80/20 Guitar Part One: Minimal Practice for Maximum Results

Posted by Rock Dojo on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

80/20 Guitar Diagram

I. 80% of your practice time leads to 20% of your total progress on the guitar.


II. 20% of your practice time leads to 80% of your total progress on the guitar.

If you’re unfamiliar with the 80/20 Rule, get ready because it’s going to change your guitar playing game for life! Business and marketing experts have been applying the 80/20 Rule for years with astonishing results. Now, it’s time to apply it to the guitar to achieve more results with less effort.

What is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 Rule is commonly referred to as Pareto’s Principle, after the man who first observed it.  While in his garden, Pareto discovered 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. In his landmark paper published in 1896, Cours de Ecomonique, Pareto showed that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. In subsequent investigations, Pareto later discovered a similar income distribution across a variety of the world’s economies.

How Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to the Guitar?

When it comes to playing rock guitar, there are few key chord grips, scale shapes, and rhythmic patterns you can master to play thousands of songs. The ultimate 80/20 chord grip for a beginning guitarist is the moveable power chord. Power chords are two note chords containing a root note played with your index finger on the 6th or 5th string and a fifth above it played with your pinky or ring finger.

Root 6 Power Chord (G5) 

Root 6 Power Chord on Guitar

*Why root 6? Because your index finger plays the root note on the 6th string.

Root 5 Power Chord (C5)

Root 5 C5 Power Chord on Guitar

*Why root 5? Because your index finger plays the root note on the 5th string.

What’s so great about the moveable power chord shape? 

The 80/20 Rule is all about achieving maximum results with minimal effort. By all means, you can spend a few months learning these 9 basic open chord shapes, and I encourage you to do so. On the other hand, if you want to achieve maximum results with the least amount of effort, the moveable power chord shape is the ultimate 80/20 chord grip for beginning guitarists.

In other words, is it more efficient to spend 3-months learning these 9 open chord shapes . . .

The 9-Basic Open Chords

or spending five minutes learning this simple moveable power chord grip?

Root 6 Moveable Power Chords

Moveable Power Chords + The Musical Alphabet = 80/20 Rhythm Guitar

In order to unlock the 80/20 power of the root 6 and root 5 moveable power chord shapes, you’ll need to know your musical alphabet. If you’re unfamiliar with the musical alphabet, take the time to familiarize yourself with it now. You’ll need to know the names of the notes on the 6th and 5th string down cold to reach peak efficiency. My students have used this free fretboard trainer to learn the names of the notes with great results. 

In part two of this 80/20 guitar series, we’ll combine moveable power chords with some basic rhythms to create some cool sounding riffs. For now, see if you can practice along with the following chord progression:

Power Chord Progression C5, Eb5, Ab5, G5



Buy Guitar for Beginners: Rock Dojo: Yellow Belt Edition (Volume 2) today for more great guitar hacks!




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