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3 Easy Habits That Will Turn You Into A Great Acoustic Guitar Player

By: Matt Lowen

If you are serious about becoming a better guitar player, then you need to start forming habits like these...

It's easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged nowadays by all the knowledge floating around out there.

I, for one, have spent countless hours trying to understand complex musical theory, practicing scales I'll never use, and trying to learn songs note-for note.

Although I can't claim all that work was a "waste of my time," I feel like I could have made my learning process much more efficient by focusing on a select few, very important things.

And I would like to share these things with you now so you don't have to learn them the hard way...

The 3 Simple Habits I Have Now That I Wish I Had 10 Years Ago

A musician has to be a creature of habit in order to do their job; unfortunately, many of the easier habits to pick up are bad ones.

You'll have to watch out for the booze, smokes, drugs, and all the other sex/drugs/rock&roll bad habits on your own, (there are better mentors than me for that stuff!)

However, in order to reach your dreams of becoming the rock-star, or the folk-troubadour, (or whatever you want to be) you know all about how important habits are.

All those hours spent tearing your fingertips raw, the frustration of learning how to play new chord formations, scales, tabs, notations, and of course, the inevitable bad gigs that you have to play through to learn, are all necessary habits that you teach yourself.

You have to work your ass off to get to the point where you can actually enjoy LEARNING guitar. And that's unavoidable and totally worth the effort. And it only happens through dedication and commitment to habit.

So, you already know you can do it, and, compared to that, there's virtually no struggle involved here because you don't have to get rid of any bad habits!

All you have to do, is start employing these 3 easy-to-follow habits TODAY and you will amaze yourself with how much you can learn and improve!

HABIT #1. "20 Minutes of Learning"

Yes, I'm serious about this. For 20 Minutes, once every day, you learn something new on your acoustic guitar.

You're not too busy. It's not too hard to find something to learn. There are no excuses.

Spend 5 minutes finding something, it can be a lesson on Youtube, a song on Youtube, something from one of the countless guitar magazines out there, you can learn a new song, a new riff, anything...

The only rule is you must do this EVERY DAY for 20 MINUTES ONLY! Set a timer on your phone/computer/alarmclock for 20 minutes and learn something. When the timer goes off, you're done. You can go longer if you want, but I don't recommend you do, because that creates a tendency to say to yourself "I did 40 minutes yesterday, so I can do 0 minutes today."

And this isn't noodling around watching South Park or Pawn Stars! You find something you couldn't do before the 20 minutes, and you learn it. That's all there is to it.

You will be AMAZED at how much you've learned after a week (and that will only have been 2 hours of practice!)

HABIT #2. "The Acoustic/Electric Guitar Divorce"

Even though my album cover is a picture of me with my trusty acoustic, I play electric all the time. I love the instrument. I love to play with effects and turn it up loud.

But I taught myself this habit long ago and I would never have improved if I didn't. I forced myself to admit that the electric guitar is NOT the acoustic guitar.

It is a different instrument and you have to treat it as such. Stuff you learn on electric is not going to work on an acoustic. I see it all the time with beginner/intermediate guitarists: they get out the old yamaha flattop and start hacksawing away with barre chords and downstroke rhythm patterns.

This is not how you play acoustic guitar! How do you play acoustic guitar? You treat it like one. You listen to bands that utilize the acoustic guitar properly. They can be old artists who use fingerpicking techniques like Mississippi John Hurt, legendary guitarists like Doc Watson or Bob Dylan who can teach you how to strum and use alternating bass notes, or new artists like Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, or countless others.

You must separate the two instruments and create a mental habit of really listening to what the acoustic guitars are doing in your favorite recordings.

Do this and you will never run out of stuff to learn in your 20 minutes.

HABIT #3. "Use A Capo And Use It Properly"

It can be very difficult to form certain chords on acoustic guitar. This is why the capo was invented and it is probably the biggest difference-maker I can think of in differentiating between the good acoustic players and the great ones.

Yes, you've probably used it to change the key in order to help you sing a song easier. That's fine, but it's only the tip of the iceberg for maximizing your potential as a player.

You should be jamming with other people as frequently as possible and this is where you can really shine if you know how to use this tool. Start looking into it for your 20 minute daily practice sessions, but most importantly, you just need to know how much you can do with a capo.

Start thinking about it that way and you'll naturally start experimenting and you'll probably discover new stuff that you can show me sometime.

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