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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


If you’ve ever tried to learn how to play an instrument like the guitar or piano, you have experienced the frustration when you practice don’t seem to make any progress. We’ve all been there. You’re not alone.

It doesn’t just apply to learning to play an instrument. It also applies to any skill you are trying to develop, like touch typing or learning a new language. I remember when I was learning how to type by touch. We had classes where we’d practice, just like practicing the guitar or any other instrument.

Image by natureaddict from Pixabay

Image by natureaddict from Pixabay

Today, kids learn their way around a keyboard before they hit junior high, but most of them use their index finger or thumb as they do on their phones. If you want to play a sport such as baseball or football or hockey, you know you have to practice. But, I digress. Learning any type of skill takes practice.

You’ve heard the term, “Practice, practice, practice.” But interestingly, it’s not just about sitting down with the guitar in your lap or sitting at the piano/keyboard or even sitting at the computer keyboard. We often assume that if we “practice” enough we will become perfect.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that you can “practice.” Or you can “practice smarter.” With the smarter practice, you won’t necessarily become perfect, but with smarter practice, your practice makes progress toward your goal.

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

Tip #1 Don’t Give Up.

Too many kids and adults set out to learn a new skill, like playing guitar, but when it gets tough, their fingers hurt from the strings, they aren’t able to play with a band in the first week or whatever so they lean their guitar in the corner and say, “I’ll practice tomorrow.” Unfortunately with many people, tomorrow never comes. The guitar sits in the corner collecting dust, being neglected.

Tip #2 Take it Slow and Steady.

Many kids that start playing guitar think they are going to be an overnight prodigy being picked up by their idol band. They have a guitar, an amp, and a gung-ho attitude. They envision themselves walking down the road with their guitar slung over one shoulder and a backpack over the their shoulder headed for Nashville, Los Angeles, or some other city where they will be discovered. The dream of being an instant success obscures the fact that it’s a skill that has to be learned.

Instead of rushing through training as quickly as possible, slow down. Learn the basic fundamentals that will equip you to be that great guitarist that you’ve been dreaming about. Move from one lesson to the next, only when you have mastered the first one.

I hear some groans arising from the audience. Wait!! Wait for it!! The lessons don’t have to be boring exercises that don’t seem to move you toward your dream. Keep reading. Learning to play the guitar can be fun.

When I began to learn I taught myself from a book and by watching other guitarists on TV. Back then we did not have online video lessons. It was “teach” yourself or pay for lessons if you lived in an area where somebody taught guitar. Also, if I was lucky enough, I could learn something cool from a friend.

Tip #3 Make A Plan and Stick To It

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

With a plan, you can get the maximum benefit from the time and effort you put into your practice.

Many beginning guitarists, especially ones who try to learn on their own, think that running through a couple of scales and playing a chord or two then jamming to a CD of their favorite band is practice. That is playing, it’s fun, but it doesn’t advance your skill level.

True guitar practice or any other type of practice involves deliberate practice and isn’t necessarily fun. It takes work to master and improve guitar techniques or any other skill that you are trying to learn.

It’s important to change your mindset of jamming and noodling around to practicing the lessons and exercises that will help you develop good guitar technique.

Several of the online guitar classes have practice plans that you can develop for your maximum benefit. TrueFire’s Smart Practice is one of those lessons.

You start by writing down your goals. They can be as simples as, “learn 5 new chords and a new scale by the end of the month”

or “learn to play a new song each month.”

Keep a journal so you know when you accomplished each goal.

After six months or a year, you can look back and see the progress that you’ve made.

As I stated above, I had to teach myself how to play. In 3 weeks I was able to play songs with 8 first position chords and 2 barre chords. After about a year some of my friends and I started a band to play in our high school talent contest. We played Tequila by the Champs. Being able to play in the talent contest was one of my goals and I accomplished it.

Tip #4 Three Step Practice Makes Progress

Step 1: Warmups and Drills:

Each time you start practicing warmup with exercises, scales, and simple chord progressions, things you know, nothing new. Work on playing these with good technique, properly and cleanly. Also, practice warm-up exercises and drills that work on muscle memory, such as:

  • Finger toughening (at first)
  • Hand and forearm strength.
  • Left hand, finger speed, precision, and flexibility (for swift, precise playing of scales, arpeggios, and sweeps).
  • Right hand, finger speed, precision (for swift, precise picking).

Step 2: Learning New Things

This is where you focus on learning new things, such as new songs, new scales, some theory, new techniques. Something you couldn’t do before. This is the area where you will spend most of your time. Jeff Sheetz from TrueFire tells his students to spend most of the time practicing things they can’t play or are just learning or not polished yet.

