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Three Negative Habits Of Guitar Players

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Guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson reviews three specific things that cause guitar players problems in the short and in the long run.

These issues seem to be consistent regardless of age or style. If you can improve on these areas, you will find it easier to progress. These three topics don’t cover every problem but it’s a good start!

1) Weak or non existent knowledge of the neck

Guitar players are notorious for not knowing the notes on their instrument. If they are aware of the notes, it’s usually based on some derivative knowledge. Example “If I can find the A on string 6, I know that there is also an A on string 4, 2 frets higher.” This is a very inefficient way to “know” the notes. 

You need to be able to identify any note anywhere on the guitar without resorting to derivatives or counting. The only way most of us can identify a specific letter in the alphabet is to count up to it. What is the 11th note of the alphabet? Generally, we can only answer that by counting up A, B, C, D etc until we reach the 11th note. But for guitar, you need an instantaneous knowledge of every individual note and its location on the neck.

Spend time learning your notes. It will have many benefits!

2) Reliance on patterns for scales

We know that improvisation typically depends on scales. The problem is that a large number of guitar players rely exclusively on physical patterns to learn and to play their scales. 

A 2 octave Minor Pentatonic in A is viewed as 1 4 1 3 1 3 13 14 1. You need to know it as A C D E G A etc.

The more fingerings you have for a scale the better. The pattern approach locks you into a location that leads to overly repetitious solos.

Know the notes you are playing and then pursue alternative fingerings in order to use them more effectively.

3) Weak fundamentals in “theory”

The term “theory” is not a reference to the theory of counterpoint or figured bass etc. It’s much more simple.

That being said, this refers to what notes are in a scale, what notes are in a chord, etc. It’s important to know that Fmaj7 has an F A C and E in it and that the F Lydian scale is F G A B C D E F. Once you can relate chords and scales to the notes within them, you can begin to use more advanced approaches to your solos.

Terms like enclosure, auxiliary, appoggiatura all require you to be aware of the notes you are playing.

Check out Chuck’s Store with books and music


More Lessons from Chuck Anderson – 

Using A Dominant Substitution for Solos

What You Need To Know About Diminished Scale Fingerings and Chord Application

Helpful Tips With Symmetric Whole Tone Scale Fingering

Learn More About Double Third Chord Voicings for Guitar


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