Does Practice Make Perfect?
The other day I was browsing a popular guitar forum. And I came across a post where the author gave such a bad piece of advice that it made me physically shake my head…
It was just so wrong.
The crazy thing is though…
This advice is parroted by so many people, and they never stop to critically think about what they’re saying, or why it’s so wrong.
And really, they’re not only hurting their own playing if they live by this advice. But they’re hurting anyone who listens to their advice too.
Alright, so what was the bad piece of advice?
“Any practice is better than no practice.”
This is 115% not true.
You see, while it may seem to make sense when you hear it in a “passing” manner — like “oh yeah, obviously practicing is better than not” — most players never think deeper.
Because the truth is, only practicing PROPERLY is better than not practicing at all. Because when you practice properly, you make yourself better and give yourself more ability.
But if you’re not practicing properly, you could be setting yourself back in ability.
It’s like I always say to my students…
“WHATEVER you practice, you get better at.”
Even if you’re practicing playing “bad” or “sloppy”, that just means you’ll get better at playing sloppy. And frankly, lots of guitar players are really good at playing BAD — because that’s what they’ve practiced. They actually get better at playing worse.
And this makes it harder and harder to actually sound good.
But if you look at the pros… they’re so good because they’ve practiced playing good. And if you ask them to play “bad”, they almost can’t…
Because they’re bad at playing bad.
And that’s where you wanna be. You want to have a hard time playing sloppy. But the only way to get there is to practice properly.
So how do you practice properly?
Here’s why I bring this up today…
Because that advice was just ONE bullet point in a much longer post.
You see, the whole post was saying that practicing without a guitar amp is better than practicing with a guitar amp. And the guy who posted it made a bulleted list of about 7 or 8 reasons to “prove” his point. (With the bad advice from above being one of them.)
But it’s not the post I want to focus on…
Instead, I wanna look at the responses, and what it shows about digging for guitar advice on youtube, forums, etc.
You see, while the guy made his case for practicing without an amp (and made some good & bad points), there were tons of responses just straight-up disagreeing with everything he said.
One guy said, “Tomo Fujita advises against playing unplugged. Given his experience and reputation that’s the advice I’ll be following.”
Another said, “Absolutely no upside, only downsides [to practicing unplugged] in my book.”
And another said, “John 5 has little amps all over his house so he’s never unplugged – so I don’t know why I would spend a lot of time practicing without it.”
Now, I’m not here to say anyone here is “wrong” or “right” — there are pluses and minuses to playing unplugged vs. plugged in (which is a conversation for another day).
But these responses reminded me of how frustrating it can be looking for playing information online — especially from different websites and forums.
You may find someone saying one thing… only to find the very next person say the exact opposite. And that can lead to banging your head against a wall, just trying to figure out what’s “right.” (I know the feeling. Because I was there as I moved past the “I know a few chords and songs” phase.)
At the end of the day (and I’ve said this before), there are multiple ways to accomplish the same goal.
Trying to become a great player by piecing together conflicting info from random youtube videos and forum posts can lead to a lot of frustration and disappointment.
Playing Guitar and Racing a Horse
That’s why you almost want to treat guitar playing like racehorsing…
You know how racehorses have blinders on to help them not get distracted by the other horses around them? Yeah, treat your guitar journey like that.
When you find a method that works for you… stick with it, and put you “blinders” on so you don’t get bogged down in info that will only set you off course.
Because if you’ve spent even a day on the internet, you know how much conflicting info is out there.
There are those that practice Scales, Theory, The CAGED System, but they don’t know which to focus on.
They go down the rabbit hole without any clear direction on how to really break free from what I call Guitar Limbo.
That’s why I’ve created this course to help our students breakthrough and finally learn to Play By Feel.
If you are interested in not just practicing but practicing whats really going to make a difference then grab the free course here.
Related Article: The Guitar Theory Trap