Welcome Frustrated Guitarist!

After all the time you’ve spent scouring the internet in search of guitar lessons that aren’t overwhelming and confusing, and after the time you’ve spent flipping through dense music theory books, and watching blurry guitar videos from shredders on YouTube, you finally made it here!

Smarter Guitar is a new site featuring guitar lessons and practice recipes designed around how we learn best.

Read on to find out how Smarter Guitar is different.

Who Smarter Guitar is for

Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of music theory you think you need to learn?

Are you practicing the same things over and over and not making much progress?

Do you learn new things about guitar, only to forget them a few days later?

Do you feel like you want to give up playing guitar after watching your favorite guitar players – thinking you’ll never be that good?

The path to learning guitar and music can be intimidating. There’s a lot to learn, and it’s easy to get trapped into thinking you need to master every scale, chord position, and genre of music before you can even start writing songs and playing with other people.

You’ve probably read things telling you that it takes 10,000 hours of practice get great at things. Or maybe you read that your favorite guitar player practiced 9 hours every day for many years when they started.

If you somehow actually have that much free time to practice guitar – well, I guess that’s awesome.

But what if you’re a normal person with a full-time job, family, and other responsibilities? You want to improve your guitar playing, but on some days you might only have a half hour of free time to work on your guitar playing.

You’ve probably checked out some online guitar courses, but got overwhelmed just hearing that the lesson contains something like 30 hours of video. Maybe you tried digging into a few guitar books, but quickly stacked them on a shelf because they were too confusing.

If that sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place.

Smarter Guitar is focused on helping you take your guitar playing to the next level, and doing so in a way that will let you quickly make progress, only if you have a half hour a day to practice.

My Story

This site is more about you than me, but I want to give you a bit of background on myself – even if for no other reason than convincing you that there’s an actual person (not some computer algorithm or something) behind this site.

My name is Dustin and I live in Burlington, Vermont.

In 20 or so years of playing guitar, I learned in various ways. College courses, private lessons, guitar books, a subscription to Guitar Magazine, printing out page after page of guitar tabs of my favorite tunes, and more. It was a pretty scattered approach, and it took a long time to make any real progress.

When I started learning guitar, I had a lot of time to devote to learning and practicing. Fast-forward to now, with a full-time job, wife, and 3 kids, that free time quickly dwindled.

I knew I had less time to play, but wanted to keep getting better. I wanted to figure out how to continue to make progress, but in short practice sessions.

I started reading books on learning, teaching, productivity, accelerated learning, and effective practice techniques for musical instruments.

Using knowledge based on how we most effectively learn, I started putting together focused practice materials.

After using these techniques, even though I was only practicing often 20-30 minutes at a time, I was making much more progress than when I used to practice a few hours at a time.

Rather than keeping this stuff to myself, I figured other people can benefit from this as well.

I don’t claim to be best guitar player posting online guitar lessons. Far from it. If you’re looking to learn from a shredder playing as fast as humanly possible, there are plenty of videos on places like YouTube for that.

One of the things I think I’m good at is taking complicated topics and distilling them down to their most important parts, and explaining things in a way that is really easy to understand.

My professional career has also been built around this. My day job is working as a Sales Engineer on a web development team at a big software company. A key part of my role is to take complicated technology and explain it to non-technical people. I’ve also had various roles focused on training both employees and clients on using various tools and software.

Lastly, like you, I love music and guitar. You ever get done learning guitar. I still have plenty to learn myself, and continue to try to learn new things all the time. I hope to use this site as a way to help you learn at the same time as me.

The problem with other Guitar sites

I know what you’re thinking – “There are thousands of online guitar lessons available, including lots of free YouTube videos with guitar lessons, does the world really need another?”.

While there are some outstanding guitar lessons, courses, books, blog posts, and videos out there, there are many that are overly confusion, overwhelming, and focused more around the teacher getting publicity than actually helping you.

Not every great guitar player is a great teacher.

You can certainly learn from watching YouTube videos, but it’s usually a scattered way of learning. We learn best when each lesson reinforces what you learned in the previous lesson(s), and slowly add on new concepts that are just out of your comfort zone. The typical stand-alone lessons you usually find might help you a bit at the time, but aren’t connected to other things you’ve learned.

The norm for other online guitar courses and lessons these days seem to be that they highlight the fact that they are LONG and INTENSIVE. While a course featuring 30 hours of videos, and covering a ton of different concepts, might help justify a high price tag, they aren’t actually very good for learning and retaining information.

I started Smarter Guitar out of frustration with a lot of the other online guitar websites, books, and learning materials out there.

How Smarter Guitar Can Help You

With Smarter Guitar, I often take the opposite approach than most of the other online guitar lesson websites out there.

The focus of Smarter Guitar is on easily-digestible, bite-sized lessons designed to help you make significant noticeable improvements in your guitar playing. Instead of watching videos of other guitar players, most of your time is spent actually playing your guitar.

More focused learning, broken up into short bursts, is actually much more effective than long stretched-out blocks. – Jonathan Harnum, The Practice of Practice: How to Boost Your Music Skills

One mistake most of us make is thinking that practice = progress. The problem is that the wrong way to practice feels right. We feel like we’re making progress – because we’re doing something – but most of us are experienced at practicing badly.

It’s not how much you practice that’s important, IT’S WHAT YOU PRACTICE.

The key to learning and improving is deliberate practice. It simply means focusing on a small sub-skill at a time, and practicing with a specific goal in mind.

When it comes to music, there’s definitely a lot to learn (and you should never really stop learning), but it’s much easier to learn (and actually make progress) when you break things down to small chunks.

Deliberate Practice is always just beyond our current ability and comfort zone. – Kathy Sierra, author of ‘Badass: Making Users Awesome

The lessons and practice recipes on Smarter Guitar are designed to help you cut through the clutter of learning guitar and music.

By narrowing down what to focus on with learning and practicing guitar, you can improve at guitar faster than other books and online lessons you’ve used.

Whether you’re looking to compose your own songs, make a living either playing in a band, selling your music, or teaching guitar lessons, or just play guitar to relieve stress, learning guitar should be fun.

Where To Go From Here

Check out my guitar lessons and other articles  and Guitar Practice Recipes and let me know what you think.

While this site has info that I know has helped me, I want to know what you need help with.

This site is new and is very much still a work in progress, but I would love to hear your feedback. I’m not naive enough to think that I know the best way to do everything. I want to know how you prefer to learn. What type of lessons are you looking for, but haven’t found out there?

Please hit me up through email at ‘Dustin @ smarterguitar.com or through the form below.

-Dustin Glass

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