What makes a guitar unplayable

7 reasons why you're not making progress on the guitar

Practice the guitar properly - successfully overcome learning blocks

Tips and tricks for learning to play the guitar

(Image: © https://premier.shutterstock.com/image/detail-449251030/man-compose-song-and-play-guitar Stock Photo: man compose song and play guitar By: Woraphon Nusen)

Getting really good on the guitar takes a lot of practice, time, and patience. But even then, the learning curve does not always go up steeply, because a lack of inspiration, setbacks and ultimately frustration often creep into everyday practice. These blockages, which prevent any progress, can often drive us to despair.

Here it helps to gain some distance and to remember a few points that you often lose sight of when practicing. In the following article I have listed seven reasons that could be to blame for not making good progress on your instrument.

1) You are not making effective use of your practice time

Ineffective practice is one of the main reasons why players have difficulty getting on with their instrument. This is not surprising, because concentrated practice requires a lot of discipline. Therefore, this challenge is not only faced for guitar beginners, but is also a recurring topic in the everyday musical life of advanced guitarists. It is important to distinguish when you just play the guitar and when you practice concentrated.

So that we don't get ourselves wrong:

You should of course play the guitar as much as possible, because here, too, learning effects are achieved and a solid playing routine is created at the same time. Apart from that, the mere playing of the instrument is the most fun and should not be neglected in order to enjoy the ball.

But when you really practice, it's not so much about playing the guitar, it's about focusing very precisely on a specific point. For example, it can be about a certain playing technique or fingerings on the fingerboard.

It should be made clear that the concentration in a practice unit is limited and that mere "fiddling around" on the guitar is rather counterproductive.

As a tip, I would recommend that you plan short exercise units of 10-20 minutes in your everyday life, which, in combination with an exercise plan, are dedicated to a specific topic and are only used for this purpose. Do not do too much at once and also give yourself time to process what you have learned. A day or two later you pick up the topic again, repeat and consolidate the material and work on it again.

2) You practice too quickly

The second point is also very typical and can be observed again and again in everyday teaching with students. When it comes to a new playing technique, you should first practice it slowly in order to fully understand the sequence of movements. If, on the other hand, you start playing the whole thing as quickly as possible at an early stage, mistakes often creep in, which then have to be laboriously corrected. Even with a new piece with many notes, it makes sense to divide the material into small bits and practice them slowly at first.

Which brings us back to point 1 and the targeted exercise units that are ideally suited for this!

Nevertheless, there is nothing to be said against increasing the pace a little in between to find out how solid the material is.

3) It's time to update your music theory and fingerboard skills

Do you keep playing the same tone sequences and licks and your chord progressions are also similar? Then it could be time to take a closer look at the topic of music theory and then transfer what you learned to the fingerboard.

Music theory books initially put off many players because the subject matter appears to be very extensive and dry. And in fact, you can always deal with music theory backgrounds and often deepen them even as a professional. So here too, of course, time and patience are needed. But as soon as you begin to understand the music-theoretical relationships between scales and chords in more detail, this opens up completely new worlds of sound and is therefore very worthwhile to be tackled!

4) Your musical horizon would like to be broadened

Point 4 also has a similar background. In addition to acquiring background knowledge of music theory, it also makes perfect sense to listen to unknown genres and styles of music. It's not necessarily about taking on a new direction or changing your own game, but rather about inspiration and a new perspective. In other words, if you feel most at home on the rock guitar, you don't have to become a jazz guitarist to expand your playing. Still, keeping an eye on musicians from other directions and playing through their material can still be very inspiring. If you have been playing a little longer, I would absolutely recommend that you transcribe musical excerpts from other players and then play them back as precisely as possible.

5) It's time for a teacher

If you have taught yourself to play the guitar on your own, a teacher may be able to help you get out of the practice dead end by making you aware of a few things that you may not even have on your screen.

Likewise, a teacher can be a source of inspiration with his or her way of playing. But even if you have been teaching with a teacher for a long time, one or the other hour with another colleague who has a completely unbiased view of your game can also be very refreshing.

6) You need a band

Even if there is a huge range of backing tracks these days that can make practicing at home a lot more entertaining, these do not replace a real band. It is only when you interact with other musicians that you often notice where there is still work to be done. At the same time, there is nothing more inspiring than playing with other musicians.

In order to come up with new ideas, you should not only spend your time in the practice chamber, but also apply what you have learned in a practical context.

7) You need a break

If you practice pieces that are very challenging, it can happen that at a certain point you get tangled up in the "small-small" and lose sight of the bigger picture. Here it helps to get some distance.

So don't be afraid to put the piece aside for a few days or weeks. Practicing is often a little easier afterwards and passages that previously seemed unplayable lose their intimidating effect. But it is not at all dramatic when you realize that you have simply taken on too much. In this case, it is worth spending a little more time on the basics and revisiting the piece a little later.