Thoughts on Practice from a Wise, Old Guitarist

Just recently, I found a guy in my local newspaper selling quite a few quality, vintage guitars for a ridiculously cheap amount of money.  In my interest, I called him and arranged a time to go over to see the guitars he was selling.  He had a lot of guitars listed in the paper, but WOW, when I walked into the house, there were high quality guitars everywhere!  Hung on the walls, stored in cases behind the couch–everywhere!

His reason for selling his guitars was simply, “I’m just getting too old.”  Bill was 81 years old.  In talking to him, I found out that he actually played professionally all throughout his life.  He ended up showing me some of his recordings, and man, they were impressive!  Bill played guitar at lightning speeds with flawlessness.

So I said to him, “What advice do you have for me to increase my guitar speed?”

He just kind of stared at me with deep, pensive eyes.  I half wondered if he heard or understood my question because of the amount of time that passed before he said anything.  He thought for awhile, smiled slightly, and then said confidently, “Practice. Practice. And, practice. Then,” he went on with an increased smile, “you must develop a slight nervous twitch in your picking hand.”  

We both laughed, but inside I was kind of disappointed that all he told me was to “practice.”  It seemed so elementary.  But then, as I was leaving, I realized that his words contained deep wisdom.  Time that is diligently spent in practice is the only way we’ll ever grow as musicians.

On a similar note, if you are wanting to hone in on different skills and techniques on guitar, then check out my reviews on some splendid online guitar courses.

Now, with that being said, go practice!

About Brett McQueen

Brett McQueen is a musician, songwriter, and the founder and editor of Guitar Friendly and Ukulele Tricks. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @GuitarFriendly.