Quick Tip – Staring at your fretboard

One thing almost every guitarist does at some point in their career is become attached to staring at their fretboard while they play. This is bad stage presence, but it is easy to fix. Sometimes, especially when playing something hard, it is necessary to look, but do not make it a habit. Here is a quick tip to fix your habit of staring at your fretboard.

TIP – Go into a dark room, the darker the better. You should not be able to see anything. This may work best at night in a dark room, or a room without windows. You could even consider putting a bandana over your eyes. Whatever you do, make vision impossible.

Once you have limited your vision start practicing guitar. Practice things you already know. Practice playing scales and chords without vision. You may find that you keep hitting wrong notes, but that is alright. Listen to what you play, if it sounds wrong, keep trying. Eventually you will become comfortable with the feeling and you will be able to perform these tasks without looking at the guitar. This may take some time, but keep being persistent.

Once you are able to play without looking at the guitar, it boils down to noticing when you start to stare. Keep an eye out on your behavior once you start playing. When you recognize yourself looking when you do not need to, stop it. After awhile it will become normal and subconscious.

Good luck, and sign up for the mailing list to get more lessons.

Quick Tip For Building A Guitar Solo

A guitar solo is like building a house.

A guitar solo is like building a house.

Every good guitar solo has an outline. This outline could be done in many different ways, but this outline is fundamental to building a good solo. Building a good solo is like building a house. Lets take a look at the quick tip for building a guitar solo.

  1. Foundation. The first thing you need to do in your guitar solo is to create a foundation. This can be done using motives, or using a lot of space.
  2. Frame. This is where you start to build the shape of the solo. You can start to build the solo up using more notes or embellishing the motive you used in step 1.
  3. Walls. This is where your solo is actually in place. Listeners know what you are trying to say. They will comprehend your approach to the solo.
  4. The roof. this is the apex of the solo. You will play the fastest or most embellished part here. You can accomplish this by playing the highest note of the solo here.
  5. Furniture. This is where you bring the listener into comfort again. Bring the solo back down a little bit from the apex. You can still play cool ideas, or may revert back to a previous motif.

There are many ways to follow this outline, but you will notice that every great improviser knows this outline. This outline is usually for longer solos, sometimes a guitar solo is too short to use this outline. This can be used in any genre that you play. Best of luck, and sign up for the email list.

Quick tips for guitar speed




Are you trying to build up your speed? Here are 3 quick Tips to teach you how to quickly improve.


  • Stay relaxed. This is one of the most important things to gain speed. If you watch the Olympics and you see a sprinter running, are they flexing every muscle as they run? Bulging neck muscles do not provide the ability to run faster. The guitar is the same way. Stay loose and be relaxed. Over time, the fastest guitarists are the most relaxed.
  • Minimize movement. The more you move the slower you become. Keep your fingers close to the strings, keep your pick close to the strings. I often watch people play acoustic guitar, but while they strum their whole arm is swinging away using the full length of the arm. If you watch a professional guitarist however, you will notice that they barely move. The exception to this is to provide entertainment.
  • Utilize efficient picking habits. The hand that causes most difficulty in building speed is the pick hand. This can be improved by using a different picking style. Many guitarists learn how to alternate pick, and this is great, but there are other techniques that should not be avoided. Each picking style is useful and brings a slightly different sound. Some picking styles are also faster than others.

Use these tips and you will start to notice an increase in speed. If these are not already familiar to you, it may feel strange at first. Keep at it, this uncomfortable feeling means you are learning something new. Good luck and join the mailing list for more lessons!

Music History Study Sheet

History pic

When learning about music history, ask yourself these questions. This is not a complete list, it is meant to give you an idea how you can make history come to life. Some of these questions may seem irrelevant, but the goal is to be able to picture the person’s life. The more you understand, the more you realize that they were a real person, and you can imagine them talking to people. Try to complete this list for every musician you learn about.


When was the artist born?

What country did they live in?

Were their parents musicians?

What Instrument do they play?

Who did they study from?

What was their main source of income from?

What Ethnicity are they?

Is their voice high or low?

