Episode 38 of the Bite-Size Guitar Podcast looks at the one thing you should work on if you want to become a better guitarist.
You’ve probably seen a lot of videos on YouTube with titles like that, but this episode takes a different approach.
Listen to the podcast using the below player or search for Bite-Size Guitar Podcast in any podcast app.
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If you don’t have a mental list of things you know you should be working (listen to the podcast to understand what I’m talking about), here are some guides to give you ideas:
- 16 Ways to Get Better at Guitar
- 8 Steps to Learn Guitar
- What is Ear Training
- Guitar Intervals Explained
- How to Memorize the Fretboard
- 5 Things to do Every Time You Practice
If you want to dig into more ideas on what you can work on to get better at guitar, check out this list of guides and articles.
Podcast Episode 38 Transcript
Hi, I’m Aaron from guitargearfinder.com and this is episode 38 of the Bite-Size Guitar podcast.
In this episode, I’ll talk about the one thing you should work on that will make you a better guitarist.
Now, you’ve probably seen articles, social media posts, or YouTube videos with titles like this. There’s a lot of videos on YouTube with headlines such as ‘the one secret to make you a master guitarist’ or ‘Do these five things to get better at guitar’ or something similar.
If you’ve seen videos or articles like that, the chances are you probably finished them a bit disappointed. A lot of these videos offer great advice, but the one secret or thing to do usually turns out to be something generic such as practice, something uninspiring such as changing your strings, or something else you already know you should work on.
The title for this episode probably sounds like clickbait like those countless videos on YouTube, but I’m not trying to clickbait you.
When I say there’s one thing you can work on to make you a better guitarist, I’m talking specifically about one thing that you should work on. Not something everybody should work on, I do mean something specifically you should work on.
There’s one specific thing that I should work on to get better, one thing Bob down the road should work on, and one thing you should work on.
Every guitarist has something that they should work on for them to get better. The challenge is that the one thing is different for each person and it also changes over time.
Last month the one thing for me was my strumming technique. This month the one thing is my economy picking technique.
The one thing you should work on to become a better guitarist is always changing depending on your current skills and what type of guitarist you want to be.
If you take a minute to think about the different things you know you should work on, you can probably easily think of five or more things.
You probably know you should work on improving your rhythm skills, tighten up your picking technique, or maybe work on your scales knowledge. You probably know you should spend some time with a metronome or work on some ear training, but you never seem to get around to it.
Every guitarist has a growing mental list of techniques, skills, and theory that they know they should work on, but never seem to get around to actually working on.
The challenge is that there are so many things you know you should be working on, you don’t know which to work on now and which to work on later. So we end up putting these things to the back of our minds and we continue working on what we always work on.
The reason all of those YouTube videos are so popular is because people hope that one of those videos will make the choice for them.
But none of those videos know what’s on your mental list of jobs to work on, so you’ll probably find that none of the videos give you the guidance you were hoping for.
My suggestion, which has worked well with my students over the years, is to first write down your mental list of things you know you should be working on.
Having a long list of these things in the back of your mind gets annoying after a while. When you sit down to practice, you don’t want to be thinking about all the things you know you should work on. You want to be able to focus completely on what you’ve chosen to work on. So free up your mind by writing all of those other things down.
Next, pick one of those things on the list to focus on completely for the next two weeks. Don’t bother trying to figure out which item on your list is the most important, because you’ll get stuck trying to choose something. Don’t try to order the list in any way.
Everything you wrote down on your list is important to you, so it doesn’t matter which one you work on first. The important thing is that you pick something.
It’s perfectly fine if you choose the quickest and easiest thing on the list to work on. Just pick something.
Once you pick something, that one thing turns into the one thing that will make you a better guitarist.
It doesn’t matter if the thing you choose is getting better at tuning your guitar or something as easy as changing the way you hold your pick. That one thing you choose is the most important thing for you over the next two weeks.
Once you write your list and pick an item to focus on, stick to that one thing over the next two weeks. Don’t do it for a couple of day and move on to the next thing on your list, spend two entire weeks working on it.
Make sure you work on that one thing at least once a day without fail. Even if you can only squeeze in five minutes’ worth of practice, spend the entire five minutes working on that one thing.
If you can stick to this for two weeks, you can decide whether you’re ready to cross that item off of your list, or whether you should spend another week working on it.
Every time I have done this with my students, I see a change in them. Most of the things they’ve had in their mental list has been on their mind for months or years. When they finally get to cross one of those things off of their list, it’s a big achievement.
Working on that one thing makes them a better guitarist, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. It makes them a better guitarist because they’ve finally worked on something they know they should be working on. That’s a big change in attitude.
Once they cross off one item from their list, it doesn’t take long before they have four or five items crossed off.
I’m sure all of this sounds a bit too basic, but it truly can have a big impact on the way you think about guitar and your progress.
It’s the things that we put off working on that are often the most important things we should work on. By writing a list of those things down and committing to work on one of them, that one thing you choose will make you a better guitarist.
Then once you cross that item off after two weeks of working on it, the next thing you choose from your list will be the one thing that makes you a better guitarist.
I don’t know what’s on your mental list right now, but I do know that you’ll be a better guitarist if you get around to working on those things.
So write those things down, pick one, then work on it.
If you don’t know what you should be working on, then those YouTube videos or articles on my website will help you work on what you should be working on. But I imagine everybody listening to this has at least a few things you know you should be working on.
If you do follow this advice and manage to cross something off of your list, let me know at guitargearfinder.com/podcast/episode-38
Write up your list today while this episode is still fresh in your mind and start working on the item you choose. Good luck and I’ll talk to you next time.