I’m working on a book at the moment, which is something I’m super excited about. It’s called 1-Minute Melodies. (More on this in a moment.)

Here’s how I got thinking about this in the first place.


When I was 16, my first job was working in a pub kitchen.

I started out as the “pot wash”, and quickly got promoted to a kind of “chef”.

It was just a job to fund me through college, but it was fun and it taught me a few lessons and a surprisingly useful one for guitar…

One thing we were constantly told was “clean as you go”.


The idea was that instead of spending hours cleaning the kitchen at the end of the night, we could save a lot of time by cleaning and tidying where possible.

Guess what, it worked and saved us plenty of time cleaning at the end of the night.

On the guitar, I think of that “clean as you go” principle whenever I’m teaching a student a song.


Some students like to learn all the notes and THEN later learn to play them all musically.

Logically, I can see why.

It’s nice and sequential and most guitarists are taught to learn in this way.

…Yet this usually leads to many frustrating months trying to learn the song.

When you play a piece you’ve been trying to play for a long time, if some notes buzz or there are unmusical pauses in between notes, you may be doing this.


Instead, when you learn a song, in my experience, it’s far better to learn one phrase at a time and then get to work on perfecting it ASAP before learning the next part.

Spending time working on smaller sections, perfecting and refining them, going deep on the details, the movements, the subtle elements that make up musicality, etc., is more efficient.

It will help you sound more musical, it helps to prevent bad habits, and makes the parts easier to remember (as you are not trying to cram in as many notes into your brain at once).


This is something that makes up the 1-Minute Melody method (but there’s a lot more to it than just that) which I’ll be talking about more in the near future.

For now though, to put this principle to practise right away, you can check out my Fingerstyle Collection course – which is full of classic songs, all of which are ideal ones to apply this principle to (plus I give you loads more tips in the course on playing them to a high standard).

The Fingerstyle Collection – learn 18 beautiful arrangements and discover the 3-step method


Have a great day!

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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