TOP 10 GUITAR LESSONS MYTH #4 | Practice Makes Perfect — FALSE!
We’ve all heard the statement “practice makes perfect” and it sounds really clever and really accurate and seems to make logical sense so we take it for granted that it is so. But there’s actually a fundamental flaw in going around telling everyone this. And that is: you can practice from sun up till sun down every day and if you don’t have crucial correct information about the techniques and approaches that the artist is using, it’s not going to help you one bit! I spent a lot of time in guitar lessons stressing this laying the groundwork and the right foundation for students. You have to have that concrete foundation built before you start to build a mansion on top of it – Mud is not going to cut it!!! You can be Frank Lloyd Wright building the most magnificent building but if the foundation is not going to hold up, you are wasting your time. I go through examples on the video with John Mellencamp and Randy Rhodes and of course there are countless others. You need to know how chords are fingered and scales are fingered and the approach that is going into this because you can have something that works great in another song that is totally non-applicable to either playing the song up to tempo or getting the sound the artist does. I really cannot stress this enough: get the correct guitar information and the right approach before you spend lots of time trying to perfect something.
Imagine if you are a brain surgeon and have to do very delicate surgery but the only thing available to you is a big gilette razor: it’s not gonna matter how much you practice or try to successfully hone the skill of doing the task that’s necessary. The fact of the matter is that you have chosen the wrong tool for the job. Now that razor might be great if you need a close shave for the day, the analogy being a completely different song. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to translate to the new song you’ve chosen, so do your homework, get a qualified guitar instructor who knows the material you’re trying to do to walk you through it. Time and money spent up from getting the right information with the right preparation before practicing all day long in your room will repay itself many times over and get you where you want to go much quicker.
Play it your way.
The Cypher Way
Rock on — Jimmy Cypher
Guitar coach Jimmy Cypher explains the common mistakes and myths that prevent students from reaching their true potential. Watching your favorite players perform, viewing instructional content (books, videos, classes etc.) is not enough! As many students have discovered, you can have all the correct information and all the best players… yet the skill set to play modern popular guitar at the elite level STILL remains elusive. Why? It is only when these underlying “paradigms” and social conditioning are changed that aspiring guitar players can become the best… at being themselves!
TOP 10 GUITAR LESSONS MYTHS #3 | “In order to learn electric guitar, I must first learn to play Acoustic guitar.” — FALSE!
I really don’t know who came up with this: maybe the outlaw devil music Wing of some fundamentalist church or classical conservatories stuck in the 19th century, to steer people away from steel string guitar thereby not bastardizing nylon string I really don’t know.
But as you can see in the link to the Eddie Van Halen article I’ve included here, this is probably the dumbest thing in guitar lessons I’ve ever heard of. You can start to appreciate the absurdity of this by putting blanks in that sentence and replacing guitar with other instruments:
“In order to play the saxophone I must first learn the Tuba. “
Well ummm… they’re both wind instruments, I’ll give them that so you do blow on them and so forth but I would think they’re going to diverge pretty quickly and so too is electric and acoustic guitar. Yes they have similarities and I play both as many musicians to do, but that doesn’t mean that you should be browbeat into substituting one for the other just because someone doesn’t want to teach you hard rock and heavy metal. Which let’s be honest: that’s usually what it’s all about: steering students away from that evil devil music right?!?! Yes, you have Metallica and the Scorpions playing with classical symphonies now but at the local guitar lessons studio level, you STILL hear this… in the 21st century! So what does Eddie Van Halen – one of the greatest musicians ever to pick up an electric guitar say:
I really can’t put it any simpler than that on and this is usually the direction of the Senetece: you don’t really hear metal players trying to talk people out of playing acoustic; always the other way around! I’m not sure where this guitar lessons urban legend started but I think we all have an idea here. Certain techniques many of which are outlined in my video so please watch it… they just don’t translate from one instrument to the other, acoustic versus electric they have some similarity and it’s great play both. But the best way to become a great electric player is to spend your time on electric; the best way to become a great acoustic player is to spend your time on acoustic.
Would you tell someone that was trying out for the Olympics for 400 meter sprint that what they really should do is spend their time in the gym power lifting or running marathons all the time instead of running 400 m sprints?!?! This is so obvious when you take it out of the guitar context that we’re so used to hearing. Don’t be beat over the head with that. Like the US Constitution says: “we hold these truths to be self evident.”And so my advice to all aspiring guitar players when you go to guitar lessons : do not be talked out of playing the instrument you want to play if someone tells you to play something else walk out and find somebody who will teach you what you want to know.
Top 10 Guitar Lessons Myths #2: Playing Fast is the Hardest Thing to Learn | FALSE!
Top 10 guitar lesson myths number two: playing fast is the hardest thing to learn and that’s where I should spend most of my time. This is actually false: learning the correct technique in guitar lessons slowly is where you spend most of your time and scale it up from there.
Practicing the wrong technique may get you playing initially somewhat faster than you could if you were to play correctly however you will hit a glass ceiling with speed very quickly. When this happens, you won’t be able to play any faster, and won’t be able to play up the tempo of the song you’re trying to do… and then you will have to start over and retroactively work backwards. Undoing bad technique is way way harder – 10 times harder – than doing it correctly the first time. Believe me I know I’ve had to retroactively reproduce songs that were done badly by EDM producers with outdated sound design!
As a guitar teacher in the early 2000s, I would get a lot of classic rock and blues players in successful cover bands who would come to me because the 80s metal tunes were beginning to hit the twenty-year nostalgia point and audiences were requesting them. And so the classic rock blues bands are starting to get a lot of requests for Van Halen and Randy Rhodes and Ratt lot of the technical bands of that era.
These were very, very good, very accomplished blues players but they were three finger players and they didn’t know that in order to play these artists that I just mentioned they would need four finger technique because a lot of the 80s solos were based on seven notes scales. So I would have to tell these very accomplished players that their technique was actually all wrong for what they were trying to do. It was great for a play minor Pentatonics but not effective for playing seven note diatonic or melodic scales such as the major and minor scale. I watched very accomplished players in the classic rock and blues domain have to start from scratch in guitar instruction and undo all of these things and then start back over. Not a very fun place to be! You want to learn how to do this right the first time and play the correct technique.
One artist who has a lot to say about this in interviews this Kirk Hammet who is really adamant about playing slow and also playing clean for metal players. They want to turn up the gain and the delay and the reverb and those are really cool sounds, I use them all the time. But you don’t want to learn to play that way! One of the best things that happened to me was when my whammy bar system on my Steinberger Epiphone spotlight broke I had to convert it to a fixed bridge. And that’s what made me really a good guitar player was not being able to hide behind the whammy bar or effects. One of the things I stress in metal guitar lessons :If you do play distorted, play completely dry: no reverb, no delay, nothing really. So you can hear how you really sound. As the saying goes: “garbage in, garbage out” and you want to understand the correct technique to use from the very beginning.
Play it right, play it slow. The speed will come and often quite easily!