Step 3: Playing and Being Creative

This is where you get to have fun, playing with jam tracks or playing along with a song from your favorite artist. You will learn to improvise and be creative. This is also where you learn to write songs if you’re so inclined. This is the FUN ZONE.

It’s important to start your practice with Step 1 and Step 2. It’s very easy to start with Step 3 and never leave. In that case, you are having fun, but you aren’t advancing your skill and technique levels.

Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash




Tip #5 Learn When To Call It A Day

This principle is important for anything you are doing. It’s very easy to start practicing one chord progression or strumming pattern for hours without making any progress. It seems like the more you work at it, the worse it sounds. It doesn’t matter if it’s learning to play a musical instrument, playing a sport, writing, working on a design project, it doesn’t matter. At some point, you get “brain dead.” When this happens it’s time to quit. Give your brain and your body a rest. Walk away for the day or night. Many times after walking away, you go back to it the next day and you can play it flawlessly. Sometimes your brain and your body just need a break. It needs some downtime.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument or do something so bad you could feel it?

Think back to when you first had the desire to play a guitar or piano or another instrument.

I remember when I was four. We had a piano in our living room and I just couldn’t keep my hands off it. Every chance I’d get I’d be plunking out a nursery rhyme or another song I had heard.

My mother was adamant that I was going to be classically trained. So the journey began.

The Guitar Enthusiast

Image by Pierre Prégardien from Pixabay

Image by Pierre Prégardien from Pixabay

Now, Larry, on the other hand, wanted to be a Jazz Guitarist. Every chance he’d get he’d go into a music store and headed for the guitar rack.

Taking a guitar off the rack, he’d feel the weight of it in his arms. It was heavier than he had imagined.

Cupping his left hand around the neck with his thumb and fingers of his small hands almost touching on either side, he’d slide his hand up and down the neck to make that scratchy sound.

He ran his hand down the body of the guitar feeling its smooth, cool surface and contour.

Strumming a couple of times with his right hand changing positions with his left, he made the sweetest music he had ever heard.

The others in the store weren’t as impressed. But it was music, his first attempts at music. He just couldn’t wait any longer. He had to have a guitar.

His parents reinforced that it was only six more months until his tenth birthday.

Six months seemed like an eternity.

His daily trek home from school took a new path by the music store. Often, he’d just sit on the stool and gaze at the guitars. Other times the clerk would tell him he could take one off the rack if there weren’t many customers in the store.

The Golden Years

Image by Candid_Shots from Pixabay

Image by Candid_Shots from Pixabay

Larry and I were young, but many have just retired, needing something to do during their golden years. Perhaps, learning how to play a musical instrument will rekindle the longing from youth.

Is this you? Can you fit into one of these categories of wanting to play an instrument? Perhaps your dream is to play or play and sing in a band. Or perhaps you are of the classical persuasion and want to play in the orchestra you listen to at every opportunity.

No matter your age or circumstance, a new adventure is about to be, like moving to a new city with places to explore and new experiences to enjoy.

Your new adventure as a guitarist or pianist is about to begin.

My First Guitar (Larry S. Warfield’s Story)

Larry wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument, mainly a guitar, so bad he could hardly wait.

The six months passed slowly except for the encouragement given by the clerk who would show me how to play a few chords when the store wasn’t busy.

The day finally arrives, my tenth birthday. I was afraid I had begged too much for a guitar. Fear and anxiety welled up inside as I was called into the living room.

There on the coffee table was a guitar case. It wasn’t an expensive guitar, but I didn’t care. A cheap guitar from JC Penney’s felt like the most expensive guitar. It was mine, my very own guitar.

Asking for lessons was out of the question, but I didn’t care. I spent hours digging through music books doing everything mentioned. Even when my fingers hurt from the higher strings on the cheap guitar I didn’t quit. It just didn’t matter.

I checked out music books from the library until I had saved enough money to buy a book by Micky Baker on how to play jazz. For weeks I pored over the book day and night until I could play the chords and songs in the book.

Stopping was not an option.

As one of six kids, my parents could not afford to give me guitar lessons. My only option was to teach myself. It worked. I’ve now played for years. But, that’s the hard way.

Today there are many other options.

Getting Started With Guitar Lessons

Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

Where do you want to go with music? Do you have a particular goal, perhaps to be a professional musician touring, playing gigs and concerts for fans? Would you prefer to work as a studio musician in Nashville, Los Angeles, or someplace else? It’s very difficult to realize your dreams if they aren’t firmly planted in your mind and heart.

Take the time to write out your goals. If you aren’t sure how to structure your goals and plans to reach your goals check the internet. You will find several websites with templates and instructions on how to fill them out.

Back to music…

Assess Your Progress

Do you have a face-to-face personal teacher or are you trying to teach yourself? If so, is your teacher the right person to help you achieve your goals? Again, you won’t know if your teacher is the right person for the job if you don’t know where you are going.

