Assess your playing skills
You’ll get more out of any practice routine if you know which areas of your playing need most attention. Get started by taking an honest look…
1. Check you are playing in time
Choose a simple piece of music you know well and try playing in time with a metronome. Aim to synchronise onbeat notes with the click. If it doesn’t seem fully aligned, you may need to work on your timing. Slow down a little and try to feel the rhythmic pulse more tightly.
2. How clean are your chords?
Put your fingers in the wrong position and you’ll end up with annoying fret buzz, so aim to play most chords using the very tips of your fingers as close to each fret as possible. Barre chords, of course, need a flat finger. Keep your thumb roughly opposite your fingers for maximum strength.
3. Are you playing too fast?
You don’t have to be a shredder to want to play fast. We’ve all tried to play a song at full speed before we’ve fully learnt it, usually resulting in fluffed chord changes and solo lines that don’t quite link together. Play slowly to a metronome or drum beat and try to improve your speed by a small amount every day.
4. Check your Lead techniques
There’s always an optimum position for your hands to be in when you’re playing lead guitar. Make sure you’ve got the essential techniques sorted…
String bends For most first-, second- and third-finger bends place your thumb on the top side of the neck (sometimes called a ‘baseball bat grip’) for maximum strength. You may need to adjust position for fourth finger bends. Hammer-ons and...