Today, I want to give you 11 tips to help improve your guitar playing.

Most guitarists follow none of these tips and some follow only a small handful at best.

Take a look below and let me know how many of these you follow.


  1. Use a click or drum beat daily (poor rhythm holds everyone back, practice playing to a click in a really simple way each day, it benefits all guitarists)
  2. Make a list of ten songs you want to learn start to finish and make sure they have some variety (e.g. a few fingerpicking, a few strumming, a few riff-based songs, etc.)
  3. Record yourself playing via video (this will help you hear how you sound and help you spot technical errors)
  4. Tap your foot when you play (if you have never done this, start by trying it with just one really simple piece)
  5. Jam with other musicians (it’s scary but try to get there and aim for it, at least one day soon)
  6. Improve your technique (nearly all guitarists I see who struggle have sloppy technique which causes pain, messy playing and holds back improvements, often for years, unless fixed)
  7. Be clear in your head on exactly what your fingers should be doing (don’t just play, visualise and see what you want to play before you do it)
  8. Practice in short bursts
  9. Do some focused pinkie work (this is the weakest finger, yet it gets the least amount of practice, hmm)
  10. Learn 3 sets of strumming and 3 sets of fingerpicking patterns (essential for everyone, yet about 1 in 10 have it – enough said)
  11. Actually use the chords and scales you know each and every day (if you don’t use them in songs, jam them, play about with them, at least refresh them, it’s good for the memory and finger dexterity)

Don’t try to incorporate all of these in one day, but these are the things you have to learn and include in your playing over time.

For example, don’t try to learn 3 strumming and fingerpicking patterns in one day, do it over a week or two. Don’t record yourself playing each day, do it once or twice a week. Same goes for jamming with others.

The idea here is that you bring these tips into your playing steadily, and as I say, most guitarists hardly follow any of the above.

With my private students, if they have played before coming to me for lessons, they usually follow none of these but once I get them doing some of the above, (after some gentle nagging!) they see some steady, solid and progressive improvements in their playing.

You can do so too.

I hope you find these tips useful and more importantly, I hope you follow them!

Dan Thorpe
Guitar Domination

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) then join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE 


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