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Treat Your Guitar Like A Hot Date

By Eric Dieter- Lancaster Guitar Teacher – One of the best things you can do when your schedule is hectic is maximize your alone time with your guitar. Pretend your guitar is someone that you really want to impress and spend time with. What do I mean by that?

Turn off your phone and your email.

Just like you wouldn’t want your significant other constantly checking their cellphone on date night, you should give your guitar the same respect. If you can only practice for a short 10-minute-block, the only way that time is going to be productive is if you are not interrupted.

Give guitar your full attention.

Have you ever had a “conversation” with someone only to notice they’ve completely checked out mentally and are giving you the “yup. Uh-huh…” treatment?

Well playing guitar while watching TV means that neither one is getting your full attention. This is NOT how to learn guitar. Mindless practice yields mindless results.

Plan ahead.

If you really wanted to impress that special someone on a date, you’d probably have your dinner reservations made in advance. You probably even plan a few talking points ahead of time.

Guitar is no different. Make sure you know what you want to achieve before you sit down in the practice room. Rather than wasting valuable practice time thinking about what to work on and how to practice it, jot down a few goals throughout the day. This way when you sit down, you can get right to business.

Wash up!

I’m only half-kidding here. You don’t need to use breath spray or cologne/perfume but you should wash your hands before you practice and wipe down your guitar afterward.

If you notice small, dark “ovals” appearing between each of your frets… that’s not the wood grain coming through. That’s your hand grime.

That “dust” under your strings? Dead skin.

Try this little trick- take a plain white piece of paper and slip it between your fretboard and your strings. If your strings look black, it’s time to change ‘em!

Clean instruments last longer and are more fun to play, so don’t ignore basic guitar hygiene.

Make sure you look your best.

Before you left the house for your big date, you’d probably double-check that your collar was straight, your fly was up, and lunch was out of your teeth.

Similarly, make sure things look the way they’re supposed to when you’re playing guitar. Hands down, one of the most effective practice tools I have is a $15 door mirror. Checking your hands in the mirror while playing will expose a ton of technical errors. You’ll spot a lot of bad habits in real-time that you’d never catch otherwise.

Hopefully, these simple little tips help you reignite the passion in your relationship with your guitar.

 

Happy playing!

 

-Eric
Lancaster, PA