Do they have any diseases?

Are there any interesting side stories about them?

Who were their friends?

Were they known as being nice?

What were their most famous compositions?

If you had a conversation with them, what would they tell you?

Did they have any children?

Were they married?

What did their house look like?

What kind of clothing did they have?

What form of transportation did they use?

Did they ever accomplish anything outside of music?

Do they have any famous quotes?

What were their hobbies?

How did they die?

When did they die?

Are they well known today?


Feel free to add additional questions to this. The more questions you ask, the more you will remember. Print this sheet out and try it for yourself. Try to answer each question. Use books, internet, teachers or any other resource you can find. Have fun!

The Easiest Way to understand music theory

Written Music

Written Music

Music theory is usually one of the most difficult topics for people to learn. Today you will understand the easiest way to break down music theory to understand it the best way. It is easier than you think! There are only 4 categories in music theory. The first step is to identify which of these categories the theory you are learning belongs to.


  • Terminology

This might be the most difficult thing new musicians get confused by in theory. There are so many new words, many of which are not even English. If you identify what you are learning is a new word, it applies to this category. Terminology is used in all the following categories as well.


  • Chord theory

This category includes anything with more than 1 note played at a time.


  • Note Theory

This means anything that uses 1 note at a time.


  • Rhythm

This does not involve notes at all, but this is the study of time. Music takes place over a period of time. Rhythm is the study of how time is manipulated with patterns.


Each category can be explored to very deep levels, but it does not need to be confusing. Understanding how things work is not rocket science. People often make this more complicated than it needs to be.

The Easiest Way to Learn a New Song

Song Book

Song Book

Before anyone can learn to play the chords or melody to a song, they will need to know how the song goes. Unfortunately this is not the fastest thing to teach, but it definitely is not boring. Learning how a song goes is a skill that every musician will need to know. Professionals use this skill just as much as anyone else. So how can you learn this skill?

First let’s define what learning a song means. It is necessary to be able to hear the song internally before you will successfully be able to play it. It will be impossible to memorize a melody on the guitar if you don’t know how it goes. Try this test to see if you know a song: Sing the song out loud. Did you do it? Is there a part you couldn’t remember? Don’t worry about the words, just the sounds. If you need to learn a song better here is how you do it.

  • Pick a song you want to learn.
  • Listen to the song a lot. The more you listen to the song the better.
  • Sing or hum along with the music. I have found this to be the most important part to quickly ingrain a melody into your memory.
  • Repeat part 2 and 3 a lot. The harder the music you are trying to learn, the more you will need to do this. If you are a beginner learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you may not need to listen to it as much as a professional learning a difficult jazz transcription.


This is simple, and fun. You will learn more songs and you will be able to apply them to your instrument. Keep in mind that an instrument is an extension of your voice. If you cannot sing it, you cannot play it. Keep in mind, I did not say sing well!

The Easiest Way to learn Melodies

Do you want to learn more about guitar than open chords? The next step is to start learning some melodies. There are many different ways to learn melodies. I am going to give you two ways to learn melodies quickly.

  • Pick a song that you know well. The better you know the song, the easier you will learn a melody. The better you know the song, the longer you will remember it. This Is the most basic foundation to learn any song. Tomorrows post will be about learning a new song better.
  • Go on YouTube and look up a lesson for the song you are learning. You can look up “How to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on guitar”. There is pretty much a lesson for every song you will ever want to play in your entire career. This is an easy way to learn, because you can visually see someone’s hand and they tell you what they are playing.
  • Memorize the melody. This is the most important part of learning guitar. Everything you work on should make its way to your memory.
  • Practice it over and over. The more you practice it, the better you get at playing it. The more you repeat it, the better you will remember it years from now.


Here is the second approach to learning a melody. This approach is a little bit harder to learn at first, but will make learning faster in the future. This approach will also make it easier to reference a melody you once knew, but forgot.

