Would you like to know the simple strategy your favorite guitarists use to “wow” you with breath-taking solos, great songs, and amazing performances time after time…
…all while making it look effortless?
In just a sec, I’ll let you in on their “little secret”, and a little later I’ll explain why the pro’s even suck at sounding “bad”.
Once you understand this strategy, you too will be able to “dazzle” any audience you play for without fail.
But be warned… it’s probably not what you’re thinking.
Here it is.
The reason it looks so easy for your favorite players is …
Because it IS easy.
Are you surprised?
Think about this…
Professional guitar players are people.
Just like you and me.
Nobody on earth can take something “hard”, and somehow make it appear “easy”.
It’s not possible.
When you see a guitar player play something that you think is hard, consider this:
It’s just hard to you. Not to them.
Not because they were born with any special talents or superior super-human, god-given skills for maneuvering their fingers between stretched-steel strings across a wooden fretboard in such a way to make it sound outstanding.
That’s not the reason.
Each and every person who’s ever touched a guitar…
….including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page had to start from zero and learn to do what they did.
Anytime you see a guitar player play something “difficult”, but somehow it looks easy to them, it’s because they made it easy.
Through conscious repetition, rehearsal, and practice…
…probably far more practice than you might imagine.
There’s no hidden magic secret here.
And this is good news for you. Because you can learn, practice, and rehearse too. Can’t you?
Anything you could ever dream of playing on guitar, you can get great at it
Think about any skill you’re good at.
Can you ride a bicycle? Do you have good handwriting? Are you good at a sport? Can you strum a G chord so sweetly it sounds like the heavens have opened?
Chances are, whatever you’re good at, it’s reasonably easy for you.
Otherwise, if it were hard, you wouldn’t be very good at it.
See how that works?
You can only be good at “easy” things…
The only way to get good at something “hard” is to progressively make it easier.
How to Make Hard Things Easy
Consider learning a simple lick on your guitar.
Just three notes.
All played one after the other on the high E string: 3rd fret, 5th fret, then 7th fret.
Imagine playing this “lick” for the very first time.
On your first go-around, you’re simply focused on finding the correct frets. Then completing the lick by playing all three notes.
Not exactly “hard”. But not necessarily effortless either.
How did it sound? Probably not too great.
Simple. You weren’t focusing on the sound.
You were focused on finding the correct frets and completing the lick … remember?
So how about playing the lick for the second time?
Well, now you know where the notes are, so you don’t have to waste energy finding them. Also, your hand already knows where to go, so it can start in the right position, or at least close.
All that’s left then is to complete the lick again. Sound better this time? Probably so.
As you play the lick more and more, your hand and fingers “hone in” on the right locations and pressures to play each note.
And your confidence grows because you become more “sure” you’re going to complete the lick every single attempt.
The more you play the lick, over and over, the more accurate you get, and the better it begins to sound.
You can start to focus less on what your hands are doing, and more on the resulting sound of the lick .
As your hands get comfortable playing the lick, your total focus is free to work on “closing the gap”.
That means making the sound from your guitar approach and match what you hear in your head.
Eventually, through repetition, you close the gap.
After playing the lick dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times, inching closer to the sound you want with each and every repetition, you’ve “learned” how to make the lick sound good.
Now it’s “easy”. And every time you play it, it “looks” easy…
However. Like anything else on earth, nothing is perfect.
You can’t play the lick “perfectly”. It’s not possible.
So it’s a waste of time trying to chase “playing it perfectly”.
Here’s what to do instead.
How to Increase Your “Ability Range”
We all have good days and bad days, right?
In terms of guitar, we usually say that we are either “on” or “off” that day.
But the thing is, you’re never 100% on or 100% off.
There’s a range.
And you always fall somewhere in between 100% on and 100% off.
With our example lick, chances are that you weren’t great at it the first time.
But even on your first day of playing the lick, you can be “on” or “off” that day.
No matter your skill level, at any given time, you have an “ability range”.
On your first day of playing the lick, in sound terms, your sound might have ranged from “pretty bad” to “not too bad”.
And here’s a key point. At your starting skill level, it would have been impossible for you to sound great playing the lick.
Most guitar players get frustrated when they can’t learn a lick and instantly sound like their heroes – even though it’s not possible, and waste their valuable time stressing over nothing.
They simply haven’t developed their ability to play that certain lick yet.
You see, by practicing a lick over and over, inching closer to the sound you want, you increase your ability to sound good when playing that particular lick.
More practice, more ability.
How to Make it Hard to Play “Bad”
What’s important to remember is that you can only play as good as the top of your ability range, or as “bad” as the bottom of your ability range.
As you increase your ability through practice, the range of your “on or off-ness” also goes up.
This means that the higher your ability, the better your “best” is, and also, the better your “worst” is.
Here’s what’s interesting…
The better you get at making something sound good, the harder it will be for you to make it sound bad.
Have you ever asked a great player to try to play poorly? You’d be surprised at how bad they are at playing bad!
Remember, you can only play as “bad” as the bottom of your ability range.
Further down than that, and it’s increasingly harder to play worse.
This is why even when the pros are having an “off night”, to you they still sound great.
They’ve simply increased their ability so high that even their worst is still good – and better than the vast majority of guitar players on the entire planet.
Of course, they’re great at more than one simple lick. They’ve worked to dramatically increase their abilities at everything your hear. That’s a lot of work. And that’s why there’s only one of them on stage and thousands in the audience.
Wouldn’t you like to have that ability?
And there’s no secret about how to get there.
If you just keep going, practicing the right things, over and over in the right ways, it will be impossible for you not to eventually achieve the level of ability you want.
What are the right things and the right ways? It depends on what you want, of course.
Determine exactly what you want to achieve first, no matter how big or small, and then ask yourself “What can I practice if I want to get closer to being able to (fill in the blank), and how should I practice it?”
Whatever your answer is, do that. But know this…
You Can’t Get Good Without Being “Bad” First
It’s reported that the great inventor Thomas Edison made over 1,000 attempts before finally arriving at a viable version of the light-bulb.
Even a great mind like Edison said that his work was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
If you struggle to get over a hurdle, it’s helpful, encouraging, and inspiring to read about the struggles and persistence of some of the world’s most successful people before they were famous.
You can read some of those stories here: https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/OnFailingG.html
Maybe you will be inspired enough to join them.
How to Reach the level of Guitar Playing You Always Dreamed Of
Contrary to popular belief, learning more information in hopes that one day you’ll know enough to be great at guitar is not the answer.
It’s about increasing your ability. Inch by inch. Day by day. Week by week. Year by year…
Not learning about doing.
It’s about trying to play something just out of your reach, over and over again, learning how to adjust from your mistakes, and inching closer each and every time.
Your ability increases with every step.
The best guitar players learn the right information – information that allows them to most easily increase their ability – depending on what they want to be able to do.
And then, once they know the path, they put in the time, practicing the things that will get them closer, until they increase their ability to the level they’re happy with.
Always focus on increasing your ability with every single ounce of your practice (no matter how small, slow, or simple the exercise). And in a short time you will amaze even yourself with your new level of creativity, expressiveness, and freedom in your guitar playing.
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