where you can start to recognize the tiny fluctuations in your state of mind while your playing, and you can actually see a mistake coming and stop it from happening.
Mistakes are unavoidable. They will always happen and we must first learn to accept that, and second learn to let go of the fear of making mistakes. Use your mistakes to your advantage in your practice sessions.
Don't look at mistakes as something to be ashamed of... instead, embrace your mistakes and see them as opportunities to improve.
Time for a little exercise in fretboard navigation. Learn to locate octaves on the guitar and give yourself some fresh ideas.
Octaves are a great way to add a little diversity to your guitar playing without getting all complicated. All it takes is some simple math (addition and subtraction) combined with a sprinkle of fretboard navigation.
If you have even the slightest question about octaves on the guitar, you owe it to yourself to check this out. You never know what a fresh perspective on a familiar subject will bring.
In today's video I cover 3 ways to locate octaves on the fretboard:
Single String Octaves
Adjacent String Octaves
"Rock" Octaves (octaves with string skips)
You'll want to pay close attention at the end where I talk about adding an additional fret when dealing with the 2nd and 3rd strings.
Just trust me on this. It's a long story, but it is a natural thing that happens with the standard tuning of the guitar strings.
The guitar fretboard can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be...
There are many ways to practice fretboard navigation, but first you have to understand the basics. You need to know what exactly you should be thinking about when it comes to fretboard navigation and more importantly, how to incorporate it into your practice routines.
All guitar practice is not created equal.
Throughout your journey as a guitarist you will, no doubt, have many things that you will need to learn along the way.
Beginners will need to learn simple exercises and basic chord shapes while struggling through the tough times of just getting their hands to do what they want.
As intermediate guitarists go through the phase of learning their favorite songs and emulating their guitar heroes they will need to learn to read tablature, lead sheets, and even basic rhythm.
And finally, you get to the “advanced” level as a guitarist. This is where you get to put up your feet and coast to greatness, right? Not even close… The advanced level is actually where the real work begins… where you spend the painstaking hours of honing you practice skills and diving deep into your goals and musical preferences.
Yes, it’s true… you will need to learn a whole bunch of stuff on your way to guitar greatness. But there are certain items that can be considered universal. The things you’ll need to accelerate your guitar playing no matter what genre your into, or how serious you want to take it.
How do you become great, no matter what?
Now, being the clever guitarist that you are, you probably think you know the answer… practice, right?
Yeah, you’re absolutely right… practice is the key to progress… for most things in life, and especially for the guitar. But as you’ll soon find out, I like to dive deep into everything I do. I like to go beyond what your average guitarist would do and figure out the essential keys to greatness.
So I’m not just talking about practice here. No… that’s much to broad. I’m talking about the necessary components that all guitarists should be aware of in order to level up their practice habits so fast that they run circles around other, ordinary guitarists.
I’m talking about 9 powerful and essential areas of study that will enhance your learning no matter what your musical interests and guitar playing goals are.
I’m talking about giving yourself the freedom of learning how to learn your instrument.
I’m talking about how to have the power to teach yourself anything you want and never again wonder what you should be practicing.
No more staring at the wall wondering what to work on… No more dreading practice sessions because you feel overwhelmed with everything… No more feeling stuck in a rut because you just don’t know where to go next with your guitar playing.
Now you can turn your anxiety into excitement. You can be prepared for anything thrown your way… and even if you don’t know how to handle it, you can feel confident in knowing that you’ll get there… confident in knowing how to practice and learn anything you want.
Do you face the same problem most guitar players face in practicing their instrument?
It’s Saturday morning…
You’ve just put in a long, crazy week at work and you’ve decided that the perfect thing to help you unwind is to spend a couple hours playing guitar.
So you sit down to play and one of two things happens…
1.) You haven’t played all week and you have no idea where to start or what you should even be working on. 2.) You haven’t played all week and you have to spend time relearning everything you’ve been working on.
