It takes years of hard work, sweat, and toil in the practice room and on the bandstand to master guitar! There are no shortcuts to mastery, and I’m not here to tell you any different. That being said, you can still learn enough in a few weeks—or even a few days —to convince your friends you’re a rock guitar god if you focus your time, energy, and effort on mastering the fundamentals.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to convince your friends you’re a rock guitar god in five easy steps.
#1: Begin With the End in Mind
It doesn’t matter if you’re learning to play the guitar, writing a book, or building a business. If you want to succeed, then you have to begin with the end in mind. In this case, you should choose one or two easy songs you’ve loved your whole life. For me, it was “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. That was the song that made me want to play the guitar. I could listen to it over and over again and still hit that play button one more time. As soon as I got my hands on a guitar, that was the first song I learned to play, and it hooked me for life!
Your job is to find one or two easy songs you love. Since easy is the keyword, I suggest selecting tunes from the classic rock or blues-rock category. Although I love Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Paul Gilbert as much as anybody else, I would not recommend starting with the modern gods of shred guitar. That’s like trying to climb Mt. Everest when you don’t have the stamina to walk down the street!
#2: Master the Mighty, Mighty Power Chord
If you want to stare into the dismal abyss of defeat and resignation, then open up a guitar chord dictionary. Go ahead. I got the time. Each book contains literally hundreds of guitar chord shapes. Each of which might take you days, weeks, or even months to master.
But don’t be fooled. Most guitar chords can be reduced to one simple shape. It’s time to introduce the hero of the story, the Mighty, Mighty Power Chord!
THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY ROOT 6 POWER CHORD
Why Root 6? Because Your Index Finger Plays the Root on the 6th String!
#3: Get Your Hands on the Sheet Music
Now that you’ve selected your tunes, and you’ve learned to play the mighty, mighty power chord on the guitar, it’s time to get your hands on the sheet music. You can find guitar tabs all over the internet, but I recommend a few great sources: Guitar Pro and iReal Pro. These two programs make learning to play the guitar so easy, it’s almost unfair.
Guitar Pro is an interactive software which allows you to loop, slow down, and learn all your favorite songs on the guitar. It’s great for composing your own music, too! With more than 2,000 songs available for purchase, it’s my top resource for guitar tabs. It does, however, have one weakness: it’s a computer playing the score, not a real-life rock guitar god. For that reason, I suggest learning the song in sections using Guitar Pro. Once you have the song under your fingertips, it’s time to jump over to the real recording. That’s where you’ll pick up the nuances from the masters themselves. Touch. Feel. Dynamics. Expression. You can only learn those elements from the recordings.
iReal Pro is a great tool for downloading chord charts (available for free online) and creating instant backing tracks. All of which makes iReal Pro another must-have tool for you on your journey to convince your friends you’re a guitar god in 5 easy steps.
#4: Now, Simplify with the Mighty, Mighty Power Chord
Now that you’ve got your hands on a chord chart or an interactive guitar tab, it’s time to simplify with the mighty, mighty power chord. Let’s take the chord progression to Thin Lizzy’s classic song, “The Boys are Back in Town.”
Keep in mind, this is an actual chord chart for “The Boys Are Back in Town” downloaded from the iReal Pro forums. The process took about 30-seconds to search, download, and import the chord chart into iReal Pro. Playing it, however, is a different story altogether! Look at all those chord shapes. In fact, there are literally seven different chord shapes to master in this chart alone! Any one of which might take you a few days or a few weeks to master! For our purposes, that’s no good. That’s why we’re going to replace all that complexity with simplicity. The mighty, mighty power chord comes to the rescue.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
Now, you can play the entire song using just one single shape on the guitar! That’s the power of simplicity. That’s the power of the power chord on guitar!
#5: Add the Foot Stomp
Now it’s time to give credit where credit is due. I first learned the foot stomp from legendary guitarist, Paul Gilbert, as a guitar student in his online rock guitar school available at Artistworks. The idea behind the foot stomp is simple: stomping your foot helps you to internalize the rhythm of the song your playing. Over time, it helps to develop your inner drummer and your sense of groove. In fact, it’s so important for Paul Gilbert, that I can’t imagine playing the guitar without the foot stomp now that I’ve studied with him for the past three years!
Bonus Tip: Perform for Your Friends
Now that you’ve put in the hard work, it’s time to reap the rewards. In other words, it’s time to perform! The key to a great performance is preparation. If you begin with the end in mind, perfect the power chord, locate the sheet music, and add a foot stomp, you should be well on your way to convincing your friends you’re a guitar god!
Of course, you’ll need to practice for at least 10 – 15 minutes every day for a week or two before the performance. I recommend practicing along with the recording until it feels natural. Once you’re comfortable, hit the stop button and play it all by yourself. As you improve your skills, the foot stomp is all the band you’ll ever need to rock on the guitar!
So there you have it: 5 Easy Steps to Convince Your Friends You’re a Guitar God.
While there are no shortcuts to mastery save vision, dedication, and several thousand hours of focused practice time, it is possible to prepare a successful performance in as little as a week or two leveraging the power of rock guitar fundamentals.
Those fundamentals are:
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Master the mighty, mighty power chord.
- Get your hands on the sheet music.
- Simplify with the power chord.
- Add the foot stomp.
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