– Hey guitar players, it’s Nate here and about a month ago, or
a little over a month ago, I did a video called 10
Ways To Get Better Faster on the guitar where I was
completely facetious and as absolutely sarcastic as I could be but you guys get that right? Anyway, in my defense it was April Fool’s, so I wanted to do kind of a
different version of this video where I give you 10 Actual
Ways To Get Better Faster on the guitar with no sarcasm, or at least almost no sarcasm. Number ten, timing,
timing, ti-, ti-, timing. No seriously, timing is one
of the most important things to sound good as a musician
and you may think your timing is great and if it is that’s awesome but do something, record
yourself to a metronome or drum track and listen back to it to see how good your timing really is and if you need to work on it. You might be surprised you know you could do some work on it. Or you might be horrified at how much work you need to put in. It took me a long time to realize how bad my timing was and unfortunately guitar players are kind of notorious for kind of ignoring this
aspect of their playing. So, don’t let that be you. I was humiliated on the first
day of jazz band in college when the director of
the jazz band called me I was like hey man you’re late, you need to really work on that. The good news is that there
are a really simple things that you can do to make your
timing a little bit better. The first five minutes of each practice session for like a month just do an exercise like
this, put a metronome on, and then just go through the rhythm tree, you know, with subdivisions. Start with the quarter notes. One, two, three, four. Eighth notes. One and two and three and four and triple it, triple
it, triple it, triple it. Twenty, and a twoey and a
threey and a foury and a. And then work your way back down and that’s gonna really
reveal some weak spots and help you get your timing in shape very fast if you are consistent with it. Number nine, consistent
and smart practice. By smart practice, I mean practice that is specific, measurable, attainable,
realistic and time based. Being consistent with your
practice and setting smart goals is one of the biggest keys
to getting better faster. And if you only practice like once a week, once or twice a week, for
like three or four hours that’s like going to the gym only once a month and doing leg day. It’s gonna be painful and
it’s gonna be frustrating, and it’s gonna hurt and you’re not gonna see the progress that you want to. So being consistent, maybe
five or six times a week with even smaller little
chunks of practice throughout the day can
be really effective. And as far as though smart goals go, make little bitty things
that you wanna do. Get very specific with
what you want to accomplish on the guitar and set a deadline
for when you want to have that done by and this can be flexible and it should be flexible
cause once you reach a goal you should you know kind of revaluate where you want to go
and set some new ones. Number eight, learn songs. Have you ever been in a situation where somebody’s like oh you play
guitar, play me something. You know, what song can you play me? And you just look at them like
I don’t know what to play. I’m just drawing a blank. I have definitely been
in situations like that and one way out of that is to work in learning songs into your practice routine, your smart goals that
we were talking about. It doesn’t matter if its
cover songs, original songs, or you’re just improvising
over chord progressions, things like that, the
important thing is to apply all of the things you work on,
you know, technique, chords, strumming, music theory, to
real music that gives you context and a reason for
working on all that stuff. Number seven, practice
melody lines and phrasing. One sure fire way to make
your lead guitar playing, sound like you’re playing
up and down scales is to do nothing but practice up and down scales all the time. So, there are a couple of different things you can do to kind of
get yourself out of that. Number one, sing a melody and try to re-recreate it on your guitar. That’s the first way. Something like this. (humming tunes) (guitar notes) (humming notes) (guitar notes) (humming notes) (guitar notes) So, just improvising like that, making up melodies out of your head, or even you know taking a jingle or a song that you hear on the radio and singing that melody and
trying to play that too. Let’s see what’s a good song. – [Male Voice] Do Game of Thrones. (humming Game of Thrones intro music) (guitar music) (humming Game of Thrones intro song) (guitar notes) – There you go. So like Game of Thrones right. (guitar music) Don’t get me wrong learning
how to play through scales and scale shapes is important for getting your technique down, just getting the basic shape down, but getting that sense of melody in there and a way actually to use
the scales is very important. Number six, don’t
