Want to carry on plodding away at learning guitar or would you rather know the secret to faster progress? When you look at the great guitarists playing do you think that there must be a secret that they are using? Well in my view you're right, there is a secret. There is a secret that they know and use everyday that I thought you would like to know. Well if you really want to know I'll tell you - its lots and lots of practice. Now OK, I know that's not what you wanted to hear but before you move swiftly on to see if anyone else has the magic pill, bear with me for a moment or two and I'll explain what's going on here and how you can use it to skyrocket your playing.
Let's go back to when you were a small child, when you were just born in fact and look at an analogy that I think will clear up a lot of frustration. I liken learning to play guitar to learning to talk. Think about it for a moment, when you were first born you couldn't speak a single word. You could yell at the top of your voice to let Mom or Dad know you needed feeding or changing but that was about it. What's more it didn't matter what language your parents spoke, you couldn't speak it at that age. However, by the time you were 5 years old you had mastered almost the entire structure of your language and thousands of words and phrases.
It didn't matter whether that language was Spanish, English, any of the Chinese dialects, Arabic, Jewish or any of the hundreds of languages on Earth. You developed that level of expertise by listening to your parents and copying what they said and how they said it, over and over again. In other words you practiced constantly until you perfected speaking your mother tongue. So practice is vitally important no matter what you try to achieve. There is an old saying that practice makes perfect and it is as true today as when it was first uttered.
If we look at some of the great guitar players we see that they were just totally dedicated to getting as good at playing the guitar as was humanly possible. Great players like Eric Clapton are so obsessed with playing that they practice continually. Eric was known to even practice at the bus stop! Tommy Emmanuel got his first guitar at age 4 and practiced so well that by the age of 6 he was touring with his family band, and by the age of 10 had played his way across Australia. Even though practicing is key, if we go back to our example we notice that we didn't learn to speak on our own. We didn't have to figure out what language our parents spoke and set about learning that by ourselves so we could talk to them. We had lots of our own people around us to listen to, to work on our speaking skills with and to encourage us to get better.
Tommy Emmanuel had his family to play with. His mother bought him his guitar at age 4 to accompany her while she played steel lap guitar. He was playing in a band almost since he was born. All great musicians start playing with other musos early on in their playing career. Practicing seems far less boring when you are playing along with other people. Today we are fortunate that with all of the modern technology available we don't have to miss out on this great experience of playing in a band if we don't have any fellow musicians around, we can use backing tracks.
Backing tracks are a great way to practice your skills with a live band feel any time you get even a few minutes to practice. They are basically tracks of music without the lead guitar but recorded with the drums, bass, keyboards and all the other instruments present in the original song. Some tracks also have the rhythm guitar while others leave it out to allow you to play rhythm yourself until you get better at playing lead. Practicing guitar on your own can be one of the most soul destroying things you can do. Guitar backing tracks are the modern secret that allows you to bring out the true guitarist inside you that is just waiting to get out and show what it can do. This is because these backing tracks don't make mistakes.
They are there over and over again to provide you with the support you need to try again to learn and master new skills. In many ways you feel that you don't want to let you new band down which encourages you to try again when without the band there you might just give up for today! Having a full band behind you with those backing tracks leaves you free to concentrate on creating better solo work for when you're on stage. By having a rhythm section behind you, with all the spots open for you to solo, you can practice and work on experimenting with improvisation and creating better and better solos. Being able to improvise is an extremely important technique for a guitarist to learn, and it takes a lot of practice.
But guitar backing tracks can help you to get the most out of your practice time as well as make it much more fun. The golden rule for practicing is to do at least 20 - 30 minutes every day. Developing a habit of practicing a little and often is far better than doing an hour or more once a week. Once you get used to working with backing tracks you'll find that whenever you get a few minutes you can be playing with a full band and not only getting a lot of pleasure but improving your ability faster than ever.
Trevor Greenfield has been marketing online for over 10 years and playing guitar for many more years than he cares to remember. Now he has found a way to combine both of these passions with the launch of Guitar Members. Guitar members has been specifically created for Guitar and Electric Bass Guitar players everywhere. At Guitar Members you will find biographies of the great guitar players, links to a host of guitar resources and tuition in every style. Members get access to a growing library of tuition that will build to cover every style of Guitar playing so that there will be something to suit your preferred style. Visit http://www.guitarmembers.com and see many more hints and tips to help skyrocket your guitar playing to the next level.