Category Archives for "Hacks, Tips & Tricks"

How to play songs on electric guitar

Learning How to Play Songs on the Electric Guitar

 Learning how to play songs on the electric guitar can be a struggle. Often we get stuck on a difficult passage or phrase and as a result we’re tempted to give up. My goal is to give guitar players the tools to play what they want to play, and to play it well. When learning a new song, it’s important to have a good structured approach. 

Choosing a song 

When choosing the song you want to play, you want to pick something that will push your playing, but not overwhelm you with advanced technique. Starting with something too technical can leave one feeling defeated. Learning how to play songs on the electric guitar should be fun.  

Mapping out the song

  • Actively listen to the song. Reference tablature if available. 
  • Find the difficult passages.
  • Pay attention to the technique being used and what technique you need to work on.
  • Isolate the difficult passages and build musical exercises from them.
  • Integrate these elements  into your practice routing.

Complete Workout Strategy

Break difficult passages into smaller sections. Try it using my four phase Guitar Workout strategy to practice these sections. 

I. Play the part very slowly at first (fundamentals). 

II. Play along with music to get a feel for how it works in the song (musical exercises). 

III. Increase the speed beyond where you can comfortably play it (out of the plateau).

IV. Play the passages in different positions using the entire fretboard. Connect them to other licks you have learned and integrate them into your playing. 

Now that you have the difficult passages mastered, play along to the entire song, or backing tracks — this way, you can get a feel for how it works within the song.

This is also a great opportunity to make a musical exercise and include in your regular practice routing as I explain in my “Secret to rapid success” video: 

The secreat to rapid progress


Learning how to play songs on the electric guitar doesn’t have to be frustrating. And with some patience and discipline, you’ll be playing challenging licks and phrases effortlessly. If you’re serious about guitar playing, become a part of our Guitar Hacks community and watch my free videos on how to practice a challenging song.

27 concert guitarist community

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22 How I Eliminate Tension In My Guitar Playing

How I Eliminate Tension In My Guitar Playing (And You Should Too)

Many of you wanted to know what kind of exercises I use to avoid tension in my playing. 

All guitarists struggle with playing with too much tension. And while tension can’t be eliminated completely — and is even necessary to properly play the guitar — playing with too much tension can make things unnecessarily difficult. It can affect our fluidity and accuracy. It can also be painful, and in some cases, cause physical damage. 

For this video I’m going to show you a simple yet powerful exercise I use to avoid tension in my playing, and to play softly and more fluidly. 

I’ll start by choosing a particular lick or scale. For example a B minor arpeggio, but it can really be anything you want. Once I’ve chosen a particular lick, I rest my fingertips on the strings so they are barely touching, then play the lick. It’s probably not going to sound very good at first, but that’s ok. Rather than a clear, defined note, I should only hear a muted clicking or harmonics when I do the run. 

After going through it a few times this way (lightly touching the strings), I begin to gradually add more pressure until I can hear clear, defined notes. Once I start to hear the notes clearly — without any noise — I know I have found the “sweet spot”. What’s happening here is I’m teaching my brain, hands and fingers the minimal effort concept. You’ll quickly find it does not require that much pressure to get to the pure note. It’s barely more pressure than what I started the exercise with, but now I am getting the pure essence of each note and doing it with very little tension. 

It’s very important that you practice this exercise every day to achieve positive results. Approach this with the goal of playing with a softer touch. Over time, this simple exercise will greatly reduce the tension in your playing; your playing will become more fluid, expressive and accurate. And best of all, you’ll achieve it with minimal effort. 

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