If you are trying to teach yourself, is it working, or is your progress very slow and draining your motivation? If so, you have several options.

Find a face-to-face teacher. If that isn’t an option for some reason check out the online video lessons. There are several websites that offer video lessons from total beginners to very advanced.

Don’t keep trudging along losing your motivation and desire.

Wait a second. If you’ve only been teaching yourself for a month or two and you haven’t gotten a music contract yet, you may be jumping the gun.

It takes time and a lot of hard work to be good enough to get a music contract or a job in a top studio.

Give yourself time. Be patient and work hard.

Still, your progress could probably be faster if you had a professional teacher. Check it out. Don’t be afraid to make a change.

Do something different.

If you have been trying to teach yourself for some time, you have developed habits that aren’t beneficial to where you want to go. How do I know?

You wouldn’t be losing motivation if what you are doing was working.

To change a habit you have to start by doing something different.

Give yourself permission to do something different. Some people think, “Oh, I start this I have to finish it.” No you don’t. Do something different.

Switch off the autopilot. Often we get into ruts that aren’t productive or don’t move us along toward our goals and we don’t even realize it. We’re just moving on autopilot.

Be more aware of what you are thinking and feeling. Assess the situation to answer the question, “Is this really working for me?” Be more in the moment.

Change things up by adding purpose into your playing. Perhaps you need to add more variety by playing different types of music. You may have thought you wanted to be a Country Guitarist, but if you give yourself a chance you might choose Jazz or Blues or even Classical.

Personally, after 12+ years of playing Classical Piano, I was bored and started playing more pop/rock ‘n roll music. It was refreshing and a lot more fun. I had learned the basics of Classical Piano which gave me a firm foundation for other types of music. I find it’s also very helpful in helping Larry publish the music he writes.

But most of all have the courage and self-confidence to do something different. Don’t get stuck in a rut.

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels


Online Guitar Lessons

There are several companies and websites that have excellent online video lessons. Many of the companies offer the beginning lessons for FREE.

This gives you the opportunity to check out their teaching style to see if it is a good fit for the way you learn.

Some companies cater to beginners while others are lean more toward intermediate and advanced students.

Check out the companies:

  • What style of music do they teach?
  • What are their video lessons like? Do they show multiple views of the guitar?
  • Will you receive chord charts with the lessons?
  • Are the lessons downloadable?
  • What is the cost?
  • In the beginning lessons do they require a credit card upfront on the free lessons?
  • What are their ratings by other students?
  • Do they teach music theory and reading music from the beginning or does that come later?
  • Do they offer a practice routine or are you left on your own again?
  • Who are the instructors?
  • How many lessons do they have available?

Is It a Good Fit?

Many students are concerned about having to plunge into studying music theory in the first lessons. If so, find a company that focuses on guitar technique with theory coming in the advanced lessons.

In the beginning lessons, you need to be focusing on learning the first chords, different strumming techniques, how to change chords easily and smoothly. They also need to teach you how to apply the chords and strumming in playing a handful of songs.

One of the important techniques in teaching music is to have practice tapes to practice with. Some call them Jam Tracks.

The good Jam Tracks give you the experience of playing along with a professional guitarist and often with a full band. This helps increase your knowledge base and your confidence while being fun.

In the online video, lessons are guided by a professional instructor that will lead you through the lessons, especially the beginning lessons. This is where the beginning free lessons are important. You get to experience the lessons, the video presentation, and the instructor to see if they are a match for you.

Just Get Started Learning How To Play A Musical Instrument

Take the first step. You weren’t born walking and talking. You had to learn one step or one word at a time. Don’t just sit there on the floor sucking your thumb. You are NOT a baby. Get up and make it happen for yourself.

No one can do it for you.

P.S. You will LOVE Jammin’!!!

Join my email list to stay in touch and get your FREE MP3.

Image by Alessandro Diesse from Pixabay

Image by Alessandro Diesse from Pixabay

We all have things we think we’d like to do or have. We set goals and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, and often, it doesn’t really matter. And if a goal does come to pass it may not be life-changing like we imagined. But, if you want something bad enough… you have to do something different. There are other goals that won’t happen just by wanting them or giving it a half-ass try. If you want something bad enough… you have to take the necessary steps to bring it to pass. It takes work. It takes planning. Simply wanting something usually doesn’t make it happen. You need to make a plan. Put some thought into the steps needed to make it happen. Write it down – it’s always easier to stick to the plan when you write it down then you can cross it off your list. These steps are good for any project you want to do. But, let’s get to the primary project, learning to play guitar.  

