all or nothing

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including “all or nothing” thinking, insecurities, and more. Here we go…


#1 – It’s not “all or nothing”.

A lot of guitarists have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to practising their guitar playing.

They often feel like if they don’t have a “proper” practice session, then it’s not really worth picking the guitar up.

Well, it’s something I can relate to.

I used to be the same with the guitar and until recently I was the same with exercise too.

In the past, if I didn’t have the time to do a full 1-hour workout, I would simply not work out at all.

My thinking was that there wasn’t much point in doing 2-3 minutes of press-ups or pull-ups.

This thinking was silly.

…Because some exercise is, of course, better than none at all!

It’s the same with guitar practice.


Sure, we would all like a set time each day when we can practise, but life is busy.

A couple of minutes of sporadic practice is better than none and can be quite powerful.

It can help you make progress, refresh ideas, and commit things to memory faster.

So, if you struggle to fit practice in, see if you can slot in a short burst of practice time once or twice a day.

Just a few minutes can be beneficial.


#2 – Guitar playing insecurities

The other day, I asked the members of the Fingerstyle 101 Facebook group what they feel insecure about when it comes to guitar playing.

It got some interesting responses.

Some members said they were insecure about specific technical issues.

E.g. slow chord changes, poor rhythm, and the frustration of picking the wrong strings.

For other people, their insecurities are much deeper…

This included things like not wanting anyone to ever hear them play, being massively frustrated by not being able to play any songs yet, or joining a guitar class and feeling way in over their heads.


For me, when I look back at my playing in the early days, I was really insecure about people hearing me play – even when I started to get decent.

The thought of others hearing me would get me churned up.

…But I got past that by chipping away, building confidence, being resilient, and taking small steps forward.

So, if you ever feel insecure about your playing, remember, most of us have felt that way at various points.

Keep chipping away with focus, like a sculptor chips away at a block of marble to leave something beautiful.

If you do, there will come a point where your skill and confidence will overtake those insecurities and they will become a thing of the past.


#3 – Creatively “Shutting the box”

Have you ever played the game “shut the box”?

It’s a fun little dice game that Archie and I were playing the other day.

Well, Archie decided to ramp up the game and turn it into a fully fledged board game where a character he added to the game has to travel to the other side of the box.

It was actually really fun.

I love this sort of creativity.

It goes to show we can all take something simple and morph it into something else.

There are countless ways to do this on the guitar.


Let’s take fingerpicking patterns as an example.

You might play a typical pattern that plucks strings 6321.

Why not play about with it and change the string order? E.g. play strings 6132.

Or you could keep the pattern the same, but experiment with a different rhythm.

You could add or remove a string pluck or you could play a hammer-on on a certain string.

There really are limitless options out there.

This sort of thing is something all guitarists can do.

Not only is it good for experimenting and jamming, but it’s also an interesting way to noodle around in a way that’s good for the brain.

I urge all guitarists to get their creative hats on every now and then and do things like this.

There really are no limits to how you can apply creativity to pretty much most things on the guitar.

Plus, it’s fun, so do give it a go!


I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts.

On another note, I’ve just re-opened enrolment for the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy for a short time.

If improving your playing, your creativity, and your core fundamental technique (while learning great songs and having a real plan) is something you want, then you might want to check this out:

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Enjoy your Monday!

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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