Either way… there goes your entire practice session.
Now, even though you may still get the benefit and enjoyment of unwinding a stressful week with a little guitar playing, this scenario starts to play itself out week after week… after week… after week (you get the picture).
Until one day you realize that you’ve been playing guitar for a few years now and you don’t really have anything to show for it. Probably just a handful of half-assed riffs and chord progressions and maybe a sketchy version of a song or two.
What went wrong? Why do you have so little to show for your years of guitar playing?
Because every time you sit down to practice, you have to spend your entire practice session either figuring out what to practice or relearning everything you learned the week before.
Don’t be ashamed. It’s not your fault. It’s just that no one ever taught you how to actually practice guitar… how to get results and build upon your skills week after week.
Look, we have all been there, and many guitarists are in the same situation… life is just too unpredictable for most of us to know when we are gonna have the time to sit down and practice. And that makes it too hard to get reliable, steady results from your guitar practice.
What is the path to reliable, steady results in your guitar practice?
The answer is simple… Daily Practice.
Wait a minute, daily practice? But how is that supposed to help when you already find it difficult to practice once a week… let alone once a day.
The trick is to make it so unimaginably pain free to practice everyday that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your daily life… to have a fool-proof, reliable plan day-in and day-out that is insanely easy to implement.
Which is what my system is all about…
The 11 Minute Guitarist
Just about everybody can find 11 minutes in their day. And the key to making this work is to think of the 11 minutes per day as preparation for your longer practice sessions once or twice per week.
So I don’t want to mislead you. You will have to do more than 11 minutes a day to accomplish your goals and become great.
But these easy to manage daily sessions will make your longer practice sessions more productive and more enjoyable. And who knows… you just might do more of them.
11 minutes of focused daily practice that targets specific areas of your guitar playing will give you everything you need to create highly efficient, highly organized practice routines.
Like I said before, it’s hard to predict when you’re gonna have time to sit down and play for a couple hours.
But wouldn’t you want to be prepared for it when the time suddenly appears?
Wouldn’t you want to know exactly what to do to sit down and learn an entire song in just an hour or two?
These short 11 minute practice sessions are basically practice maintenance sessions. They’re meant to keep the best practice strategies fresh in your head so when you do finally get time to practice… you know exactly how to go about learning songs, techniques, or whatever you want.
So what’s with the 11 minutes?
Honestly you can do 10 minutes at a time if you want, but I do have a method to the madness with the whole 11 minute thing. Here’s the story:
A while back I got the idea to organize my guitar practice into three, 33 minute practice sessions each day. One session in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Apparently it’s a popular thing for writers to do 33 minute writing sessions sprinkled throughout the day. It helps them focus their energy into short bursts of free writing and increases productivity.
One writer said she likes to do these short bursts of free writing just a few times a day to keep her skills sharp and never run out of content. Then she schedules longer periods of editing once or twice a week to go through her content. She uses this method for short stories, novels, blog posts… pretty much anything.
After I heard this, a light bulb went off in my head… why not organize guitar practice sessions that way?
So I started making a list of general skills that I wanted to keep sharp… technique, music theory, improvisation, etc.
Then I would set a timer for 33 minutes and get to work on one item at a time… working my way through the items on my list one practice session at a time.
This became a daily habit and on top of that, I would schedule longer practice sessions several times a week to work on materials for gigs and whatnot.
Long story short… I recently reduced my list down to 9 essential areas of study that I deemed ultra-important to the success of any guitarist. These areas are:
So then I did a little math (not exactly my strong-suit) and realized that I could get through every area each day if I just did three areas in each practice session, and did three practice sessions a day (morning, afternoon, and evening).
And since I was already experimenting with 33 minute practice sessions… just a bit more math and I arrived at 11 minutes per practice item. Pretty cool, huh?