Obstacles in Learning to Play Guitar

This applies to any instrument you might want to learn to play, but I’ve chosen the guitar as an illustration. As I mentioned in my last article, Learning To Play An Instrument, I was only four years of age when I started taking classical piano lessons, at my mother’s insistence. I didn’t know anything about setting goals or making plans. My role was to practice what the teacher gave me to practice. I took lessons until well into my teenage years and played off and on during my early adult years. I could do what needed to be done. But I wasn’t even close to being a good pianist, not to mention, a master pianist. My husband, Larry, is a guitarist and singer/songwriter, who is very good. When we started trying to play together I had to face the fact that I was just okay. If I was going to accompany him I would have to set some musical goals with the steps to reach those goals. I had to do some soul searching to determine if I liked playing well enough to invest the time and energy to reach my goal. It would have taken a substantial amount of work to even get close to his level of proficiency. Instead, I chose to put my time and energy into writing. With my training, I’m still part of our musical effort, but as you see, I’d rather write about it.  

The Biggest Obstacle

Photo by from Pexels

Photo by from Pexels

So, the biggest obstacle in becoming a great guitarist or master musician on any instrument is not learning the techniques for a particular instrument or learning music theory. The biggest problem, as in my case, is not making the commitment to doing what needs to be done to accomplish your mastery. First of all, you have to make the commitment to doing whatever is needed to make it happen. You have to be willing to invest the time and energy into the music rather than, perhaps, partying with friends or watching your favorite TV show.

Get Serious

When we take a serious look at what is ahead, it may be overwhelming or even intimidating. But focusing on the issue will not help you reach mastery.
  1. It all starts with setting your musical goals.
  2. Get an online or personal teacher who will take you one step at a time.
You will never reach your goal if your perspective is too broad. It’s just like Francis of Assisi’s quote on how to eat an elephant. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” With the help of an instructor, you work these steps into your plan. Keep your focus on the step you are on and before you know it you will be that master musician.  

If You Want Something Bad Enough??

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

With either a face-to-face or online teacher you will be given the steps to get you to music mastery. But you will have to take those steps, one step at a time. You will have to invest the time and energy, as mentioned above. The question is, Do You Want It Bad Enough? I can see some of you pause to think about that question. You are wondering if you will have a personal life at all. No, you will not have to practice all day, every day. You won’t even need to practice 6, 8, or 10 hours every day. Wanting It Bad Enough does mean making good choices. Yes, you may have to give up partying with your friends or sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time. You will need to make some decisions that will get you to your goal. It will be worth it!!

 Change Your Mindset

 When we allow negative thoughts about ourselves or, in this case, about achieving our musical goals the negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling. We can also talk ourselves into believing the positive, which leads to seeing our musical goals fulfilled. Adopt a positive “Can Do” mindset about your practice and your progress instead of a pessimistic, negative mindset.   For example: “I’d Like To” – Mental Poison                              “I Can Do This” – Mental Nutrition “I don’t have the time or energy to practice.        “I can invest the time and energy” “It’s too hard to get up early to practice”               “I’ll go to bed earlier so I can get up.” “I’d like to be taught by a top guitarist.”                 “I can get a top guitarist as a teacher.” “I’m not disciplined enough to do this.”                “I can have fun and be disciplined.” “I don’t know if I can be a great guitarist.”            “I can become a great guitarist.”  

Confess Positive Thoughts

It’s not only important to change your mindset, it’s just as important to say these ideas out loud. These are just examples of what you might say to yourself. It is important that you repeat them out loud, loud enough so your ears can hear them. When we say them out loud, it’s kind of magical, but it registers more in our brains. Write down the negative thoughts about yourself or about your accomplishing your musical goals. Then, like above, write out the positive statements or affirmations. Design these positive statements to help you challenge and overcome any self-sabotaging, negative thoughts that keep you from accomplishing your musical or other goals. When you repeat the affirmations out loud you begin to believe them. When you start believing them you start making positive changes. It is important to say your positive affirmations about music. But just as important, or maybe, more importantly, you must invest the time and energy and “Do The Work.”

Get Rid Of Toxic Thoughts

Our minds are often like children, disobedient children. We tell our minds that “we aren’t going to think those negative thoughts anymore, we’re going to think positive thoughts.”  We may even tell ourselves, “stop thinking that you’ll never be a great guitarist.” Your mind talks back, “are you talking to me? Why should I stop thinking negative thoughts? I’ll do what I want to do.” With a disobedient child, we will disciple them. We might sit them in the corner, or take privileges away or even spank them. But, how are you going to do that to your mind? It’s not going to happen. Using direct force to change your mind rarely, if ever, works. You can’t say, “mind, change that thought,” and get it to work. Your mind doesn’t listen and obey. So how do you deal with it? We have to ‘trick” our minds. One way that has proven to be effective is to use symbolism and rituals. Because most of our thinking is subconscious, conscious thinking, reasoning, and logic often do not work. Self-improvement methods will only take you so far.

