Why Guitar Players Get
Stuck In A Rut (Part 1 of 3)
WARNING: This is NOT for beginners. Some may find it controversial. 

It’s not the common advice you’ll see around the web or on YouTube.

But for better or for worse, somebody needs to say it.
WARNING: This is NOT for beginners. Some may find it controversial. 
It’s not the common advice you’ll see around the web or on YouTube. But for better or for worse, somebody needs to say it.
Recently I was at a conference for professionals… 


(That’s me in the middle. Got to catch up with my friend, Charlie from Guitar Mastery Method. Great dude).
One afternoon we had a coffee break. And I was chatting in the lobby with 4 other guys…

Like any public event, we were passing around the usual “so what do you do” questions… 

I listened as each attendee told his story, and finally…
The attention shifted to me. 



Just as expected, I was asked the question that always makes me a little uncomfortable:

“So what do you do, Jonathan?”… 



(Maybe it’s me, but I don’t like to talk about myself. Plus I always get a strange looks when I tell people what I do)… 



Before I get too far though, let me give you a little background so this will make more sense…
I'll Be The First To Admit I'm No "Guitar Wizard"...
I haven’t memorized 50 songs front to back…

I don’t read music (like you’re “supposed to”)…

And though I’ve always secretly wanted to play traditional jazz…



I can’t. 

But what I can do is just pick up the guitar and improvise freely up and down the neck… from the music I hear in my head…

And I can do it over almost any song, even if I’ve never heard it before… 



Rock, fusion, and blues. Stuff like that. 



(I agonized over whether to share this video because it’s super old and embarrassing. But most people get confused. So here’s a short clip that gives a decent enough glimpse of what I'm talking about)…
Anyway. Back to the story…



After hinting at what I did for a living… as chance would have it… all 4 of these guys used to play guitar!

And as they told me about their experiences, I thought to myself: 

“Man, it’s amazing how many people used to play guitar - or even took lessons as a kid - but then got too busy or too frustrated and put it down”…

So… not thinking much of it… I gave them a couple of tips. Then expected the conversation to move on…

But I must have hit a nerve. Because they started pouring out their frustrations…


“I’m stuck in one area of the neck”… “I’m lost as to what to practice”… “I can’t get my fingers to cooperate”… “Theory just zooms over my head”… “I’m not musically gifted like other people”… “I just can’t figure out what I’m missing”…

They went on and on… feeding off each other about their struggles… 
Until, just out of courtesy (and to calm the situation down a little)…

I gave a few more tips, answered a few questions, and revealed a little more about my story.



I told them I owned a guitar school…



And that I focus solely on teaching adult males how to just pick up the guitar and improvise freely

You know… how to play the music in their heads without having to think about it… so they can jam with friends or along with any song they want… 



“WAIT!… You do WHAT?!"...

{Gulp}


That’s when I knew I’d gone too far. 

I’d have to explain everything. 

I looked to my right. And I watched the group I was supposed to have dinner with walk out the door without me…

I hesitated a moment, wondering if I should go…



.

.

Then I caved, and decided to stay and “spill the beans”…



I told them how I’ve taught Music Theory Graduates, Hi-level Business Executives, a Broadway Performer, Entrepreneurs, and even a Guitarist with over 55 years of experience…


And after 21 years of playing and teaching, I’ve found…
"The Biggest Mistake Most Guitar Players Make Is That They Try To Play "Guitar"... And Not Music"
They looked intrigued… 

But it was obvious I would have to explain more…



So I looked around at each of them like a quarterback in a huddle… 

Then I said, “Ok, I want you to name some musical instruments”…

I started them off. “Piano, saxophone, drums… you know… just name as many as you can…”

Collectively they rambled off instruments one after another, “Guitar, bass, keyboard, trombone…” until they ran out of instruments…

Then they looked back at me to see where I was going with this.

What I said next totally through them for a loop… 



I said, “So we’ve named a bunch of musical instruments, right?”…



“Right”, they began to nod in agreement.



Then I said “But I’m going to argue that… 
"The Guitar Is NOT A Musical Instrument!"
“Wait what?!”… “Huh?”…



They looked around at each other like “this guy must be smoking something”… 

I waited until they looked back at me… and until I had their full attention

“That’s right.” I said…

{Grin}

“The guitar is NOT a musical instrument.”

 Then I asked….
 
“If you take your guitar and lay it on the floor in front of you…

…how long do you have to wait before the music comes out?”

{Blank stares and eyebrow raises}

Then I asked again. Slower this time…



“If you lay your guitar on the ground… 



How long do you have to wait… 



Before music comes out?”



They thought about it for a couple of seconds…



.



.

Then one by one, their eyes began to sparkle…

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