Philosophy of Practice

To get the best out of this web site you need to set yourself some goals! That might sound a very business like thing to say and probably goes against the free thinking, creative approach to making music, but as a student of the guitar you need to know what you want to achieve. Yes you want to play the guitar but that’s a massive undertaking with many elements to study and develop your skills in! The task is huge and if you try and do it in one go you will end up frustrated with your development. So set some goals!

Your over-arching, long-term goal is “to play the guitar”, that’s awesome. But what are you going to achieve today, tomorrow, next week, next month? If you’re picking up the guitar as a beginner set a short-term (one month) goal to learn the open chords and develop strumming mechanics; focus on the skills required to achieve this goal and focus on it until you achieve it.

 Now there exists a school of thought that to achieve greatness in any discipline you need to expend 10,000 hours developing your skills, whilst that is supported by research it should be noted that this amount of practice is to achieve world class level.There are other studies that show that you can develop a new skill in twenty hours! It sounds unrealistic doesn’t it, but there is research to support this! Now, what you need to know is that’s twenty hours of focused practice over a reasonably short period of time. Whatever your goal, try and spend one hour a day, five days a week for one month. If you put in the effort you will get results.

But lets think about what a skill is! Playing the guitar is not one skill; it is many! Making chords, mastering scales, learning to strum, learning to pick, learning to play with fingers, the list goes on. Each of these separate skills should be mapped out as individual goals for you and your playing time should be scheduled to support you.If you want to play a handful of popular songs using common chords, set that as your goal. Identify the chords you need to learn and what other skills you need (strumming, finger picking etc..) Focus on these until they are developed sufficiently for you to be playing songs. Now look at your next goal, do you want to play some country chicken picked licks, do you want to shred lead guitar. Identify what you want and step by step develop the individual skills and knowledge you need.

Above all remember that playing the guitar is fun, you can express yourself musically with a few chords and your thumb, so go out and do just do that. Start making music as quickly as possible. Make your practice playing, think of it as your time and enjoy it.

D Major Jam

Well after a minor modification to it’s tone circuit, I have found the love for my Fender road worn Strat again.
Recorded using the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister Deluxe 20 via the Red Box DI, with the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb, Flashback Delay and Ditto Looper in the effects loop, check out the Ditto Looper it’s an essential part of my practice gear!
If you like these videos remember there are loads of lessons covering all sorts of guitar playing subjects on our web site, why not take a look.

Pentatonic Roots

Hey there fellow guitarists, welcome to another coffee break lesson.
Today we are going to look a bit more at the minor pentatonic scale, this time we will be quickly identifying the root notes within the scale. If you know where the root notes are you will always have a way of finding your way home when creating melody lines in your chosen key, the root note is always going to lock into the key centre and sound awesome!
This’ll take some mastering but believe me it’s worth it.

If you like these minute videos remember there are loads of full lessons covering all sorts of guitar playing subjects on our web site, why not take a look.

Get More from Your Pentatonic

If you refer back to lesson LS002, you will recall that we said the major scale was the most important scale you will learn. Now there are various reasons for this but the one we are interested in is the fact that it is the scale from which the modal scales are built. I know this sounds confusing but all you need to remember is that the modes are simply the major scale starting from a different note in the pattern.

The minor scale (and as such minor pentatonic) is simply a mode of the major scale. We build it from the sixth degree of the scale.

Now if we put aside the theory, we can simply say that if we take any pattern we have learnt already and start it from a different note in the scale we get a different scale.

This lesson will show you how to take the minor pentatonic and without changing anything we will turn it into the major pentatonic