chipping away

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including New Year tips, Leonard Cohen, and “chipping” away. Here we go…


#1 – New Year tips

Let’s start with three specific tips on how you can make the new year a great one for your guitar playing.

Firstly, resolutions.

We’ve just started 2023, so it makes sense to write down your guitar-playing resolutions of things you want to achieve this year.

Is there a specific song you want to learn? Do you want to play an open mic? Jam some blues or fingerstyle purely for yourself?

Whatever it is, write it down.


Secondly, make the most of this time of the year.

The 2nd of January is what some people call “Go-Time”. This means it’s the time of the year when there are fewer distractions holding you back from reaching your goals.

The festive season is behind us, the vacation period is many months away, and the weather (at least here) is drab.

This makes January till April the best time of the year for most in terms of getting some wonderful practice time in.


Thirdly, let’s talk about monthly goals. Most people don’t set deadlines for any goals.

This means they often don’t ever really conquer the goals, but having monthly deadlines is powerful.

Ask yourself what would you like to achieve by the end of January on the guitar?

Choose a couple of simple mini-goals (the simpler the better) and get moving towards them this month.

Make a note of these mini-goals and the January 31st date, leave the note next to your guitar, and you’ll be more likely to make progress.

There’s three useful tips for you.


#2 – “Chipping” away

A fella called Philip left a comment on my Facebook page the other day.

He was replying to a post of mine where I talked about playing by ear and developing this skill methodically over time.

He talked about how this skill “can come on in a sudden flash, like turning the lights on in a dark room.”

I liked that analogy because many skills on the guitar are like that.

We have to chip away little by little, building up the skills and then at some point things often all “click”.


This goes for anything on the guitar really – chord changes, strumming, songs, ear training, understanding theory, etc.

It’s quite a nice moment when we notice things “clicking” into place.

So keep chipping away, keep working at improving those weak areas in your playing, and keep enjoying the journey.

…Because if you do, things will click into place.


I’ve seen that many times from teaching countless students in real life over the years.

The ones who kept at it got to where they wanted to be on the guitar.

Yet, the ones who stopped chipping away would slowly stop coming for lessons, only to give up and no doubt regret it.

Be the guitarist who keeps “chipping” away.

It’s so worth it.



#3 – Leonard Cohen’s secret

I read this quote from the great Leonard Cohen the other day.

The legendary songwriter was talking about the power of meditation in his life:

“If you sit there long enough, you run through all the alternative ways the events in your life could have turned out. After a while, the activity of thinking, that interior chatter, begins to subside from time to time. And what rushes in, in the same way that light rushes into a room when you switch on the light, is another kind of mood that overtakes you.”

I found that to be very powerful.


I think meditation is a very powerful tool, especially with the guitar.

It’s not something you have to go deep with or get “woo woo” about.

…But spending a few minutes per day in a super relaxed meditative state while playing some very simple things on the guitar can be very powerful.

In fact, I’d say that 99% of guitarists out there have never done anything like this before.

Yet, a few minutes per day of reducing tension, soreness, fatigue, discomfort, brain fog, and other negative stuff can go a long way.


The problem is, it can be hard to get into this state.

That’s why I’ve created a short and powerful Leonard Cohen-inspired little guitar meditation to help.

It’s part of the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons which are out now.

Along with this bonus, you’ll also get my new lessons on 10 essential techniques that EVERY guitarist should know, how to simplify chords so any guitarist can play, jam, and use them, and a two-minute challenge on what I call “Rhythm Switching”.

The deadline for getting the lessons is almost upon us at midnight tonight (Pacific time).

You can find out more about the academy below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


I hope you enjoyed those random thoughts and happy new year!

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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