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Learn Guitar Songs Faster
Written by Gary Fletcher


There are lots of ways to learn guitar without having your guitar to hand. In this article we'll look at one very easy way to learn guitar songs faster that will also improve your performance skills because you will know the songs you play better.

Why Do You Make Mistakes?

Many of the playing mistakes you make arise not from a lack of skill, but from the simple fact that you're unsure what comes next. With doubt like this in your mind you often end up making an error.

Develop detailed knowledge of the songs you play, really memorize them, and you will be able to play with more confidence, make less mistakes, and be more relaxed so you can enjoy playing more.

How Do You Learn Songs?

How do you learn new songs to play on your guitar? If you are like a lot of guitar players, you might do something like this. First you find some tab or chords for the song, then you print it and start to try playing while you read the tab.

You probably start making a lot of mistakes. It's not surprising, you're trying to read, figure out the structure, and play the song all at the same time. Not only is this inefficient, but worse you teach yourself to play those mistakes you keep practicing.

After a while of this you probably succeed to play the song. But now what happens if you try to play without the tab sheet? Can you play the song through without error?

You probably can't play the song without that piece of paper under your nose. And that means your performances will be poorer and look less polished.

Hmm, maybe there is a better way to learn songs?...

Copy to Learn Songs

Here's a better process for learning that song. It will help to eliminate some of the time you spend practicing mistakes by ensuring that you get the song straight in your mind before you start to play it.

Take a notebook or some scrap paper and write out by hand the words to the song. Then add the chord names above the words. For best results do this from the recording, but if this is too hard or you don't want to then copy them from a tab or lyrics sheet.

Once you have the song written out, copy it three times. Repeat this process again the next day.

Now you should be ready to rewrite the song from memory. Try to write out the words and chords and then check with your original copy to see how you did. Do this at least once a day for a week.

Now you should have a much better understanding of the song and you can start to play it on your guitar. If the songs contains only familiar chords you might find you can play it almost at the first go.

After that copy out the song once a week for a month. By the time you've done that you should have the song fixed firmly in your mind.

Now, all this copying and rewriting might seem like a lot of work, and a lot of wasted time. But put into practice and you might well find you're learning to play songs faster than ever. And what's more, you'll find that once they're learned, they stay learned longer. Isn't that worth a little effort?

Play As You Write

You can get even more benefit when you play the song in your mind as you write it out. Hear the chords, melody and words in your head, visualize yourself playing it.

When you do this you get the added benefit of combining several techniques for practice without the guitar. Your learning is reinforced.


Do you want to see how deep knowledge of songs makes playing easier? Try it for yourself, pick a song you are working on and spend some time to really get to know it using the techniques described above.

You will find that the song becomes easier to play the more you build your knowledge of it. You will be less hesitant and make fewer mistakes as you play.

Do you have any other favourite techniques to learn guitar songs? Share your experience by leaving a comment at the end of the article.

Gary Fletcher is a writing guy who spends too much time not playing guitar.
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