How to Trick Your Mind

Image by SupremeRyan from Pixabay

Image by SupremeRyan from Pixabay

The use of symbolism and rituals plants thoughts and suggestions into your subconscious mind without being direct. The direct approach will almost always be rejected. And you can count on demands being rejected without any consideration – just like a rebellious child. Here is a very simple method that really works:
  • Take the paper that contains your negative thoughts
  • Tear the paper into little pieces
  • Place them in a large ashtray, a bucket, or fireplace (either inside or outside)
  • Grab a match or a lighter
  • Take the pieces of paper, the ashtray, or bucket outside (unless you’re using an indoor fireplace)
  • Set it on fire
  • Stand and watch it burn until it’s gone
You might think this is to simples, it won’t work. But it does. We went over this in my Psychology class. It is amazing, it’s simple, it’s super easy, but it works. Often, especially in changing habits, this is how we have to communicate with our minds to get them to listen – “child’s play.”

Why Does It Work?

By nature, fire is a physical change agent. Right now on the West Coast, the landscape has been devastated by fire. Everything has changed and been transformed. Next year at this time, the towns and neighborhoods will look nothing like they did months ago. The fire changed everything. In fact, in some areas, the fire totally wiped out small towns.

Fire is a change agent.

You can use that same change agent to make changes in your own life by burning your old thoughts and destructive beliefs and rebuilding with new positive thoughts and beliefs.

Try it. It works.

Smart Practice

All Music Things is excited to offer TrueFire’s Smart Practice. Jeff Scheetz, the Director of Education for TrueFire has designed a guitar practice routine, especially for guitarists, called Smart Practice. The system walks the student through practice step-by-step.

The answer is really very simple. It’s not just how long you practice. Or how hard you practice. Or even what you practice. It’s how you practice. Vince Lombardi said it best, ”Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” TrueFire’s Director of Education, Jeff Scheetz calls it Smart Practice and he’s designed a step-by-step guitar practice routine just for guitarists.

In The Jam

TrueFire’s In The Jam provides an exceptional jamming experience for the practicing musician. The Jam is different from any other on the market. It is the next best thing to practicing with a live band. And you will be practicing with some of the top artists. 

Each edition of In The Jam is uniquely organized with  10 multi-track video jams separated into video and audio tracks for each instrument.

You can adjust the video for your ultimate experience by muting, soloing, or adjusting the volume of all of the tracks. Plus, each jam includes a lead sheet chart showing the chord changes and the general structure of the jam.

A Live Band Experience

There’s no better way to develop your improvisational skills than getting up on the bandstand and jamming with a solid rhythm section and other players. In The Jam brings that bandstand into your practice room!

Jam Tracks are available with the purchased lessons or you can purchase the Jam Tracks in a bundle.

The best part, though, on TrueFire’s website you can play the Jam Tracks for free!!

Now, how good is that.

In The Jam: Frank Vignola & Julian Lag

This Jam track features Frank Vignola & Julian Lage,  showcasing their rhythm and lead guitar playing across 10 multi-track video…

In The Jam: NYC Funk

 In The Jam: NYC Funk features Chris Buono on guitar, Steve Jenkins on bass, and Keith Carlock on drums performing 10 funky multi-track video jams… 


In The Jam: Blues Speak

“In this edition of Blues Speak I recorded live in the studio with my touring rhythm section featuring bass, drums, and B3 organ, Texas shuffles, some funky stuff…

In The Jam: TrueHeart Blues

“In this edition, we’ll jam together over some gospel progressions, classic rock, and roll, a funky sharp nine vamp, Chicago style shuffles, slow blues, minor blues…

In The Jam with Mimi Fox

In The Jam: Jazz with Mimi Fox

”For this edition, I put together a terrific rhythm section and we’ll be jamming together over minor and major blues, minor and major 2-5 changes, a couple of jazz standard progressions…

In The Jam: Rock, Blues & Country

”For this edition, I put together a killin’ rhythm section and produced 10 jam tracks live in the studio covering a wide range of feels, tempos, and keys… 

In The Jam: Kid Andersen

In this edition, I’ve put together 10 backing tracks that represent the range of feels that I play at my own shows. We’ll jam together over tough Chicago-style shuffles, a honky-tonk swing blues… 

30 Jam Band Licks

”This collection of 30 Jam Band licks is based around my favorite jam band progressions and I’ll show you how to string those chords together with melodies… 

In The Jam with Robben Ford

In The Jam with Robben Ford

Pull your time travel suit out of the closet to start your learning adventure back on Friday, October 27th of 2013, in one of Nashville’s premier recording studios…

Multi-Track Video Jams – You Control the Mix!

TrueFire’s In The Jam delivers an unparalleled jamming experience for the practicing musician. The next best thing to being there live, In The Jam puts YOU in the jam with top artists.

