7 December 2011

Guitar Practice Tips - Learn Licks Easier and Faster

Here’s a guitar practice tip that will help you to learn licks and solos easier and faster.


Learning new licks or solos on the guitar can be a frustrating experience. Some licks or solos are just so hard to master that you think you'll never be able to learn and play them all the way through to the end.


Each time you practice the lick you get so far, but some tricky passage trips you up and you've lost the timing, the fingering, or the pick direction. You mess up. You go back to the beginning and start again... Each time this happens the pressure inside you builds up making it harder and harder to get through that barrier.


You seem to be stuck in a loop where you play the first part of the lick over and over but keep messing up somewhere in the middle. You need a change of process to get through the barrier…


Work Backwards

A process that I’ve found works well in these situations is to practice the lick or solo from the end. Instead of working from the first note to the last, I work backwards from the last to the first note.


It might sound strange but this process makes it easier to learn the lick. It takes away the pressure created by the barrier and somehow is more motivating because what I play always gets to the end of the lick.


Here’s how I do it. Take the last notes of the lick, start with just two or three notes, and learn to play them - right from the beginning you're through to the end of the lick. Try it and see how good that feels.


Once you've got those last notes down add a new note or two to before them and work through to the end again. Notice how this process puts you in control - it's you that chooses the notes you work on, not your fingers crashing somewhere in the middle of the lick. I think this is another reason why the process feels good.


Repeat this process – add a note or two at a time, play through to the end - until you get to the beginning and you've mastered the whole lick.



If you're struggling to get to the end of a lick without messing up, give this technique a try. You'll find it's very powerful. I find it works well for other things too - solos, chord progressions, songs and scales.

1 comment:

Creative Vacances said...

Great tips for beginners, but if you really want to get to grips with playing the guitar have a look at our week long beginners guitar workshop in France. www creativevacances.com. Its a great way to combine playing the guitar with a fantastic holiday experience.

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