But fast forward a little bit and I started to realize that trying to get through all 9 areas every day was a bit much for anybody. Especially when you’re trying to keep time available for the fun stuff like learning/writing songs and jamming with friends.
So I reduced it down to one area per day within a 9 day rotation. And with this 9 day rotation of just 11 minutes per day you can become a practice wizard.
So my advice...
Dig deep into these 9 areas of study. They are what I've found to be the most essential areas for guitar mastery, and you can literally customize them any way you want to.
Get ready to understand how to unlock the most powerful, productive and efficient guitar practice known to man.
Get ready to learn the secrets to teaching yourself anything you want to learn on the guitar…
…and to becoming the most confident, kick-ass guitarist you can be.
Lack of motivation to practice your guitar is silently killing your dreams... and you may not even know it's happening.
Are you one of the millions of guitarists who struggle with finding the motivation to practice? What’s all the fuss about? You want to get better, right? You have gone through the trouble of setting goals for yourself, right? You may have even gone and created a practice schedule for yourself.
So where is the motivation to take action?
The secret to motivation lies, hidden in plain sight, within that last question.
Read it again:
Where is the motivation to take action?
There is a big, fat misconception staring you right in the face. If you haven’t spotted it yet, don’t worry. It’s not exactly what you might call obvious.
The misconception is that the question implies that motivation is needed in order to take action. In other words, motivation precedes action. Though this is definitely true in many cases, it is not a requirement. In fact, it works much better the other way around...
When you force yourself to take action, it often inspires motivation.
It may take several days or several weeks, but eventually your repeated action will inspire you to become motivated to practice on a regular basis. I challenge you to give yourself 30 days of no excuses, and commit to a once a day practice session.
You don’t have to practice an hour everyday. Just commit to some practice everyday for the next 30 days. Even if you just pick up your guitar and run scales for 3 minutes; it counts.
I guarantee that if you can commit to this challenge for 30 straight days, your motivation will be much higher on day 30 than they were on day 1.
And if it isn’t, then you simply have found out that your guitar playing goals really don’t mean that much to you, and you can go find a different passion.
Either way you win.
On the one hand you create a reliable stream of motivation to practice; on the other hand you save yourself a bunch of time worrying about something you don’t actually care about.
The concept of using action to create motivation is not a new one. It is essentially a commitment to being proactive. It embodies the idea that you cannot just sit around and wait for things to happen to you. You have to take action and create opportunities for yourself.
No one else can do this for you.
You alone hold the key to your success.
Ok, I’ll try to tone down the self-help guru talk. Sometimes I just can’t help myself... when something makes so much sense, it fires me up and makes me feel like shouting from the rooftops.
If you think about it too deeply it may start to seem a bit cliche, but it really is true. Proactive people win over reactive people.
Don’t think; just take action. When you react to something it usually leads to excuses. When you’re proactive the excuses don’t have time to manifest.
Now, what can you do to make this 30 day challenge a bit easier for yourself?
I’m glad you asked.
It involves taking a few small actions to set yourself up for success.
First, you have to figure out what your anti-practice triggers are. The distractions that you come across in your daily routine that may cause you to default on your commitment to practice.
One extremely common obstacle that we all deal with on a daily basis is television. Think about how many hours you waste sitting in front of your TV. I’m not preaching, or shouting down at you from a soapbox... I’m just as guilty and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Ok, maybe a little shame, but self-pity is toxic and we all really should be nicer to ourselves.
Some of us may not have much of a problem cutting down on our TV time, while others may be completely freaking out at the mere thought of less time in front of the tube.
TV is a great distraction. It can be very useful at times (like keeping up on news and current events) and it is a great way to relax after a long day. It is a necessary tool in our society and I’m not saying you should never watch it again.
Just put it off a little longer at the end of your day. If you’re anything like me, then as soon as the TV comes on, it’s over; I have officially surrendered to my procrastination.