See More In The Jam

Each edition includes:

  • 10 multi-track video jams
  • Ability to mute, solo, and adjust volume
  • Lead sheet chart with chord changes
  • Artist commentary

When everything shut down with Covid, many lessons went to video. Video Music lessons have proven to be very beneficial. Read the articles below for more information.

All Music Things offers different types of video music lessons.

The guitar lessons are offered by TrueFire, founded in 1991. TrueFire has collaborated with 600+ top educators to produce what Guitar Player Magazine calls “the planet’s largest and most comprehensive selection of online guitar lessons. 2 million+ guitar players, from virtually every country in the world, learn, practice, and play.”

With TrueFire Guitar Lessons you get interactive video courses and patented learning systems for personalized and private online instruction. 

And TrueFire’s Beginning Guitar Lesson in each style is FREE. TrueFire’s success, over the years, is largely due to the high-quality artists and educators that have collaborated with them. 

The states, “TrueFire really excels with its tuition for intermediate and advanced players, with a huge range of courses, lessons, and styles available. You have the freedom to choose your own learning path, which can help keep you interested and focused, even if it involves a little less hand-holding.”

All Music Things Presents TrueFire Guitar Lessons

Beginner, intermediate or advanced guitar players all advance to the next level quickly with TrueFire’s accelerated, hands-on study plan. There is no reading music or struggling through tedious music theory or boring exercises.

TrueFire’s Learning Path system assesses your current level of proficiency and creates a personalized curriculum of video lessons presented by TrueFire’s world-class guitar educators.

TrueFire’s intermediate and advanced guitar lessons have an outstanding rating in the guitar lesson arena.

Are you ready to get started? Don’t wait. Grab your guitar and get started.

Steps To Learning Guitar

Learning Paths for Guitars

Take your guitar playing to the next level with TrueFire’s accelerated study plans for beginner, intermediate, and advanced guitar players.

More to help you achieve your dream

In the Jam with Frank Vignola 600x300
In The Jam NYC Funk 600x300

The best way to develop your improvisational skills is by jamming with a band, one with a solid rhythm section plus other players. TrueFire’s Jam Tracks brings that full band into your practice room. 

TrueFire’s In The Jam gives you the ability to practice with a band that you might not otherwise be able to do. In The Jam is the next best thing to practicing with a live band. And, you can practice with your favorite artists.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Get Started Now!!

Alex Skolnick's Solo Factory Heavy Rock

Unbound Guitar by Alex Skolnick

When you hear the name, Alex Skolnick, you automatically think of Alex, the original melodic thrash guitarist playing with Testament. But, Alex is a man of many talents. He has released several critically acclaimed jazz albums with the Alex Skolnick Trio. He also plays with the Planetary Coalition. The Coalitions is a group of musicians from different walks in life and various regions around the globe. They work toward a cross-cultural musical vision.

Alex is pretty much a household name in heavy and thrash metal arenas, but refuses to be labeled in any specific musical genre.

Alex’s course, Unbound Guitar, Rock Guitar Lessons, is a great addition to TrueFire’s course selection. No matter your preferred style of music, Alex’s ear and eye-opening courses reveals underlying harmonic, creative, and technical foundations of his exceptional musical ability.

”Over the course of my career, I’ve played, recorded, and performed many different styles of music. What you might be surprised to know is that the building blocks of metal, jazz, acoustic, blues, world music (or really any style) relies on the same harmonic concepts, techniques, and expressive approaches at their foundational framework. I’m excited to share that framework with you here in Unbound Guitar,” Alex Skolnick.

Rock Guitar Lessons - Secret Sauce - by Jeff Scheetz

Jeff Sheetz, a world-renowned guitarist demonstrates his “secret sauce”, in Jeff’s Blues Rock: Secret Sauce Blues-Rock guitar Lessons. These are just a sample of the courses offered on TrueFire. These courses equip you with five essential concepts and techniques used in many blues-rock settings. You will learn how to slip “outside” and back again incorporating intervallic lines in your playing. Jeff also teaches the ins and outs of dynamic phrasing, melodic playing and modal playing, techniques used creating exceptional solos and comps.

Professional Review

I’ve been a fan of TrueFire for many years because they put out high quality education videos that expand on many of concepts I teach my students in different genres. The site can be a bit overwhelming because there are thousands of lessons, so I’ve picked out some of my favorites below. (If you find there are just too many good ones, you can sign up for an All Access Membership, which you can get for a month, year, or lifetime,)” Susan Palmer, Founder of Lead Cat Press.

All of TrueFire’s lessons are designed to have you up and playing quickly. The Bass Guitar Lessons will teach you how to play essential bass lines and rhythms. It also teaches you basic hand positions that lend to a good solid tone and how to strengthen your fingers for playing open and fretted notes. 

