by Tom Hess

What is the biggest thing that keeps you from becoming a great guitarist? It’s NOT trying to play challenging techniques, playing with greater speed, understanding music theory or any other music related factors. Truth is, being able to play guitar well is not extremely hard - anyone can do it. The real obstacle (that blocks most guitarists’ path to greatness) is not being serious enough to do exactly what needs to be done to accomplish their guitar playing goals.

Envision all the goals you want to achieve to become a great guitarist as a massive mountain standing before you. Right now, you are standing at the bottom (or somewhere in the middle) and you want to climb to the top. As you gaze up to the peak of the mountain, it can be overwhelming, frustrating and sometimes even a bit scary. However, you will never climb to the summit (and become a great guitar player) by only focusing on how high the mountain is. Instead, you need to see each of the steps as part of a staircase. You must:

1. Know each step that will take you to your greatest musical goals

2. Achieve one step after the other until you have reached the top of the mountain

To do this, you have to answer one question:

Do You Want To Become A Great Guitarist Bad Enough?

Being aware of the best steps to take, and completing those steps one at a time will lead you down the path of success... but to pursue and achieve musical greatness, you’ve got to want it BAD ENOUGH. So what does “wanting it bad enough” refer to exactly? To begin with, it definitely does NOT refer to practicing guitar for 5+ hours every day (something that is not at all required for becoming a great guitarist).

Here is what wanting it bad enough really means: “Choosing what really matters”... Choosing to do what is best for reaching your goals and not fabricating excuses for why you think you can’t accomplish them (more on this below). You also need to make better choices with how you utilize whatever available time you DO have. When your friends are out partying, watching videos online, or watching pointless TV shows, you should be realizing your dreams, becoming the great guitarist that you deserve to be!

Change Your Guitar Practicing Mentality From “I’d Like To” To “I AM”

The overwhelming population of the guitar playing community never becomes great because they use a mindset that is focused on what they would like to do rather than the act of actually doing it. This is a common symptom of NOT “wanting it bad enough”. For instance, have you ever thought or felt the following:

-I'd like to learn how to practice guitar effectively to reach my musical goals, but I don't have enough energy or the time to do it

-I'd like to wake up early in the morning to get extra guitar practice time, but it’s too hard

-I'd like to take lessons with the world's best guitar teacher, but I don't have the funds available to do so

-I'd like to be coached for success by the greatest guitar trainer, but I don't have the time, or I’m intimidated

-I'd like to develop more disciplined guitar practicing, but it's difficult

-I'd like to become a great guitar player fast, but I’m unsure if it’s possible

It’s not too hard to see that actually DOING all the things in this list (vs. simply stating that “you’d like” to do them) will greatly speed up your progress towards becoming a great guitarist.

By the same token, it’s clear that telling yourself you’d like to do something rather than actually DOING it, you are making yourself vulnerable to excuses. This means that over time you will slowly let mediocrity seep into your guitar playing and will struggle to make any progress. There’s a quote that says “A man who really wants something, will find a way to get it... a man who doesn't want something, will find an excuse.” Excuses are the END of your guitar playing progress!

On the bright side, it’s pretty easy to turn this around. It all starts with the basic process of imagining what could happen to your guitar playing if you replaced the “I’d like” part in the list above with “I AM”. Go through this right now by reading the list below out loud. Don’t merely read in your mind... actually say it out loud:

-I AM learning how to practice guitar effectively to reach my musical goals

-I AM waking up early in the morning to get extra guitar practice time

-I AM taking lessons with the world's best guitar teacher

-I AM being coached for success by the greatest guitar trainer

-I AM developing more disciplined guitar practicing

-I AM becoming a great guitar player fast

…now, picture how your guitar playing would be right now if everything above was true for you on a regular basis. Picture how much more progress you’d be making and how much more you would be enjoying the process of achieving your goals if you could truly say “Yes” to the items in the list above. Take just a few moments and think about it...

Now, guess what: these statements truly CAN become your reality. This starts with:

Choosing What Matters Most

To bridge the gap between “I’d like to” and “I AM” you must say: “I CHOOSE…”

Reality is, people who became great guitarists did so by “choice”. As you read above, discovering the correct things to practice isn’t a big challenge - anyone can do this (read this to find out more about what goes into realizing your musical goals). The MAIN difference between awesome guitarists and okay guitarists is the CHOICE they make to achieve greatness. This choice is the product of their “bad enough” need to attain their goals, mixed with the important reasons behind their musical goals. Rather than allowing excuses to take over your mindset, challenge yourself to CHOOSE excellence.

To do this on a consistent basis, exchange the excuse for NOT doing something, with a strong reason TO do it. It’s that simple. Complete this exercise: go through the list below and read it aloud once more, and this time finish the part that comes after the word “because” with a strong reason you have for wanting to take this action.

- I CHOOSE to learn how to practice guitar effectively, because…

- I CHOOSE to wake up early in the morning to practice guitar, because…

- I CHOOSE to learn from and be trained by the best guitar teacher, coach and trainer, because…

- I CHOOSE to be disciplined in my practice, because…

- I CHOOSE to DEMAND greatness in my guitar playing, because…

- I CHOOSE to control my own destiny, because…

Once you exchange “excuses” with “strong enough reasons” that you want bad enough, things will become much more easy. Strong reasons are what powers your decisions and makes you take actions to reach specific objectives. So whenever all your friends are noodling around on guitar, mindlessly playing the same licks over and over (instead of truly practicing), taking naps or playing games, you will be investing work into your playing, one step at a time, to realize your dream and become a truly great guitarist.

Success Leads To More Success

While wanting greatness bad enough is the initial step needed to truly become a great guitar player fast, you create true long-term desire for practice by taking one positive action after the other. While keeping a close eye on your greatest guitar playing goals, pay attention to feeling of achievement you feel after completing even a small step towards greatness. Maybe you just finished practicing intensely for several hours or simply woke up early in the morning so you could practice before going to school or work... THIS is what will give you the motivation needed to continue on the same path tomorrow and the day after that. As you consistently take action, what you do will compound upon itself and you will eventually transform into the great guitarist you want to become. Keep focusing on how great each action along the way makes you feel and you will become more motivated to feel this way every day.

Now that you have read this article, do you want to become a great guitarist bad enough? Don’t be just like most other guitarists who only want it a little (but never achieve it)... you are much better than that and you deserve better too!

Getting started down the road to becoming a great guitarist is simultaneously the most difficult and easy part... Get things going now by doing something to achieve a quick, small victory. Choose what matters and take action to head down the path to greatness!

Take online rock and metal guitar lessons and reach your guitar playing goals faster than ever.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional touring musician, composer and successful rock/metal guitar teacher. He helps guitarists around the world learn to play guitar online. On his website, you can find guitar playing tips, free guitar resources and more guitar articles.