There are three key factors that will define how happy, successful and efficient you are at learning to play the guitar, especially if you don’t have a teacher and therefore you effectively teach yourself guitar.

In this post, you will learn what they are, how important they are to your success and why only you can control these factors.

The three factors in question combine to form my definition of the term ‘Elite Guitarist’.

By that, I don’t mean someone who is the greatest player in the world, on tour for 3 solid years and packing out arenas everywhere.

Instead, Elite Guitarist is a term I use to define a guitarist who is the very best they can be. That is why I named the sister site to Guitar Domination (where all my courses, books and membership programme are located) as Elite Guitarist.

Put simply, it means you are the very best you can be.

To be the best you can be, I believe it is important to follow the three criteria below that define my definition of an ‘Elite Guitarist’.


3 Critical Factors That Will Help You Find The Best Way To Learn Guitar For YOU


1) Laid back attitude

  • Not stressing about learning
  • Having fun and actually enjoying the process of learning the guitar
  • Being a social musician
  • Jamming with others
  • Staying motivated
  • Being realistic about progress
  • Learning for the long-term


Those are some of the things that involve having a laid-back attitude to learning the guitar.

Some of those such as staying motivated and jamming with others are super important and I have written about before.

If you are tense or anxious about learning the guitar it will make it harder and will kick the fun out of the journey too which is a real shame.


2) Proper technique

  • Solid posture
  • Body free of tension when playing
  • Small movements (not ‘bouncing fingers’)
  • Minimum pressure
  • Bright and clear tone
  • Precise rhythm and timing
  • Accurate clear and clean playing of each note

Proper technique is so critical yet so many guitarists who start off, play for years without any guidance on it which means their technique is often poor. Therefore, I have written more about this lately.

You can see some of my posts on proper posture, and ‘bouncing fingers’ that go in-depth on this.


3) Efficiency of learning

  • Not wasting time learning unnecessary things
  • ‘Power burst learning’
  • Visualisation as a memory technique
  • Having a proper practice plan
  • Only seeking the best advice, ignoring those who dish out bad advice
  • Core repertoire – having a solid ten songs as a minimum
  • Regular testing to see improvements


Everyone knows you should play for the love of it and play with proper technique but not many actually do so. A less talked about and more hidden aspect of learning the guitar is the ‘Efficiency of learning’.

So many guitarists waste weeks and months of their playing not being efficient. The difference this aspect can make over 5 or 10 years is staggering.

I have written about some of these such as ‘power burst learning’, ignoring bad advice,  using technology to help, which show you how to learn more efficiently.

Some of the above things I haven’t yet really gone into detail on but will do. You can and should bookmark this page as when there are posts that relate to the above this page will be updated.


All the successful and happy guitarists I know follow these 3 factors


All successful guitarists I have taught and come across who haven’t burnt themselves out or wasted a trillion hours of poor practice all follow these criteria.

Yes, you can be very successful if you only follow one or two of the above criteria but it will either take you longer or you will find the journey more frustrating.


Here are a few examples of guitarists who don’t do all three…

Example #1 – John

John learns with a laid-back attitude (#1) and efficiency of learning (#3) but doesn’t have any proper technique (#2). His playing is sloppy, sounds amateurish and not that enjoyable for him to play or listen to.

He makes progress but it is much more frustrating and takes much longer than it should. A lot of his progress is simply trial and error and isn’t based on any solid teaching methods or techniques.

In fact, he has never really learned anything about technique and only learns songs that are taught on YouTube.


Example #2 – Jane

Jane has proper technique (#2) and efficiency of learning (#3) but doesn’t have a laid back attitude (#1).

She is a very good player but not as good as she could be. She is very hard on herself and doesn’t enjoy too many moments of playing apart from those times she absolutely nails something.

As she is scared to perform until the pieces are perfect she has hardly ever performed and actually fears it a little.

This means she is missing out on the fun side of playing and is certainly a less happy (although talented) musician than she should be.

As this is the case, she may easily burn herself out and one day just give it up altogether.


Example #3 – Jules

Jules has a laid-back attitude (#1) and proper technique (#2) but his efficiency of learning (#3) is poor.

He plays about with lots of pieces hopping back and forth between YouTube tutorials (I call this ‘Scatterbrain learning’) and never really masters anything.

He can play well and loves his playing but he doesn’t have a solid set of 5 or 10 pieces he can play start to finish.

The things he learns takes him some time to digest as he learns in the standard way that most are taught and doesn’t focus on using any memory techniques and doesn’t apply the ‘Golden rules of learning’ amongst other things.


Teach yourself guitar better and find the best way to learn guitar for YOU

There you can see how three different guitarists can all be okay if they follow two of the above criteria but for maximum success and enjoyment, they need to follow all three.

The above students and the scenarios are based on real people that I have taught and played with over the years.

All three scenarios are pretty common BUT can be avoided with a bit of focus.

To be honest, unless I hammer it home to students, many often might not even follow two of the above criteria, with some just following one or in some cases none at all!

Unfortunately, this is not as uncommon as you would hope.

See the ‘best of’ page or browse this site for more articles that cover the three factors and implement the ideas into your playing today.



YOU are the one who has to control these three factors

As I have moaned about before, far too many guitar teachers don’t really teach guitar, they just teach people where to put their fingers for certain songs.

This only leads to frustrated players.

Not enough ‘teachers’ teach guitarists how to be happy, successful, and efficient which is what the three factors really boil down to.

I will always be creating resources to help you with all three but it is important you spend some time thinking about how you can improve all three factors within your own playing.

The truth is, the internet, YouTube and possibly your own guitar teacher (depending on how good he/she is) won’t address this.

You need to think about which of the three factors are strong, which ones are weak, and do your utmost to improve the weak ones while keeping the strong ones up to a high standard.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you too serious about learning?
  • Does your technique hold you back?
  • Do you waste valuable time not learning properly or efficiently?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, spend some time fixing these.

Browse this site, do some research, get a high-quality teacher, and most of all learn to identify and fix these factors.

If you do so you will be a better, happier and much more efficient guitarist.



Thomas Salzano – learn how to play guitar | Thomas Salzano | Thomas N Salzano | Thomas J Salzano
July 10, 2020 Reply

[…] the most essential factors in learning to play guitar is practicing. One major part of finding out how to play guitar is finger memory (electric motor […]

How to Trick Yourself to Play More – Guitar Domination
September 29, 2020 Reply

[…] Especially when it comes to playing the guitar more. […]

My Experience Of Buying A New Guitar (Plus Tips That Will Save You Money And Lots Of Time) – Dan Thorpe's Acoustic Guitar Domination
March 12, 2021 Reply

[…] Most of the guitarists actually buy or learn on guitars that are horribly unsuitable for them but for some reason, mostly lack of awareness, they take years to change them if they ever do. A good guitar that suits you helps you to learn faster. […]

Podcast #5 – The Critical Factors Of Learning Guitar Faster (Part 1) – Dan Thorpe's Acoustic Guitar Domination
March 12, 2021 Reply

[…] first mentioned the three critical factors in an important blog post so check that out if you haven’t […]

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.