by Tom Hess
Are you serious about becoming a great guitarist? As a person who has invested tons of time into becoming a great guitar player, I get a lot of pleasure helping others fulfill their full potential to reach greatness. After decades of experience helping guitarists attain excellent guitar skills, I have pieced together the five main keys for guitar playing greatness. Become a great guitarist by reading through this article, learning about each one and implementing the information you learn.
The 1st key to becoming a great guitarist is the simplest one to get. Actually, it requires no effort at all. This is because you already possess it. The first key is having the ‘potential’ to achieve greatness. In fact, everyone possesses this key. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a guitar player who cannot become great because he/she was not born with ‘natural talent’. I’ve seen this misconception proven wrong every single time I’ve trained guitarists with average/little talent to transform themselves into incredible players.
The bottom line is: no matter who you are, you possess the potential for greatness. That said, you will NOT become a great guitarist until you identify and accept the fact that you ‘do’ possess this potential. If you do not believe this, you will consistently fall short of your musical goals and blame other outside factors for your lack of greatness.
Whether you think you CAN or CAN’T become great, you are right! After continually accepting certain thoughts and ideas, they become your reality. With this in mind, I have never come across a guitar player who truly aspires to be ‘merely average’ at best. Additionally, I know that YOU want to achieve much more than mediocrity… you want to achieve greatness. I know this because you are reading this article right now about becoming a great guitar player.
So this is a summary of what we know so far:
1. Everyone already has the potential to achieve greatness.
2. You become what you believe.
3. Every guitarist wants to become great.
That being said, why do so many guitar players FAIL to become great? The answer lies in their inability to attain the remaining four keys for reaching greatness. Although most people fall short in one or more of these areas, anyone (including you) can conquer them all. If any voice just popped into your head saying something similar to this: “… my scenario is different… Tom, I can’t become great”, I give you full authorization to tell that voice to shut up! Why? Because your situation is NOT different… Of course, you are your own unique person, but you are not so different from everyone else that the following principles are not applicable to you.
The 2nd key: To begin with, it is extremely likely that you have never even been subjected to an exact definition of musical greatness… First of all – before the thought even crosses your mind – No, being great has nothing to do with being able to shred on guitar, understand the theory behind how music works or develop your own musical style. Although you may have heard the opinion of many others about what makes a guitarist truly ‘great’, fact is these people are probably not qualified to put forward strong statements about greatness. To understand what true greatness is, you need to look at it from a foundational and base level.
You need someone to take you aside and say, “This is what greatness looks like while implementing the things you learn about playing guitar, making music or improvising.” “This is what it looks like to be great in the way you learn things, how you learn them, the specific things you learn and the exact order that you learn the things you want to master.” “Here is what greatness looks like in the context of total self-expression as a guitarist and musician.” “Here is what true greatness looks like while organizing your practice time to effectively reach your guitar playing goals.” “This is what it means to be great in the context of staying mentally focused while training and how this approach differs from regular practice.” “This is what it looks like to achieve greatness when you are doing everything in the right order, at the right time and becoming highly-proficient in all areas.” The point is that ‘musical greatness’ isn’t just a single thing – it is the result of having greatness in every step you take through the process of becoming a great musician. You must learn what it looks/feels like as you go through the process of reaching greatness within yourself.
The 3rd key: You must totally understand (with 100% clarity) the things you want to achieve as a guitar player and musician. If you do not understand these things in ‘great detail’, how will you ever accomplish them? It would be like thinking to yourself, “I want to get my mom a present for her birthday, but I have no idea what she wants or what to get for her. I’m not sure if she wants candles, pictures, a card, a nice blouse, a fishing pole or… a power drill.” So the day before her birthday you go up to the mall and walk around for hours until finally you settle for some lame present. Then her birthday arrives and the whole family is there at the dinner table when your mom opens your present… a 15 dollar gift card to a fast food restaurant (that she doesn’t even like).
Now, returning to music – If you are unsure about what you want from your guitar playing, how will you know the correct road to take, the best things to study and the most effective strategies to use? You must know EXACTLY what you want to achieve first because this is what determines every decision you make and action you take.
The 4th key: For the small percentage of guitarists who truly understand what greatness looks like as described above, and have determined what they seek to accomplish as well as the road that will get them there, there exists another challenge to overcome.
The truth is, the overwhelming majority of guitar players out there do not believe in themselves, lack confidence, and don’t think they have the capacity to dedicate themselves to truly achieving greatness.
So instead of achieving greatness, they give up and return to the habit of always taking the path of least resistance. As a result, they only are able to achieve mediocre results and end up feeling disappointed in themselves because they know deep down that they are not reaching their fullest potential. This makes it even harder for them to do what it takes to become a great guitarist.
The 5th key: If you…
1. Know what true greatness really looks like in all different scenarios…
2. Understand the strategies you must to implement in order to achieve it…
3. Have confidence in your own ability to reach your full potential and make forward progress…
… then you will take action to become the great guitar player you desire to be, can be and ‘ought’ to be. However, be aware that you can still lose your way, become confused, upset, impatient, or distracted… leaving you back where you started in a mindset of mediocrity. Fact is, it is way easier to give up and accept a life of ‘being average’ than it is to stay on course and do anything it takes to become great. So why does this happen exactly? Why do so many people give up in their pursuit of greatness and return to their comfort zone (never to accomplish anything truly great)? It is my belief that this occurs when you are lacking someone who is there to inspire you, believe in your capacity to succeed, support you, hold you accountable and help you up in times when you fall flat on your face. You don’t have someone there who can empathize with your situation because that person has experienced it many times as well. You must have all five keys to become a great guitarist. You must have someone on your side with tons of experience, who will support you, train you and give you massive amounts of inspiration… a person who will guide you along the correct path and make sure that you remain on that path until achieve the greatness you were destined to achieve.
This article is not a sales message or anything like that. There is nothing being sold here. I simply want to give you insight to help you understand why you have not yet reached the level you want to be at as a guitarist, and what you must do to finally accomplish what you have been destined to achieve since birth – Unstoppable Greatness!
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional touring musician and electric guitar instructor. After teaching thousands of guitar students internationally through his online guitar instruction website, he has become the leader in online guitar instruction. Check out his lead guitar tips, free video lessons on guitar, and guitar practice videos to make fast progress in your guitar playing.