playing assumptions

The other day, I had a Zoom lesson with a student.

This is something I do very occasionally and may do more of in the future, but probably in a group setting if I decide to. (There are some exciting projects to finish off first though).


Anyway, we had a great call, and I gave Janice some good tips, which she found really useful.

One of them was a little barre chord tip, making the Am to Bm chord change easier.

This is one of those tips that a lot of pro players and experienced guitarists do a lot, but I never see them teaching.

Like a lot of things, I think they assume you know it already.


We all know making assumptions is not good and here’s a funny story about this call.

At the end of the call, we talked about what’s happening the rest of the day.

I said my partner and I were going rock climbing.

…And I also added that I think Archie might like it at some point.


So, we wrapped up the call and later Janice emailed to say how much she enjoyed the call, how she found it useful, and that she hoped me and my partner, Archie, enjoyed climbing!

That was kind of her to say, but the last bit made me laugh.

I can totally see why she thought that Archie was my partner from how I worded things.

In case you don’t know, Archie is my 6-year-old son and Sally is my partner.

It’s funny and a 100% ooops on my part.


I assumed Janice knew that Archie is my son from my emails.

No harm done at all, and this just highlights that I assumed she knew this.

When it comes to the guitar, I really try to avoid assumptions as much as possible when teaching, as there is nothing worse than a teacher assuming you know the basics.

…And in terms of playing, I sometimes see the following two assumptions, which I made myself in the past.


#1 – In the past, I’ve been guilty of assuming other people knew I’d spent about 10 hours or more working on a song and that it was darn difficult to play.

So, I thought they would give me slack when I made a little error.

Nope, unless they’ve played an instrument, I’ve found most people (not all though) simply have no idea how much time and effort we’ve put into the guitar.

If only they knew, ha-ha.


This made me quickly realise that when playing in front of others, even if they are just in the same room but not really listening…

It’s far better to play something simple and recognisable and do it well than play something complex with mistakes or just okay.

It would always get a better reaction this way.


#2 – Another assumption I used to make was that my songs will get better if I simply practise them more and more.

Sometimes they did.

Sometimes it felt like a solar eclipse would happen before my songs improved though.

The truth is, to improve something, we have to practise it with focus, and we have to work on fixing the weak spots in the song.

Both of these things are as important as the time spent on the song.


10 minutes of laser-focused practice on a piece of music is often far better than 30 minutes of very casual, not very focused practice.

Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on a couple of common assumptions I made (one comical and two relevant to guitarists).


I hope that was helpful and gave you a chuckle this Sunday.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week and a great day to get to making some awesome progress.


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you want to have fun and learn the blues, you may want to check this out…

Find out more about the 12-Bar Blues Mini masterclass

It’s a good fun course where each step is taught from the ground up, and unlike a lot of tuition on the blues, there are no assumptions made here. All the fundamentals are covered, which leads to the fun riffs and licks. It’s all in the course.


P.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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