  • Pick a song that you know well. This is for the same reason mentioned above.
  • Print off guitar tab for the song you want to learn. This is for two reasons. First: It is there for you to easily access while you are learning it. Second: Store it in a 3 ring binder with a paper protector so that you can keep it for years. You can see your progress and it will be a easy reference if you forget it.
  • Memorize the melody. This is for the same reason mentioned above.
  • Practice it over and over. This is for the same reason mentioned above.

As you see, the two approaches are very similar. These are both easy to do, and it will be fun. Enjoy!

The Easiest way to memorize open guitar strings

Howdy! Are you brand new to guitar? Are you a guitar teacher looking for the easiest way to teach beginning guitar ideas? Read over this blog post and check out some of the other posts in this series. Here are 3 tips to memorize the names of the strings on the guitar. If you follow these 3 tips you will memorize them quickly, and never forget them.


  • Memorize pneumonics.
  1. Easter bunny goes dancing at Easter (From high sounding string to low sounding string)
  2. Eat All Day Get Big Easy (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  3. Eat Apples Daily Grow Big Ears (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  4. Even Average Dogs Get Bones Eventually (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  5. Eleven Angry Donuts greet big Elephants (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  6. Elves Ate Dirt getting better ebooks (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  7. Elvis bit grannies dog after epilepsy (From high sounding string to low sounding string)

Make up your own as well. It does not need to be good, it can be crazy. To make this process faster, try running around your house screaming the pneumonic you choose to memorize. This will activate your adrenaline which will improve your memory and recall.

This is the easiest way to memorize open guitar strings. Try it, I promise you will see dramatic improvement quickly.

The Easiest Way to Master Open Chords

Guitar Chord

Guitar Chord

Students often wonder what the best way to learn open chords fast is. They may try many different methods, but often they miss the easiest and most enjoyable way. It is very easy and simple to do. If you apply this concept you will be learning and having fun at the same time. I will separate this into 5 categories to make it as simple as possible.

  • Pick a song you enjoy. Make sure the song is enjoyable, it can be any genre and any speed. It can be a new song or an old song. The more enjoyable the song is, the better you will learn.
  • Print off the chord chart. This is an important part of the process. Using electronics to read your music will make this more difficult. I encourage you to either use a music stand, or set it up in a way that is easy to read while holding your guitar.
  • Print off an open chord reference sheet. This will be important for many reasons including refreshing your memory, and learning new open chords when you do not know the correct fingering. Keep this near you when you practice in case you need to reference it.
  • Play it by yourself, and play it with a recording. Play it by yourself and enjoy it. You can sing the song, but you don’t have to. Just have fun and make some noise playing your favorite song. Playing by yourself is great, but also play it with the recording. Playing it with the recording will push your playing to the next level. It is also a lot of fun!
  • Memorize the song. You should eventually memorize the song you are learning to play. At first, it is fine to use music. You goal should be to know the song well enough to play without the reference. This will allow you to memorize the chords better, it will also allow you to play songs for your friends!

I want to give you one additional piece of advice that will give you a sense of improvement. It will also be a way to quickly reference the song in the future if you forget it.

  • Every song you finish memorizing, put it in a 3 ring binder with a sheet protector. This will protect the music for future reference. If you every have a chance to play in front of people it will be a quick and easy reference guide that you can use.

This is the easiest way to master open chords. You will see improvement quickly if you do this every day. You will have a lot of fun, and you will learn quickly. Isn’t that what music is all about?

The 10 Thousand Hour Rule

Guy Playing Guitar

A very popular theory brought up when talking about learning a new skill is the ten thousand hour rule. It states that for someone to reach mastery of a skill, they must put approximately ten thousand hours of practice into that skill. Some have come out and modified this theory to say that ten thousand hours is to reach proficiency, but to master a skill one must put approximately 20 thousand hours of practice into the skill. These numbers are more of a guideline than they are facts. For someone to become very good at a skill, they must practice a lot. Everyone is different, and everyone learns at different speeds.


What constitutes practice is debated. It seems that the definition of practice is uncertain in this theory. Some musicians advocate that listening to music counts as practice, while other musicians deny this statement. Some will argue that visualization is practice, while others will argue against it.


What are your thoughts on the ten thousand hour rule?