overestimating abilities

New Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy member Don writes:

“I love the Acoustic Academy. I find I’m spending most of my time in the Focus Essentials area, which surprised me. I thought I had a good foundation but must have over-estimated my abilities. That’s not a problem because I’m still building my skills. I’m glad I made the commitment to keep at it. I’m currently building my plan.”


Don’s email reminds me of a student of mine, called Costas, who rang me up for lessons 11 or 12 years ago.

He was super friendly, very keen, and sounded like he was already a really good player.

At the time, I was going all in on teaching guitar and decided to make it my full-time business.

I’d already taught a few really good guitarists.

These guitarists were often the hardest to teach in some ways because they’d already learnt so much, and it took more brainpower to figure out exactly which route to go down when teaching them.

Teaching beginners was easier in comparison, as I’d just go through a beginner course syllabus I’d created (and adapt it to suit them where necessary).


…But when Costas came for his first lesson, it turned out I’d overestimated his ability from our phone call.

He’d already had lessons with another tutor, and he could play some things.

…And although some of his playing was pretty good, other aspects were lagging behind.

For instance, he played with too much tension.

In fact, he was playing with so much tension that when he played a G chord, it sounded out of tune.

That’s because he was bending the strings slightly out of tune.

There were other bad habits too, such as buzzing notes, awkward chord changes, and stop/start rhythms.


We went to work fixing all these issues, and it took some concentration on his part to change old habits.

…But he did wonderfully well because once he chipped away at these issues, and started seeing results, all of his guitar playing came together nicely.

Then the things he did well, such as his repertoire of songs, started to sparkle and sound way more musical.

…He started to have a real groove in his playing (as there were no awkward pauses and his rhythm was smoother).

…And he found playing much more enjoyable, which was probably due to sounding much better and feeling more “connected” to the music.


So, if you’re like Don or my student Costas, and you feel there are things you need to work on…

…Or that there are things not quite right in your playing, then remember, you can fix these issues.

It takes focus, but you will get there.

Just keep at it.


If you want more help, then the In Focus Essentials course might be the answer.

It’s my “A to Z” course that will show you exactly what you need to do to go from beginner to intermediate guitarist.

Like I say to all students, use one lesson per week from the course, digest the lesson fully and in the next 6-12 months you can be a completely different player.

It’s a simple plan but a mighty effective one that is inspired by how I teach students in person where we cover one key principle each week and build from there.

Anyway, this course is inside the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy, which you can find out more about below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Have a great day of practice, and remember, keep chipping away.

Dan Thorpe


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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