Another efficient action you can take to increase your chances of success is to leave your guitar out on a stand, or somewhere that you’ll have extremely easy access to it. If you can set it out where you have to walk past it all the time; that’s even better.
I noticed this, years ago, when I moved to a new apartment. My previous place also served as a rehearsal space for the band I was in at the time (this would’ve been back in 2004).
In fact, the dining room was our jam room and we left everything set up 24/7. I lived with the drummer and the bass player, so we decided it was best to just leave everything ready to go for those moments when sudden inspiration would strike.
Not only did this strategy work great for the band as a whole, but I found that was practicing on my own all the time. Literally everyday, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day (ah, those wonderful college years when we had all the time in the world and no clue what to do with it).
And wouldn’t ya know; I had to walk through the dining room, right past my guitar every time I went in and out of my bedroom.
So then we, as a band, decided to move to a new city; Fort Wayne, IN. We were trying to find a place where all 4 of us (drums, guitar, bass, and vocals) could live together, but what landlord in their right mind would rent to 4 dudes in their early 20s?
So, we had to split up and get 2 separate houses.
To make a long story short, I ended up living in the house we did not practice in and carried my guitar back and forth. This meant that when I was at home, my guitar was in its case most of the time, tucked away out of sight.
Bottom line: My practice went from daily to once or twice a week, when we had band practice. Part of this was an ego thing; me thinking I was good enough to not have to practice.
But a huge part of it was that I didn’t have to walk past my guitar 10 times a day.
I didn’t have to see it sitting there begging to be played. Clearly an example of out of sight, out of mind. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have made the connection... and it has been a huge part of my practice strategy ever since.
I encourage you to think of your own ways that you can set yourself up for success. Many options won’t be very obvious to you, but all it takes is some careful observations.
Pay attention to your moods just before and just after practicing. Pay attention to the stories going on in your head. Where is that little voice that’s telling you it’s ok to skip practice today?
Find out what else that voice is saying and you just might discover some handy tricks to silencing that voice.
And once you find some peace and quiet; get to work.
There are a few things you should know if want to master the guitar... it may not be as easy as you think.
So you want become a master of guitar, eh?
Wanna be a guitar god?
Have everyone hanging on every note you play?
Well listen up, my little guitar-crazed fiend... I'm gonna drop a few bombs on you in the next few paragraphs... so pay attention.
Do you wanna know why 99% of guitar players don't make it to "mastery"? I know you're looking for some sort of forehead-slapping revelation here, but get ready to be disappointed with the obvious...
99% of guitarists don't make it for one reason...
I know... shocker... right? But what did you expect me to say? If it were easy, everyone would master the guitar and then no one would give a crap how great you are.
Just like everything else worth pursuing, you have to put hours, weeks and years of painstaking, agony-filled practice into your guitar playing to get even close to mastery.
So how do you become one of the ones that do make it to this level of awesomeness and master the guitar?
I'm glad you asked... there may be hope for you after all.
There are really only 3 steps on the road to mastery:
3. More Practice
This is pretty straight forward, right? Nope, not even close. Practice is one of the most misleading little devils you can come across on your path to the guitar hall-of-fame.
It can take you years just to learn how to practice. Yes, you read that right... years... just to begin to understand how to practice the guitar, let alone master the guitar.
And try as they might, no one really ever figures this out on their own... so get a teacher, a mentor, someone who understands the ins and outs of a good practice routine and soak up their every word like a sponge.
In other words... learn to set goals. What do you want to do with your skills? What type of guitarist do you want to be? Figure out if you like being behind the scenes (a studio musician), or in the spotlight (full-fledge rockstar).
This is where you begin to explore your musical passions and develop a borderline psychotic attention to detail. You have to know what to practice and how to practice it in order to live out your dreams of guitar glory.
Once you understand how to practice and develop a vision for yourself, you have to do whatever it takes to get there. This is where you spend time experimenting with what to practice to reach your vision.
