rocky iv

Last week I wrote a little humorous bit about how there are certain Sylvester Stallone movies which we can take some fun guitar lessons from.

Well, as a hardcore Rocky fan growing up, there was one movie and one incredibly special scene I forgot to mention.

This movie would always fire me up and get me in the mood for training.

It was…


Rocky IV.

Particularly the classic montage where Dolph Lungren’s character, Ivan Drago, is using state-of-the-art technology to train.

He has all the monitors, doctors, and science to help him become the ultimate fighting machine.

And at the same time, Rocky does his training.

…But he goes back to basics.

Rocky is training out in the freezing snow, pulling sleds and hauling rocks and breaking his back with his no-frills old-school training.

Those two scenes remind me of the guitar in that there’s always the next gadget that is supposed to change guitar playing.


Over the years, there have been all sorts of things people have tried.

There was once a guitar with lights that flash up to help you learn where to place your fingers.

There was an Xbox game where you plug your guitar in and play specific notes (which the microphone would pick up), and from what I remember, if you played the correct note in time, a tank would blow something up on the screen.

There’s been various apps and gadgets and hand stretchers and all sorts of things.

Just like the Ivan Drago training routine in Rocky IV, these technology things are all the “icing on the cake”.


The reality is that the acoustic guitar has barely changed in a hundred or so years.

Just like Rocky training in the snow to get fit and strong, you still need to do the basics on the guitar to get good.

That will never change.

While technology can help a little, getting good at guitar will always be about precise technique, musical skills, focused playing, and a proper practice plan.

So I much prefer the guitar-playing equivalent of getting out in the snow and practising those core skills.

That beats fancy-dan technology hands down,

And guess what (sorry if this is a spoiler) but Rocky won.

Right, I’m off to do some Rocky-style push-ups (with my guitar on my back, of course, ha ha).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that.


Speaking of core guitar skills, to improve yours you may want to check this out…

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Keep on strumming!

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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