As with the other courses the First Steps For Beginners is Free. Stu Hamm who attended Berkley College of Music in Boston is the educator in the First Steps and also the Next Steps For Beginners

Stu met Steve Vai, who’s musical style is unclassifiable, at Berkley and subsequently met Joe Satriani. Hamm played bass on Flex-Able, Vai’s debut solo album in 1984. He has recorded with Vai, Frank Gambale a Jazz Guitarist from Australia, Joe Satriani, a rock musician and other well-known artists.

Bass Guitar is used in every style of music, especial Rock.


Bass Basics by Stu Hamm

Are you thinking of playing in a band as a bass player? Bass players are in high demand. It’s easy to find gigs and bands to play with making the bass attractive. But, you still have to learn how to play it well.

Stu’s beginning course lays down the basics for almost every style of music. He bridges the gap between percussion instruments and the melody played by the lead instruments and the vocalists.

Bass Guitar Lessons Online by Ariane Cap

Back Tracking Fifths

The Country Learning Path, taught by 2 top TrueFire instructors, Corey Congilio and Jason Loughlin, will have you up and playing as quickly as possible. The course begins with a classic country alternating bass rhythm and a single note country melody to help you get your twang on.

The next step will be to learn a bass line walkup which will link your country chords together. You’ll also learn three new strumming patterns and a bass line walkup which will help you spice up any tune.

You’ll then move into movable barre chords which will open up more country music songs as you learn to apply them to classic country songs.


What do you hope to accomplish as a guitarist?

Is your goal to be able to play and sing at the same time? Do you want to be a great guitar soloist like Tommy Emmanuel? Is your dream to play in a Country band and make it big in Nashville? No matter your goals, find a guitarist that can play at a higher level than where you are trying to get to.

This is where TrueFire shines. Their instructors are experienced guitarists in their own right. Many are GRAMMY winners or top studio guitarists. They are guitarists who can take you to where you want to go if you’ll put in the work.

Decide where you want to go as a guitarist. Focus on that goal instead of trying to do everything at once. Allow TrueFire’s instructors to help you reach your goal. After going through the beginning lessons you may decide you want to go a different direction, such as, playing bass or rock guitar.

Is it going to take work? 

Absolutely!! Weight out the cost in time and energy. If you are willing to put in the time and effort the TrueFire instructors will help you achieve your goal.

If you need some one-on-one help, TrueFire has private lessons to help you get over the hump and on your way to success.

Yes, the private lesson does cost more, but it is nothing like having to pay for private lessons one-on-one near where you live.

I did some research on how much private lessons cost on average from $225 per lesson to $40 per lesson. With private lessons, you do not have video lessons and jam tracks to play with. You have a music book and it’s up to you to remember how the teacher said to play it.

I took private lessons for years. Sometimes I would remember how the teacher said to play the lessons and other times I wouldn’t. If not, we’d be on the same material for weeks until I got it right.

TrueFire’s private lessons give you a video and documentation of the instructor’s comments and what he said to change. Trust me. It is far better to have video lessons than one-on-one private lessons.

More Sample Country Lessons

Country Guitar Instructors & Supplementary Information

At this point in developing your guitar skills, you’re building up your chord vocabulary, a list of rhythm techniques, and several fingerstyle patterns. You have also learned  to play some classic songs in your genre. It’s now time to move to the next level.

TrueFire's Online Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Learning to play an acoustic guitar is a technical skill. If you focus only on what is in your lesson or play only songs you know, you are only learning to repeat what you have been shown. Some guitar lessons online teach mainly how to play songs.

TrueFire, on the other hand, focuses more on technique so you will have a solid foundation for advanced playing. Yes, you will learn how to play chords, keep a steady rhythm, and be able to change chords smoothly. As you progress you will learn how to arpeggiate chords and incorporate rests for more dynamic rhythms and strumming patterns.

TrueFire’s “Easy-To-Digest” Approach

TrueFire is known for presenting guitar lessons in “easy-to-digest, bite-sized chunks” so you never feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Your instructor guides you through every step of TrueFire’s unique play-along jam practice session. You are never sent off to practice on your own.

Some lessons or teachers launch into teaching music early in the lessons. TrueFire teaches technique leaving the study of music until later in your intermediate or advanced lessons. Why?

Many people who are taught music theory early in their guitar lessons either get bored and won’t practice or get really confused with the lessons. TrueFire has discovered after years of teaching that people can become a great guitarist without learning music theory. When a guitarist needs or wants to study music, it is available in TrueFire.

There are six styles of guitar playing, Acoustic, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, and Bass.


