Many times over the years, I’ve been asked one specific question by students.

That is, how do I remember how to play so many songs on the guitar?


I always tried to give a clear and concise answer, but the truth is, it’s a little more complex than that.

Let’s take language as an example.

Just imagine being able to speak 42 languages.

Well, there’s a fella out there called Powell Janulus who can do just that.


He was on the Johnny Carson show once, showing off this skill.

…And unlike most, Mr Janulus doesn’t just speak bits of different languages.

Instead, he can speak them all fluently.

To prove it, he did a two-hour conversational test in each language.

I guess you could say he was Johnny Carson’s most “memorable” guest.

I thought it was cool that I can say “cheers” in about 12 different languages. Yep, that is one of those funny, but pointless things (unless I’m having drinks at a United Nations party or something like that!).


So how on earth did he develop this breathtaking skill?

He was obviously very systematic about it.

…And his method of being able to learn all these languages is based on three things.


1 – Patterns – Lots of languages share similar patterns, just like on the guitar many songs share similar patterns. (E.g. Many songs have the same chord progression and/or strumming/picking patterns.) Recognising these from song to song was a big one for me in terms of being able to memorise a lot of songs.

2 – Active Engagement – This is all about speaking the language a lot. On the guitar, obviously, this means playing what you learn… while being careful not to learn too many things at once. Learn something, apply it, use it, jam it, and do so in as many different ways as you can.

3 – Contextual Immersion – This is a fancy way of saying he surrounded himself with media such as books, music, and movies in the target language. By doing this, he could absorb the language more easily and more naturally.


All three points are essential on the guitar too.

Let’s take that last point about surrounding himself with different media.

When learning guitar, try to do the same too.

Learn from books, TAB, by “ear”, by spoken word, video, etc.

It all helps.


This is something I’ve known about for a long time and there’s lots of research showing how powerful using different forms of learning is.

…Even if you have one “primary” or favourite way of learning.

That’s why I’ve written books, created video courses, and it’s one of the reasons why I created the Acoustic Asylum podcast last year.

…Because the more ways you learn something, the better you will remember it.

As long as you put in the effort and learn with full concentration, of course.


Video is the favourite way of learning for many students.

It has visual cues, aural instructions, and usually it comes with TAB.

Books are great too.

…But books and video together can be even better.

If you’ve got my Fingerstyle 101 book, today is the last day the video course will be on sale.

Anyone can get it and benefit from it, no matter if you have the book version or not.


Of course, for some folk, the book will be more than enough and that will help you far more than a lot of lessons out there.

That’s not a brag, but that’s what I’ve been told many times by students, and you only have to see the reviews to see that.

Is the video course for everyone?

Of course not… and there’s no point getting it if you never log in and use it, or you hate video or anything like that…

…but if you want to learn how to fingerpick, and get some in-depth video lessons, all the TAB and notation, and a series of exclusive bonus stuff only in the video version, you might like to check out the Fingerstyle 101 video course below.

The sale ends tonight at midnight.

Find out more about the Fingerstyle 101 Video Course


Happy learning

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. Here is what a student who started out with the book version said once he got the video version of Fingerstyle 101…

“Wow. I have to say that up to now I had advanced with the book to the Part Two section.

However, having purchased this video companion of Fingerstyle 101, I now realize as to how I didn’t quite understand the mechanics involved in this “techniques” section of Dan’s lesson.

Actually “viewing” the minimum pressure lesson and the fingering technique and the amazing value of actually seeing how best to gauge your body to relax has made me revisit and improve that which I thought I understood, and boy is it making a difference in improving my guitar playing.

This early section of fundamentals is spot on, it is an important element of getting at ease with your guitar. I am so glad I bought this video lesson of Fingerstyle 101, Dan. My guitar journey just keeps getting more enjoyable!

I love these videos, seeing is understanding!” – Don

That’s great to know and you can get it at the link below…

For a final time, check out the Fingerstyle 101 Video 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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