How to Be a Better Guitar Player - The Smiling Heart

How to Be a Better Guitar Player

I started playing guitar when I was younger, well when I saying playing, I was more playing about with it than actively playing. Throughout my teen years I did much the same and despite being able to play a song or two to impress the girl, my abilities were extremely limited.

When my grandfather passed away he left me a beautiful guitar and I felt as though I should learn to play it well, in memory of him. My friend Elvis Dzebic – an apt name – had played guitar for years to a very high standard so I asked him to give me some hints and tips on how I could improve my playing skills. I thought I’d share with you what he told me so that you too could improve your skills.

Practice Practice Practice

You simply cannot expect to improve if you don’t practice and when I say practice, I don’t mean an hour or two per week, I mean an hour pr two every day. I read an interview recently with Slash who was saying that he has a genuine fear that if he doesn’t practice one day, then he well so all of his abilities. If Slash can put the hours of practice in despite his Worldwide fame and status as one of the greatest guitarists ever, then so can you.

Don’t Just Play Songs And Riffs

Something that I have been very guilty in the past is just learning individual songs and worse still, the riff on its own. I you want to truly improve your guitar playing ability then practicing riffs and songs is fine but you should also be dedicating some of your time to learning the art of guitar. Try to learn some blues scales, learn chords alone and how to change between them or try and learn new fingerpicking techniques. If you can master the art, then learning songs and riffs can be done with consummate ease.


It’s all well and good sitting in your room playing along to a popular song but you can never truly get an understanding of rhythm until you have played alongside someone else. If you have a friend who plays guitar then try to hook up with them for a jam session, take turns in playing lead and rhythm guitar parts and you will see your ability grow a great deal in a short space of time.

Play in Front of Others

I know that this one will scare the bejesus out of many of you but playing guitar in front of other people is a greta way to help you improve. If you aren’t a member of a band then have a look around for open mic nights where you can get up, play a song and get out. The beauty of an open mic night is that you are really judged negatively and the people around you will be able to give you some constructive criticism.