How often do you spend time on the fundamentals of playing guitar?
Some people are great at doing this.
Others don’t do enough of it.
…But one important thing to remember is that the ‘best of the best’ usually have true mastery over the basics.
…And even after they’ve got to a high level, many pro guitarists still strive to keep improving their fundamentals.
- Jimi Hendrix would practise late into the night, going deep down the rabbit holes within his playing.
- Tommy Emmanuel frequently talks about the importance of using a metronome (saying “Without a groove, no one moves” – great quote).
- Robert Fripp from King Crimson (who also played with David Bowie) still spends hours a day with a click.
In his autobiography, Eric Clapton said this about his time learning :
“All the time I was working on my playing, sometimes almost driving my family mad with the repetitiveness of my practising.”
It’s not just the greats of guitar playing who have long had this desire to fine-tune all the details, every single day.
Sports stars do it too.
Legend has it that Michael Jordan would do countless drills of the core fundamentals every single day. Things like throwing free throws, dribbling, etc. He would work on these and not all the fancy stuff. He knew it was the fundamentals that made him the player he was.
Actors as well.
I heard recently that Yul Brynner performed the lead role in The King and I more times than anyone else on stage (4,625 times!). Yet, despite performing it countless times, every day he would be in his dressing room, practising the lines again and again with absolute focus.
Practice doesn’t make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect.
…And it all comes down to the fundamentals.
The fundamentals are 90% of the game.
Anyway, I hope that was a helpful reminder.
For more help with exactly what to practise, including a clear plan, fun songs, and highly motivating lessons, you might want to check out the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.
If you join before midnight tonight, I’ll send you a free paperback copy of my 13 Ways to Escape the Acoustic Asylum book.
Not only that, you also get my Guitarists Get Theory book sent to you too.
Both of these books will help you fully understand the fundamentals and have more fun while you do so.
The physical copies of these books are not for sale anywhere.
Have a great day of practice!
P.S. As a polite reminder, here are just a few things you’ll find inside the 13 Ways to Escape the Acoustic Asylum book:
How to play a stunning arrangement of “Scarborough Fair”, which requires no chords or tough stretches (I’ve never taught this arrangement anywhere else before).
A super fun and easy-to-play blues riff you can learn in minutes without tearing your hair out!
Why it’s essential to use the key elements of classical technique, even if you only ever want to learn non-classical songs.
A super fun and famous melody that has been used in countless dramatic movie scenes (and even cartoons) over the years and is great fun to play.
A super useful exercise inspired by Clapton, Knopfler, and Gilmour that will end the most frustrating mistake beginners struggle with.
A message to “de-code” from the “Gatekeeper”, which is a fun way of testing your guitar skills (get a prize for un-coding this).
…Plus more, including why the “first rule” of the Acoustic Asylum is key to increasing your motivation, how to avoid the deadly mistake most people make when learning songs, and the 13th tip, which will help you see real progress every single day.
The 13 lessons in the book are a mix of old and new from me.
If you have my other books and courses, you may see a little crossover between the lessons in this book and those, but that is a good thing in many ways…That’s because having frequent reminders of the basics is important to your success (plus the new stuff in this book is a lot of fun).
Get this until midnight tonight here…
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.