The Internet Guitar Player

When I first started learning to play the guitar, you either found a teacher, a friend that could play or you bought yourself a tab book and the album and sat for hours working out riffs to your favorite songs.  There was no internet or Youtube.  Instructional videos were expensive and limited.  Nowadays, all you have to do is fire up your web browser, type in “learn X on the guitar” and voila!  You get 10 gazillion results.  Want to watch a video to learn your favorite song?  Youtube has you covered.

Do a Google search for the term “A chord”. As of the date of this post, a search for “A chord” will return 32.6 million sites! Yes, that’s “million”.

Is it conceivable that there are 32.6 million ways to show you how to play an A chord? How can we possibly know which one of those millions of sites will show us the “correct” way to play an A chord?

The new generation of guitar player has been labeled the “internet guitar player”. Guitar students nowadays hop around from site to site, grabbing bits and pieces of YouTube videos, free lessons and blog posts – all under the assumption that they are actually “learning” how to play guitar.

The problem is, they rarely gain an understanding or see the full picture of the techniques and concepts to become an accomplished guitar “player”.

Before the internet, kids wanting to learn the guitar sat for hours, with intense focus working out riffs and licks while playing their favorite songs over and over.  Players focused on one thing at a time, mastered it and then moved on.  I have private students that cant make it through 15 minutes of practice at a time.

There are, admittedly, numerous advantages to today’s information age. But how much information is “too much”, and when do you cross the line into “information overload”, which results in absolutely no retention of what you are learning?  I know.  I know.  We all love Marty Schwartz and his awesome guitar lesson videos on Youtube but are you really learning anything by bouncing from tidbit to tidbit?

That’s really the main difference between the “old school” method of learning guitar and the new one. The sheer volume of information available at your finger tips makes the ability to “focus” on any one thing, for any length of time, a major challenge.

If this sounds like you and you are feeling overwhelmed and lost with your guitar playing and don’t feel like you are making progress, STOP!  The biggest thing you need to correct this is FOCUS.  Stop bouncing from site to site, grabbing bits of this and that.  First figure out what your goals are on the guitar and then put yourself on a path to achieve those goals.

For example, if you want to learn how to improvise blues solos, find a course such as 96 Blues Licks and work through the entire course.  Maybe you are a beginner and want to build a solid foundation, then grab yourself a copy of 6 Minute Guitar or Beginner Guitar System.  Devote each practice session to working on the material in those courses.  Maybe it’s a particular song you want to learn.  Find a reliable resource such as JamPlay or GuitarTricks and work out each part of the song until you have it at a performance level.  Don’t stray and keeping working on it until you have achieved your goal.

Developing the ability to “focus” with tunnel vision, putting on blinders to the rest of the digital world – will take you down a sure path from being a “Google guitar player” to becoming a “real” guitar player.