3 Guitar Practice Myths That Slow Down Your Musical Progress

By Mike Philippov

To become a good guitar player quickly, you must make your guitar practice as effective as possible. Effective guitar practice is about:

  • Knowing what to do to improve your guitar playing quickly
  • Staying away from common guitar practice myths and mistakes that slow down your progress and make you frustrated.

Avoid these guitar practice myths that slow down your progress:

Myth #1. You Need A Lot Of Time To Practice To Become A Good Guitar Player.

Reality: You can make a lot of progress even when your guitar practice time is very limited. Quality of your guitar practice is much more important than quantity.

Do the best you can with the practice time you have. Your guitar practice efforts accumulate over time and make you a much better guitar player.

This video explains how to practice guitar effectively even if your practice time is limited:

Myth #2. Practicing Electric Guitar With Distortion Masks Your Mistakes.

Reality: The exact opposite is true. Distortion doesn’t hide mistakes – it exposes them. Clean tone makes open string noise harder to notice and fix. Clean tone also masks sloppiness caused by strings bleeding (ringing) together. (This is a common problem in sweep picking arpeggios.)

Practicing with distortion makes sloppy mistakes much more obvious and forces you to focus on them during your guitar practice. You also need to get used to playing with the sound you will use during real-life guitar playing.

This video shows why practicing guitar with distortion helps to make your guitar playing much cleaner:

Note: Playing guitar with distortion does mask inconsistencies in your articulation. Practice about 80% of your time with distortion and 20% of your time unplugged to make your picking articulation powerful and consistent. Unplugged guitar practice forces you to pick the notes harder and strengthens your pick attack.

Myth #3. You Need Specific Finger Independence Exercises To Master Fretting Hand Technique. 

Reality: Finger independence exercises don’t make your fingers more independent. Your guitar practice habits and effective guitar practice methods do.

This video explains how to practice to master finger independence in your fretting hand:

You can train your fingers to move efficiently and be independent with any exercise. You do this by:

  • Focusing on effective biomechanics in your fretting hand. Examples include: keeping your thumb pointing up at the ceiling (and aligned with your middle finger), fretting notes using the finger tips (instead of the pads of the fingers) and minimizing reaction from the fingers that aren’t playing any notes.
  • Optimizing unwanted muscle tension. Tension is a killer of guitar technique progress. You need to know how to detect tension in parts of the body that should be relaxed and let go of it.
  • Focusing on using the most efficient technique when you practice guitar. Your mind is your primary guitar practice tool. Your ability to focus determines how effective your guitar practice is and how quickly you progress towards your goals.

Applying these guitar practice tips helps you become a better guitarist even when your practice time is limited.

About the author: Mike Philippov is a guitar player and teacher in electric rock, metal and progressive metal styles. He specializes in training guitar players how to practice guitar correctly.

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