I can’t count the number of times I’ve searched the interwebs looking for something… anything I could find to help me progress in my playing.

No matter how many videos I watched on YouTube on “How To Shred in 5 Minutes”, I just wasn’t getting any better.

I think every musician experiences it, we all hit that wall sooner or later.

Luckily, you don’t have to spend as much time at your wall as I did! Here are 5 reasons you aren’t getting any better and what you can do about it.

You Need To Set Goals

This seems simple enough, right?  You would be surprised how many overlook goal setting when it comes to playing guitar, including myself.

Setting goals for my playing  is something I didn’t do for a long time, and my progress really suffered for it.

You can set goals for any part of your playing. Set a goal for how long you’re going to practice, or when you want to learn that awesome new technique by. This keeps you focused on practicing and it’s satisfying every time you reach that next goal.

Goal setting is a great way to track your progress and keep yourself reminded that you are improving. This will raise your self-esteem and keep you coming back time and time again to meet your next goal!

You Aren’t Keeping It Fresh

Running through the same scale up, down, sideways, and every which way over and over is one way to practice… But it is not the most effective. You need to change your routine if you don’t want get stuck.

Some easy ways to switch up your routine could be to explore parts of the fretboard you don’t make it to very often, practice in a different room, go outside and practice, even use a new guitar if you can!

There isn’t anything wrong with running through your usual patterns when you’re practicing – I actually recommend it  –  but it’s easy to work ourselves into a creative box when we focus too much on one concept.

Breaking out of the same, tired routine can open up a world of creativity for your playing. Get out of your comfort zone and make that next great stride in your musical journey!

If you want to learn something new and refresh your playing, you should check out our Shred Lessons!

Use Backing Tracks

So you just learned a new scale, but what do you do with it?

All you’re missing is a little context! Adding a backing track when you’re practicing is a great way to experiment with your new skills and learn how those techniques, scales, or whatever can be applied in a musical setting. This is also a great way to brush up on your improv skills!

What’s the best part about this?

There are tons of free backing tracks you can use. All you need is a computer and  an internet connection… which you probably have if you’re reading this, and you’re good to go! You can find a backing track for almost every musical scenario you can think of on YouTube.

So give it a shot, I promise you will be slaying that new scale into places you didn’t even know were possible in no time!

When you’re ready to shred a sick solo over your backing track, check out our 10 Tips To Better Solos.

Quit Being Such A Loner

Playing in your bedroom by yourself is great and all… But everything’s better with a friend. I’m not getting all sentimental on you, I’m serious!

Practicing with a friend is not only fun, but it’s a great way to quickly improve your playing. This is a good opportunity to bounce some new ideas off of eachother, get some feedback on that sick riff you wrote, or to just jam together to brush up on your improv!

Everyone has their own unique approach to playing the guitar. Playing with friends is a great way to gain a fresh perspective on your playing and help find a new way around the wall you’ve hit.

So quit being so edgy and get out there and make some friends to practice with!

Take A Break!

I seriously can’t stress enough how important this one is…

Who knows how many times I’ve heard someone say that they just can’t seem to make any progress while playing guitar. I always say… Maybe you should take a break.

You would be amazed the wonders that putting down your beloved axe for a few days can do. We all get into these musical ruts every now and then, and more times than not, the solution is to just take a break from playing for a little while.

It doesn’t have to be for long, a week or two at the max… But seriously, I come back with a renewed enthusiasm for my instrument every time.

While you’re on your break, think about the tips I’ve shared. These were learned from countless hours of beating my head against the wall, wondering why my playing wasn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have to be that way for you!

If you enjoyed this article, you can check out more like it here. We’re always uploading new gear reviews, guides, lessons, and more!

This article was written by Wade Lawson, our editor located in West Virginia.

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