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:
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.