Are You Stuck in a Guitar-Playing Rut?


Are You Stuck in a Guitar-Playing Rut?

Struggling to improve and find motivation? Here's how to break free from your rut and start making progress.

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Have you hit a plateau in your guitar playing and struggling to break through? Whether you're a beginner guitarist or you've been playing for years, it's not uncommon to hit a plateau in your progress.

You might find yourself playing the same chords and strumming patterns over and over, feeling like you're not making any real progress.

Sound familiar?

Feeling stuck with your guitar playing can be a total bummer, but don't fret (pun intended)! Luckily, there are ways to get back on track and reignite your motivation. Check out these tips to shake things up and start playing like a rockstar again.

How do you stop yourself getting bored when you practice your guitar? Let us know in the comments at the end!

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1. Fail to Plan, Prepare to Fail

You might be stuck because you don't have any specific guitar-playing goals in mind. Setting goals can help you focus your practice time and give you something to work towards. 

Your goals could be anything from learning a new song to mastering a particular technique or playing with other musicians. Write your goals down and break them down into smaller, achievable steps. This will help you track your progress and stay motivated.

2. Keep it Fresh

If you're feeling stuck playing the same chords and songs repeatedly, it's time to try something new. Challenge yourself to learn a new song, a new style of music, or a new technique.

You can find guitar lessons and tutorials online or sign up for a class or workshop. Learning something new will keep your practice sessions exciting and help you develop new skills.

3. Daily, Not Weekly

To hear impressive playing gains, consistency is key! Even if you only have a few minutes a day, try to make it a daily habit. Set aside a specific time each day for practice and make it a priority.

By being consistent, you'll build muscle memory and develop your skills faster than ever. And if you want to level up even more, try using a practice planner. It'll help you stay motivated and avoid getting sidetracked by social media.

4. Playing Technique Weak?

If you're not seeing progress on the guitar, it's possible that your technique needs work. Pay attention to the little things, like how you hold your guitar, hand position, and posture. You likely need to focus work on your picking or strumming technique.

When flatpicking (aka picking with a guitar pick), start by practising slowly, focusing on alternate picking, and gradually increasing your speed. You'll be amazed at how much of a difference good technique will make.

5. With a Little Help From My...

Playing with other musicians can be a great way to break out of a rut. Whether you join a band, attend an open mic night, or just jam with friends, playing with others will help you develop your skills and learn new things. You'll also get valuable feedback and encouragement from other musicians.

Further, you could join a music community or find like-minded individuals online who share your passion for guitar playing. This can be a great way to stay motivated and inspired to continue improving your guitar playing.

6. Step Away From The Guitar

If you're feeling burned out or frustrated, it might be time to take a break from your guitar. Sometimes stepping away for a few days or even a week can help you come back with fresh energy and a renewed passion for playing.

Use this time to recharge your batteries and focus on other things, and you'll be ready to dive back into your guitar playing when you return.

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7. Try Different Styles 

If you've been playing the same style of music for a while on your guitar, it's time to branch out and try something new. Experimenting with different types of music can help you learn new playing techniques and improve your overall playing. It can also help you strengthen your improvisation skills, which is essential for any musician who wants to find their own voice. 

Here are three ideas of hot guitar music styles you can try:

Blues Guitar:

Playing blues can help you develop your sense of rhythm, groove, and improvisation skills. You’ll also learn how to use scales, such as the minor pentatonic scale, chords, and licks to create expressive solos and riffs.

3 examples of blues guitar songs to get stuck into:

  • "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King - This iconic blues song features a relatively simple chord progression and a slow, soulful melody that's perfect for beginner and intermediate players alike.
  • "Key to the Highway" by Big Bill Broonzy - This classic blues standard features a simple chord progression and a catchy melody that's easy to learn. It's a great song to play at a jam session or with friends.
  • "Keep On" by Altered Five Blues Band - This song features a simple, catchy riff and a soulful vocal melody. It's a great example of how to use minimalism and dynamics to create a powerful blues sound.

Country Guitar:

If you like to play fingerstyle guitar on your acoustic, try learning some country or folk songs. These styles of music often use fingerstyle techniques, so this is a great way to improve your finger dexterity.

3 examples of country guitar songs that use fingerpicking:

  • "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels Band: This is a classic country song that is known for its fast and complex fingerpicking. If you're looking for a challenge, this is the song for you!
  • "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton - This song features a beautiful fingerpicking pattern that is both simple and captivating. It's a great choice for those looking to work on their fingerpicking technique while playing a modern country hit.
  • "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe: This is a classic country song that is often used as a fingerpicking exercise. The melody is simple but beautiful, and the fingerpicking pattern is fairly easy to learn. As always, you have to put in consistent, repetitious practice sessions.

Jazz Guitar:

If you want to level up your skills, try jazz guitar. Not only will you expand your music theory knowledge, but you'll also boost your ear training and sight-reading skills. With jazz, you can play around with complex chords, melodies, and rhythms and let your creativity flow.

  • "Minor Blues" by Pat Metheny - This song is a great example of using the minor blues scale in jazz. The guitar techniques used include bending, vibrato, and sliding.
  • "Little Sunflower" by Julian Lage - This song is a beautiful, melodic ballad with a simple, easy-to-learn guitar solo. It's a great example of how to play jazz guitar with sensitivity and emotion.
  • "Blue in Green" by Wes Montgomery - This song showcases playing with a jazz trio. The guitar techniques used include single note lines, chord comping, and rhythmic variations.

Summing it Up

In conclusion, feeling stuck in a guitar-playing rut can be frustrating, but solutions exist. Set goals, learn something new, practice consistently, focus on technique, play with others, and take a break when needed. With these tips, you can break out of your rut and start making progress again. Remember, the most important thing is to keep playing and having fun!