When I was a younger player, one of the questions I often ask myself was
“Why am I bad at playing the guitar?”
And the common answer I got was that “I don’t practice enough”.
Well, while it’s true, its only partially true. I found that this partial truth has harmed me in my progress of playing better guitar. As I really love playing, the amount of time I practice wasn’t really the biggest issue.
I discovered the biggest issue was not knowing the real reason why I suck.
When I thought my bad playing was because of my lack of practice, I made it a point to practice more. The more I practice, the more I practice my bad playing habits rather than correcting it. You see, I invested more practice to reinforce all my bad playing habit.
In short, not knowing the real reason why I suck, has made me practice exactly what got me into the rut in the first place.
So there must be a better reasons why we suck. And we need to find out what it was quickly.
Not practicing is a symptom, not the cause of bad playing. Something deeper is at play here. Sadly I had to spend almost 20 years playing bad guitar to discover these top 5 BETTER REASONS why someone can suck at guitar:
- Because I focus on notes more than feel
- Because my guitar sets me up to fail
- Because I’m comparing myself to unreal gods
- Because my goal for playing is wrong
- Finally, because the guitar is really not my instrument.
With these ‘better’ reasons, I found these ways to avoid them (and hence free myself from practicing bad habits)
- Focus on feel and my ability to keep a beat. I play with a metronome
- Get a better guitar and/or make sure it is setup to play optimally
- Compare only to yourself. Focus on improving not envying other people’s playing.
- Set the right guitar playing goals that is personal to why you play.
- Quit guitar, and find something that is more an extension of you musically.
It’s sad to say that the last reason is there on the list. But the truth set us free to pursue a more suitable musical instrument for ourselves.
I have personally moved from guitar to harmonica, to piano, to bass and then to producing music before going back to guitar again. This journey is for another post altogether.
I will write on each of these topics in a 5 part series in the weeks to come and link the article above.
Until then, drop me a line for comments about practicing bad habits and stuff that prevents us from getting good at playing.
I love to hear what you think