practice through mistakes. This is a really tough one to implement. It takes a lot of discipline but when you’re practicing something, don’t just make a mistake
and kind of gloss through it and say this’ll fix itself. I don’t have to worry about it. What happens when you do that is you program in things that are incorrect. If you take your time,
slow things way down, and play them to where you’re
not making any mistakes, you’re programming it in correctly and that will save you years
of time in the long run and it will keep you from going back and having to correct mistakes or bad habits that you have as well. Number five, play with other people and it can be anything from
jamming with a friend on guitar to, you know, getting
together with a few buddies and playing in a band
setting, playing at church, playing with a piano
player or bass player, or even going to an open mic. The important thing is that you start playing actual music with people and this is going to do
a couple things for you, it’s gonna help push you,
it’s gonna help you set goals, learn songs and it’s gonna give you a gage to see how you’re doing, you know your actual
progress on the guitar. Another really great advantage of this is hanging out with other
musicians that are better than you is one of the best ways
in the world to get faster and motivate yourself too. Number four, tune your guitar often. And this may not sound
like a tip that’s relevant to getting better faster on the guitar but it is really the first step to sounding good as a guitar player. If your guitar is out of tune, you can hit some open strings
and it won’t sound good. If it is in tune, it sounds great. And tuning your guitar
with an intentional ear is a great way to do some you
know basic ear training too. Number three, don’t depend on
your gear to make you better. Often times, and I’m super guilty of this, we’ll fall into the trap of
buying a new piece of gear to motivate us to practice more and then once the newness of
that piece of gear has worn off then we’re back in the
same spot we were in. Don’t depend on your gear to motivate you to
practice or to get better. What you needed to do is depend
on that practice routine, that effective practice routine, that you set up to see progress. And if you’re not getting better, it’s not your gears
fault, it’s your fault. Number two, learn the names
of the notes on the fret board and this may seem like a monumental task but if you take a little bit at a time, five minutes a day at the beginning of each practice session, just one string a week,
something like that, you will be able to memorize
all the notes on a fret board. And Joe Satriana, when I
was at one of his camps, said if you don’t know
all the names of the notes on a fret board cold then
you’re kidding yourself. Ever since then, I took it seriously. Really buckled down and learning
the notes on the fret board really changed the way I play
and the way I view the guitar. Number one, learn some basic music theory and I’m not saying that
you have to be an expert in jazz music theory but I
am saying that learning how music works a little bit, will help you learn songs faster and learn songs when you’re
not even around your guitar, which is really awesome. A good start for this is to
just learn how major keys work, how chords are built, and
how progressions work, that’ll go a long way. And once you get those basics down, you can either continue
learning music theory or you can say you know what, I know enough I just want to go jam. And one bonus one for you, do
a little bit of ear training. I’m not saying that you
have to be a music major and lock yourself away in a practice room until you can hear
paint dry and grass grow but I am saying that doing
some basic ear training will help you learn songs faster, and it’ll help your rhythm
and your lead guitar playing. The cool thing is it
doesn’t take a whole lot to start getting into this. Let me show you a quick
example or an exercise that you can use everyday
to get this started. If you know a major scale
shape, all you have to do, (guitar playing) is start on the one
and sing along with it. Just go, one, two, one. One, three, one. One, four, one. One, five, one. One, six, one. One, seven, one. One, one, one. That’s gonna start to train your ear to be able to hear the root note or the tonic of whatever key you’re in. And then hear the intervals
to the common chords that occur naturally in that key. So, it’s gonna help you pick out chord progressions and melodies too. Let me just say that I
don’t always implement all of these tips in my practice time. If I did, I would be a much better guitar player now than I actually am. So, just keep that in
mind as you move forward with your practice routine or whatever it is that you are working on. Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to like and subscribe and leave your biggest
tips below for getting better, faster on the guitar. Thanks. (whistling music)