I got this email last week…


“I’m feeling very stalled right now, it’s been this way for the 2 years I have decided to learn how to play guitar.  I started as [a] total beginner never played any instrument to now learn guitar.

I’ve tried different teachers over these 2 years.  I feel like, if I only had started your academy then, maybe I would be further along and actually feeling better about my progress.

I’ve been at it for two years.

I guess I just need to be patient and zero in and not worry about the total sum of what my practices amount to.  

When I say total sum of my practices, I’m referring to the fact I can’t play a song, and at least sound like a musician, to be able to share my playing with friends or family.  Even for my self-enjoyment… not sure if I’m describing this frustration right.  So, I guess I’m looking for a few words of guidance and ideas on what to focus on at this point.

If you have any advice, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for all you do.




It’s a powerful email and one I see a lot.

The original email is a little longer and goes into even more detail on this, but you get the point.

Honestly, it bugs me, but many guitarists out there in the land of guitar barely make any progress over their first 2-5 years (or sometimes, longer).


Over the years, I’ve met plenty of students new to my lessons who have played for decades and can play lots of bits and pieces of songs, but can’t play them very well.

It’s very frustrating for them and I can see how sad and regretful they feel.

I tell them the same as I told Diane.

“See now as a fresh start.”


I wish I had a time machine and could go back and teach them from day 1 of their playing, but as the DeLorean from Back to the Future is just a car and not a time machine, I can’t (here’s hoping one day).

So instead, you should try to treat what has happened before, as a “getting to know the guitar period”.

Yes, it might feel like wasted time.

Yes, you might feel like you have a lot of catching up to do.


…But you have a choice: give up, or wipe the slate clean.

If you’re like most, the chances are no one has given you much guidance on technique, (playing with a light touch, relaxing, reducing pain, smooth chord changes, getting a good tone, etc.)…

…Or any sort of structure or plan or focus on your playing.

It’s not your fault and I wish it was not this way.

It’s the way the guitar is taught that is the problem, not the student.


All of the previous stuff is not wasted time, but is time spent learning what does and doesn’t work for you. (Plus, a lot of the knowledge aspects – e.g., chord shapes, scales, etc. will be handy later on).

Thankfully, Diane feels a tonne better about her playing now and is right back to it, with high levels of motivation.

Still, I thought this would be a powerful email to share, as no doubt it will resonate with some of you.


The key, if you’ve struggled before, is from today, be positive, do something fun each day, and get yourself a plan…

…Because if you do, by the end of 2022 you could have a few really strong songs under your belt, and have a fun variety of skills to jam, and some solid knowledge.


To help, one thing you can do today, to make more progress, is to learn one song, in one style, and master the hell out of it.

If you’re a fingerpicker or Travis picker (or you want to learn in a very methodical way), then this mini masterclass might be just for you.

Listen to and find out more about the Tom Dooley Mini Masterclass


Have a great day and keep being positive!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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