So you are learning electric guitar, and unsatisfied with the pace you have set?
Learning to play any sort of instrument does largely come down to consistent practice. But there are a few things you can do that will help you learn electric guitar fast.
- Use a metronome
There are many types of metronomes – older style mechanical ones, digital ones with a click, even some that fit in an earplug. They are all good, the main thing is to get one and use it. You don’t need to use it all the time, but using it regularly will help you learn electric guitar fast.
The best way to use a metronome is to set it at a speed slow enough to play an exercise or a section of music with complete accuracy – this might be a lot slower than you would like to be playing. It is better to set it too slow than too fast. Play through the piece you are learning a few times, and then increase the metronome by a very small amount. Keep doing this, playing through the piece 3 to 4 times, and then raising the metronome by 1 or 2 beats per minute. If you do this consistently then you will improve very fast.
- Develop your ear
Your ear is as important or maybe even more important than your technical ability. When you hear some music, try to work out how it is played without using your guitar. Before you play something, try to sing the melody out loud. There are all sorts of ways to develop your ear, and time spent doing it will help you learn electric guitar fast.
- Invest in some tuition materials
In my post on Guitar Instruction, I talk about a number of different alternatives and their benefits and drawbacks. If you are wanting to learn electric guitar fast then you should look to take as many of these approaches as possible. As far as instructional materials go, I recommend Jamorama on this blog as a student of mine has used it and it has been great. There are many good choices though. It is important of course to USE the materials, if you buy them and then just let them sit there, that won’t do any good.
- Plan your practice times
A lot of people “practice”, but their practice just means picking up the guitar now and then and noodling for a bit, with no forethought about what to actually play. This means that you will often just cycle through what you are most comfortable with – basically you are practicing what you already know how to play. If you plan your practice, you will get much faster results. To plan your practice, first pick a time in the day that you have set aside for it – treat this time you have scheduled with the same respect as an important meeting with somebody’s time you are paying good money for. Next, break down exactly what you are going to play through during your practice time, and for exactly how many minutes you are going to practice something.
- Eliminate distractions
It’s pretty awesome to just noodle in front of the TV or while browsing the internet. I do it all the time – it’s one of the greatest pleasures of being a guitarist. When you have set aside time for practice though, you don’t want to be distracted. Turn your mobile phone off – it’s okay, the world won’t end and you can get back to people after your practice. If you live with anybody else then let them know that you will be practicing at a certain time and you don’t want to be disturbed in that time.
- Be careful
One thing that can stop you improving and even send you backwards is injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury and related problems can stop you playing for months or maybe forever. Warm up and stretch before trying anything really difficult. And if playing something is causing you pain, the absolute worst thing you can do is just ignore it and power through.
Good luck and happy playing!