You've got to weed out the things that are a waste of time for your particular goals and interests. And in order to know what truly matters, it takes an endless tweaking of your strategies... along with... you guessed it... more practice.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.
But be smart about it. You have to know your limits and avoid burnout. Daily, consistent practice is a must, but even more important... YOU MUST BE PATIENT.
It's not the 10 hour practice sessions that'll lead you to master the guitar... it's the accumulation of these practice sessions (no matter how long or short) from day to day, week to week... over many... many years.
Most of all... (and I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's worth repeating) YOU HAVE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PROCESS OF BECOMING GREAT.
Without the process, there is no end result. No payoff for all of your hard work and dedication.
And that, my fellow guitar slacker, is why most of us don't make it to the hallowed halls of guitar legends, and probably never will... including yours truly.
But I've made my peace with that fact. I'm happy just to be a wondering nomad on the path of greatness...
...and to know enough to know what I don't know (please excuse my weak attempt to be philosophical)
Everyone's path and ambition are different... not everyone is meant to go down in history... but don't let that stop you from enjoying what you do and sharing your music with whomever you wish.
One Final Word of Advice
Oh yeah... there is one more small, but essential detail that will be invaluable to you on the path of excellence... Be likable.
That doesn't mean be a spineless goober who just agrees with everyone and has no principles to stand by.
But just respect other guitarists (and people in general for that matter)... respect that they are also putting themselves out there and have many of the same fears and ambitions as you do.
You can be the greatest guitar player that ever lived, but if no one wants to work with you... you're screwed.
Learning to read music for the guitar is usually the last thing any guitarist wants to do.
And I get it... most guitar players take one look at a piece of sheet music and that little voice in their head chimes in and says "yikes! we don't need this... let's just go back to our good ol' reliable guitar tabs."
I used to have many arguments with that little voice... especially when it came to learning to read music.
At one point in time I was convinced that I could attend a college-level music program without learning to read music (just reading tabs). I know... don't ask me what in the world I was thinking.
The truth is...
You don't have to read music to be a great guitarist, but it sure doesn't hurt either.
In fact, it's one of the best ways to get familiar with your fretboard.
Whenever a guitarist asks me if they should learn to read music, my answer is always, without hesitation... YES. You absolutely should learn to read music.
But before you get all whiny on me and start hurling your excuses at me...
"It's too hard."
"It's just soooo boring."
"My mom said I didn't have to."
...you need to realize one key fact.
As guitarists, we have the luxury of multiple options when it comes to reading music.
When you mention reading music to most people, the first thing that comes to mind is standard musical notation. You know... the little black dots with all the fancy stems and beams and whatnot. And this is the most universal (and arguably the most efficient) form of notation for most musicians.
But as guitarists, we have the option of lead sheets, chord charts and tablature.
I know what you're thinking...
"But, Adam... I thought you were just saying that tablature isn't a worthy form of reading music." Wrong, I merely implied it and in most cases, yes... tablature is inferior (especially most of what you find on the internet).
Now for all of you out there, looking up tabs to your favorite songs, you won't have as many issues. Tabs work just fine (assuming they are correct) when you already know what the song is suppose to sound like.
But even then, you can run into certain spots where all the numbers seem to be jumbled up... and just make no sense at all.
The problem with tablature is that a lot of it (mainly of the homemade variety) doesn't account for rhythm. And when there's no rhythm to bring order to the endless stream of numbers, things can get a bit frustrating.
But when you can find accurate, high quality tablature (like the kind you usually have to pay for), it includes the standard notation written above the tablature, which provides a nice rhythmic structure to follow.
So... now... for the point I've been slowly getting to this entire time...
Guitarists do not need to learn to read standard sheet music.
(although you should... even if your mom says you don't have to)
But it's in your best interest to at least learn to read rhythms.
You'll be amazed at how much it helps you learn, write and perform music better and with greater ease.
Which is the name of the game, my friends.
Until next time...
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