12 Tips For Advancing Your Guitar Skills

  • Want to be the star of your next virtual or live happy hour? If so, you may want to check out these tips...

Playing a musical instrument is a great skill to have. It improves your memory, enhances your coordination, and can even sharpen your concentration. Not to mention, it’s very rewarding to master a new skill that you can share with your friends and family.

But you’ve been making music for a while and now you’re ready to advance. Aside from learning new chords, there are dozens of ways you can improve your guitar skills.

Let’s dive into these 12 tips to take your music to the next level:


Keep Learning New Songs

The best way to advance your guitar skills is by constantly pushing yourself to learn new songs rather than only learning chords. There’s an end product in mind and it will feel much more rewarding.

GuitarX is a great place to find free music guides and resources online. They have everything you’ll need, from chords of cover songs to tips for advancing your guitar skills. 


Practice Scales

Just like you would with any other instrument, it’s important to learn about scales. These are the sequenced order of notes. You might be asking yourself why you’d need to learn them if you’re not planning on “shredding” on an electric guitar.

But any advanced guitarist needs to know their scales. It improves finger dexterity and will give you a wider range of notes to turn basic songs into lyrical masterpieces.


Use a Metronome

Just because you think you’re on tempo doesn’t mean you are. Using a metronome will drastically improve timing while you play.

Besides, if you ever want to play in a band or jam with other musicians, you’re going to need to be in sync with them. You can’t do this if you’re marching to the beat of your own drum.


Change Up Your Strumming

The up and down motion you play across the strings is your strumming. When you first start, you may be playing the same type of strumming as you get used to learning chord progressions. Now, it’s time to mix things up.

Listen to some of your favorite music and try strumming along with it. You can also watch YouTube videos to learn various strumming patterns, too.


Switch Up With Picking

Picking on the guitar is by far one of the most rewarding things to learn. You first start by learning specific picking to a cover song.

Eventually, as you continue practicing your scales, you’ll be able to find a new, natural ability to jam along to any song.


Try Out Barre Chords

Now that you’ve built callouses on the tips of your fingers, it’s time to stretch those muscles a little wider. Barre chords will widen your range of music composition and playing abilities. They’re pretty tricky at first and you may hear a buzzing sound when you strum.

This means you’re not holding down hard enough. Keep at it and over time you’ll build strength and muscle memory, just like you did with the more basic chords. Click here if you want to learn how to start playing barre chords.


Play Standing Up

More than likely, you’ve been sitting down while you play. Taking your music to the next level means being versatile, especially if you ever want to play in a band. Buy a guitar strap and play the same songs you normally do, but in a standing position.

It’ll help you break the habit of looking at your hands while you play. To challenge yourself, try walking around the room as you play and sing.


Try Recording

All of this might sound a little mundane. Maybe your skills are far beyond what we’ve already listed. That’s okay because there is always room to grow. In this case, try recording yourself.

You don’t necessarily have to professionally mix and master your music. Record yourself on your phone and play it back. You’ll be able to pay more attention to the finer details of your playing to see what you can improve in the future.


Train Your Ear

Practicing the guitar every day is important if you want to improve your skills. But there is another instrument out there you’ll want to start working on as well. Your ear is a valuable tool for playing any musical instrument.

You can tune your guitar more efficiently or jam along without having to read music. If you’re feeling like you’re bored, try practicing the art of playing by ear.


Learn to Read Music

Many of the greatest guitar players might have a natural musical talent. But just because you aren’t prominently right-brained doesn’t mean you can’t become a prodigy.

Many people who didn’t have a knack for playing a musical instrument practiced by learning how to read music. It forces you to think about notes, rhythm, timing, vibrato, and spacing as you play.


Play Along With Someone Else

Playing the guitar by yourself is one thing. Playing along with others is something entirely different. Learning how to jam along with others will teach you not only about teamwork, but about how to play without a regimented set of chords.

It’ll also help give you a boost of confidence to get over whatever ounce of stage fright you might have.


Buy a New Guitar

By this point, you may feel as if you’ve mastered your precious guitar. But the moment you pick up someone else’s, it feels like you’re driving a completely different vehicle.

Try upgrading yourself to a new guitar. Head to your local music store and try on a few variations. See what feels good, yet still provides a challenge.



No matter what level you are on the guitar, there is always room for improvement. Practicing something new every day will take your skills from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

Becoming a professional takes time. Be patient with yourself. Even when you think you’ve got it perfected, go back to the basics of tempo and rhythm through sheet music or by training your ear.