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How Can You Learn Guitar Quickly?

Everyone who wants to learn to play guitar, wants to learn as quickly as possible. The reason a lot of us want to learn to play guitar is because we want to play our favourite songs. I remember when I first heard guitar players like Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani, I thought it would be awesome to play like them! I wanted to play FAST. But… I had to start at the start.

Which a lot of people find very frustrating. So how can we learn as quickly as possible?

1. Be focussed while practising
It is very, very important to keep your brain engaged while you are practising and learning to play guitar. The more focussed you are, the faster you progress. How can you stay focussed while practising? You can:
• Be in quiet place
• Turn your phone off
• Make sure no-one disturbs you

2. Practice environment
To this end, you want to control your environment when learning to play guitar. Keep your practice space neat and tidy. Keep your practising notes and materials organised in a folder, with a contents section so you can find things quickly. You want to keep you guitar out all the time, this makes it much easier to practice. If you keep your guitar under the bed, or in it’s case, just the act of taking it out of its case will put you off from practising. I know this sounds a little bit silly, but having your guitar out makes practising a lot easier!

3. Focus on one thing at a time
When learning guitar, it is easy to quickly become overwhelmed at the amount of things we have to fix. However, the brain can only think about one thing at a time… so that is all you should focus on. Choose on aspect of your guitar playing to focus on, and spend a couple of minutes focussing on that. Then choose another aspect and spend a couple of minutes focussing on that. For example, maybe you have a note in the riff you are playing that is buzzing a lot. For 2 minutes, you could focus on keeping your finger close to the fret. For the next two minutes you could focus on the amount of pressure you are using. For the last two minutes you could focus on Your thumb position on the back of the neck. This way you can systematically fix up your playing one piece at a time.

4. Don’t put off improvising or songwriting until you are “good enough”
Spoiler alert – there is no such thing as being “good enough”. If you want to improvise or write songs on guitar, then you should do so as close as you can to Day 1. Make it easy for yourself – don’t try and burn up and down scales all over the neck, choose a small section of a scale and get comfortable improvising in that. Then choose the next piece of the scale and improvise for a couple of minutes using that. Then combine them and spend a couple of minutes improvising. You get the idea.

In general, when learning to play guitar, we want to break things down into small components, and gradually build them back up again. This is the most effective way to learn.

The author, Sam Russell is a guitar instructor at West London School of Guitar, based in Uxbridge, Middlesex.