Acoustic Rhythm Guitar Lesson Samples

Tips For Learning To Play Acoustic Guitar

Tip #1 Practice every day. TrueFire lessons start you with easy chords and fingering. You have video lessons and practice tapes. When I was learning to play, an important principle was, “if you don’t practice you can’t learn.” Practice as much as you can with the Jam Tracks. When you play with the track it will be more fun, therefore, you will stick with it longer.

Tip #2 Don’t try to master everything at once. Follow TrueFire’s schedule. Take the lessons in bite-sized chuncks. Learn the first part first before moving on to the next part.

Tip #3 The basic chords and rhythm styles or basically the same. After finishing the first tape and you want to choose a different style, do it. Pick the genre of music you like to listen to. That will make taking lessons much more enjoyable and you will be able to stick to it.

Tip #4 As you begin your lessons select a 15 min slot per day that you can stick to. In learning to play acoustic, you will want to stick with 15 minutes in the beginning until you get used to playing and your fingers are less painful, then increase the practice time. Until your fingers get tougher, stick with short practice periods with focused practice on your lessons. It will get better if you stick to it. Don’t give up.

Tip #5 As you learn to play the songs in your lesson, slow them down at first. Increase the speed as you begin to play them smoothly.

Tip #6 If you’re considering an electri guitar over an acoustic, there are several things to consider. Electric guitars do have thinner strings with lower action, which can help ease the pain some what as you learn to play. Remember that with an electric you do have to have an amp, cables, headphones, effects which is an added cost. But, starting with an acoustic will help you develop your overall skills better. Since the strings on an acoustic are thicker, you will develop your fingers faster than with ana electric.

Tip #7 Your beginning experience with your first instrument is vital to your long-term success. If you don’t like your guitar or the music you are playing there is a higher likelihood tht you wo’t stick with it long term.

Tip #8 How to Toughen your finger tips by

– Increase your guitar’s playability. Have the strings lowered.
– Keep your nails trimmed.
– Get the light gauge strings.
– Learn on a steel string acoustic guitar. Don’t press on the strings so hard.
– Don’t play with wet fingers.
– Refrain from biting, picking, or shaving off your hard-earned calluses.
– Soak your fingers in apple cider vinegar.

Remember, the First Step in Blues Guitar Lessons, as in all style paths,  is FREE – on the house. No credit card needed. 

Some of the first things you will learn in the Blues Path are chord shapes, how to play a steady rhythm and how to change chords smoothly.

A Bit Of Blues History



Blues, secular folk music, was heavily influenced by the African Americans originally in the South, south of the Mason and Dixon Line.

The Blues was recognized as a musical style toward the end of the 19th Century. It eventually evolved into Jazz around the 1920s.

In the 1960s blues changed to a simpler but expressive form of music that greatly influenced the development of popular music in the US.

The Blues is still alive and well in the US music scene. But its popularity has shifted from Blues and Jazz to Rock and Roll, R&B, Rock, Funk, and Disco.   

The peak for traditional Blues was between the 40’s – 70’s, some artists breaking out of the traditional form. 

Blues is not a dead musical style because interesting music is still coming from that arena. It also influences other music forms such as Jazz and even Country. Acoustic Guitar Skills are also important in Blues Guitar Music

Get enrolled in Blues Guitar Lessons today to enlarge your guitar skills. 

Blues is also very important you want to specialize in Country Guitar.

Blues Sample By TrueFire and Robben Ford

As with the other courses, TrueFire’s objective is to get all students playing as quickly as possible, with no music theory or boring exercises. Some of you may question the “no music theory,” but music theory is a stand-alone course if you choose to learn to read music or music theory. It is not mandatory for guitar lessons.

Blues Guitar Lesson Includes:

  • Classic blues shuffle in the key of A
  • 12-bar blues in E
  • 7th Chords a blues staple
  • use the 7th chords in 2 Blues songs
  • Cool blues lick
  • First blues turnaround

The Blues instructors demonstrate all of the lesson examples on the practice tracks, when necessary.

The practice jam tracks are designed to look and feel like you are playing in the real world musical setting. Included in the lesson downloads are key example tablatures, notated for your practice, references, and study purposes.

You will also get Guitar Pro Files that you can be played in loops or at a slower speed so you can follow the tab and notation as you play through the lessons. All of the jam tracks for each lesson will also be included.

An important feature, TrueFire courses allow each student can take as much time as needed on each lesson before moving on to the next lesson. TrueFire’s goal is for each student to understand the material and be able to play through each lesson.

Supplementary information and courses are available if a student wants to dig deeper into the lessons or if they need additional help to understand and play the lesson material.

Blues Educators & Supplementary Blues Info

This Blues Learning Path core course is presented by 3 top TrueFire educators: Jeff McErlain, Corey Congilio, and Jeff Scheetz.

The supplementary info will give you more examples, techniques and insight from TrueFire’s top instructors.