Recipe For Success

Ever wonder how someone could be so good at what they do?
Do you wonder if you could ever be as good as your favorite
guitar player?

Well, I'm here to tell you that you can! I'm also here to
give you some insight as to how. There are several principles
you must adhere to if you are to ever get to a level
of great playing. Some of these principles are not just for
guitar players. They apply to anything in life that you're
trying to accomplish that's worth accomplishing.


You MUST devote yourself to the task at hand. This can be
difficult if you "don't seem to have the time" to play or
practice. You will have to sacrifice some things in order
to make time for your music. For example, Friday nights may
be reserved as your weekly night to go to the movies with
your friends. It may be a good idea to forget that for a
while and use the time more constructively to develop your


Now that you've set aside time for your guitar playing, make
sure you use it for what it was intended! You've brushed
off your movie friends (who want you to be a famous guitarist
anyway, right?) and now you're at home free and clear to
practice. BUT, you see that the season finale of Star Trek is
Write out a practice schedule for yourself. Work on specific
techniques or moves.

Here's an example:

6:00 - 6:15
Practice changing from Dm to C7 because it gives you trouble.
6:15 - 6:30
Practice G Ionian scale at different tempos.
6:30 - 6:45
Practice right hand tapping.
6:45 - 7:00
Practice 2nd inversion Em arpeggio at different tempos.

Do you know how many times you can play a G major scale in
15 minutes? Somewhere around 90! That's 90 repetitions closer
toward you becoming an expert!

You could even break this hour into six 10 minute intervals
if you want. You will be surprised at how much you can
accomplish in an hour of structured practice.


Now that you have dedicated the time, and are using that time
to practice, make sure you STICK WITH IT! If Fridays at 6pm
is your time to practice, don't let other things interfere
with that time.

Now, as everyone knows..."Life Happens". If you see your
time being violated, make it up Saturday or Sunday. Try not
to skip your practice time completely because it will "open
the door" to letting it happen again and again.


Now that you are devoting the time to practice, you need to
really concentrate on what you are doing. For example, if
you're learning to sweep pick that Em arpeggio, you may notice
that at a certain point in the sweep, you have a problem
moving your fingers. Isolate your "problem spot" and just
repeat that spot over and over. Pay attention to every move
your hands are making. Also pay attention to your nerves.
Are you relaxed or tense when trying to do this? You need to
stay relaxed of course. I have actually helped students play
better by just having them concentrate on relaxing!


This is a BIGGIE! You can't be a guitar hero overnight or even
after one year. There is so much involved with being a really
good musician. Just because you see someone play real fast, does
not make them a good musician.

  • Can they compose a good tune?
  • Can they improvise with others?
  • Do they know how to bridal that speed and mix it up with tasteful slow playing as well?
  • Do they have any sense of melody?
  • Can they harmonize their leads?

Your playing and musicianship will mature with time. Heck,
I went to dinner last week with Michael Fath (who, incidently co-produced my CD available here at Guitar Nine)
and he was telling me how he was studying with some guy who was a master
at a particular style because "there is always something else
to learn". "The more you know, the more you realize what
you don't know".

Oh yeah...patience..."if you practice, it will come". Give
yourself credit for being ahead of yesterday's trials.


Stay positive. Don't let others tell you that it can't be
done or "your song sounds like two cats in a fight". You
have to go through it to get to it. You may have to write
ten lousy songs before you begin to write good songs.

Don't let those ten lousy songs stop you! Learn from them! 9
times out of 10, a genius is just a person who refused to
give up!

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Will Landrum is a guitarist and composer from Virginia who dabbles in heavy rock Instrumentals with blues and neo-classical influences.

His latest CD is entitled "Living Digits", which features eight compositions produced by Landrum and Michael Fath.

Will Landrum

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