Ever wonder if getting good at guitar just requires natural talent…

Kinda feels like no matter how much you practice, you just can’t get good, right?

Yeah, I felt that way too… And I hated it!

Hey, I’m Sam and on this page, you are going to learn the secret to getting good that all the pros know and why I’m dispelling the old fashioned teaching methods that just waste your time.

It all started when I was watching videos of Metallica live one night and was just in complete awe.

The powerful guitar sound, the electric crowd and the sight of Kirk Hammett’s fingers flying across the guitar at light speed left me saying “Woahhhh“.

I decided there and then to learn guitar.

I just NEEDED to be able to play like that.

My mum dug out her 30 year old guitar from the attic for me to play and I was so excited.

It was an acoustic guitar with a massive hole in the bottom and action higher than Big Ben but I didn’t care.

I was playing guitar!

Within weeks I could play most chords.

Within months I could play my favourite riffs.

It sounded terrible but it felt awesome.

I was playing those same riffs that I had drooled over just a few months before!

And it just kept getting better…

For Christmas later that year my parents got me an electric guitar with my own practice amp.

It was a Squire Telecaster and a Marshall MG10.

And they sounded epic.

Playing felt so much easier without massively high action and I could finally make the riffs sound good!

Over the next few months I spent hour after hour blasting out my favourite riffs and feeling like I was on top of the world.

It felt like the fun was never going to end.

Until one day, it did…

By now I had learnt all my favourite riffs.

I had played them over and over again and playing them any more was just boring.

Playing solos still felt way off, I didn’t have a clue how improvising or scale shapes worked and the riffs I hadn’t learnt were just too hard to play.

So where could I go next?

I didn’t know.

I felt like there was some kind of secret to soloing and playing faster riffs but I didn’t know what it was.

If I knew it then I felt that a whole new world of guitar playing would very quickly open up to me.

But I didn’t know it.

So I ended up playing less and less and less until I was just playing once or twice a week for 5 mins at a time.

Guitar was no longer fun.

I got to a point where I was so stuck and frustrated with my playing that I got my mum to book me some lessons.

Maybe a teacher could show me the secrets of soloing, improvising and writing music.

In the run up to my first lesson, I got really excited.

I felt like I would learn loads and that he would answer all my questions.

I turned up to his house, he sat me down in his music room and…

He just wanted to teach me chords.

Ughhhhh.

Alright, I’ll get through the chords quickly and then he’ll teach me how to solo.

I came back the next week and he just wanted to teach me chords again.

This happened again the next week, and the next week, and the next week…

I was asking him questions all the time about soloing, improvising and writing music but he always replied with waffle.

He was hiding the fact that he just didn’t know.

He just wanted to keep on teaching me easy stuff each week so that I kept on paying him because he didn’t know anything more than chords.

I began to hate these lessons.

They were useless and a waste of money.

I was soon on my knees begging my mum to cancel them.

After an entire year of lessons and hundred of pounds later, I was back in square one.

I still felt stuck but I now had a fiery determination to find the answers to my questions.

I knew they wouldn’t come to me so I had to go out and find them.

And by going out and finding them, I mean searching on Google.

I viewed countless forums, read loads of articles and watched loads of YouTube videos and all the people on these platforms said the same things…

To get good at guitar you have to be naturally gifted or just practice, practice, practice.

I wasn’t naturally gifted so that first piece of “advice” was useless to me.

And okay, practicing is a good idea… But practice what?

That’s the part that no one ever mentioned.

I was young, so I had the time – and by now the desire – to practice more.

But I still didn’t know what to practice.

When I looked for the answer for that, everyone just said to practice scales.

But how? Why? What should I actually do with those scales other than go up and down them?

I didn’t really know but I decided to give this practicing thing a go.

By now, it was the summer holidays so I had lots of time on my hands.

I put together a list of every guitar technique I could think of and specified the amount of time that I should practice them.

I put together a list worth 9 hours of practice and would aim to complete the list each day.

If I practiced 9 hours a day for all 6 weeks then I was just bound to get good, right?

And so it began.

I pushed myself harder than ever, churning out hour after hour of practice.

I declined my friends’ offers to go out with them, I rarely saw my family and my girlfriend got so fed up of me having no time for her that we even broke up.

I essentially became a hermit.

I just HAD to get good and the more I practiced, the better I knew I would get.

The weeks went by and I even reached 11hrs 30mins of practice in one day.

(I still don’t know how I managed that lol)

And after practicing in this machine-like mode for a month, I decided to look back on my progress…

And it wasn’t much.

Despite practicing 9 hours or more per day, I was still only slightly better than I was a month ago.

I felt crushed.

By now I knew more scales and could play some faster licks but I still didn’t feel like I had gone anywhere.

I still didn’t know how to improvise, I still didn’t feel like I could play anything impressive and I still had no clue how soloing worked.

I was no closer to what I wanted to achieve.

This 9 hours a day thing just wasn’t working.

My finger tips were crying out for help and I began to really miss going out with my friends.

I just couldn’t keep it going much longer and was getting more frustrated by the minute.

I decided I needed to cut my practice time down.

Loads of what I was practicing wasn’t even relevant to what I was trying to achieve.

It was just a time filler to reach 9 hours.

At this point I realised that – when it comes to practicing – quality always beats quantity.

Everyone said that if you practice more then you will get better.

But I found this not to be true.

I realised that I didn’t need to practice 9 hours a day to get good.

But if I practiced 1 hour a day of something really valuable then my progress would be so much faster.

I wanted improvisational freedom, the ability to play difficult solos and write my own solos.

So I decided to purely focus on those three things

That meant learning and analysing my favourite solos, practicing pre-made licks that I could use when improvising and generally bridging the gap between scales and melody.

I didn’t need to practice all the other pointless stuff that was on my list just to fill the time.

So in those final two weeks before the end of the summer holidays, I tried this new way of practicing.

And I loved it.

I found it so enjoyable and I made progress faster than I had done in the entire month beforehand.

And by the time school began again, I felt like my guitar playing had reached a whole new level.

And I had my social life back 🙂

It felt amazing to finally be achieving my goals of where I wanted to be as a guitar player.

I learnt the hard way to practice smarter, not harder.

And that’s why I created this blog, to try and dispel the old fashioned “more is better” myth.

I wanted to teach people methods that will actually get them results.

And get rid of the outdated teaching methods that most teachers are still using which end up just wasting your time.

I know because I’ve tried them like you!

The fact is, we all have busy lives and practicing 9 hours a day isn’t something that most of us want/have the time to do.

And you really don’t need to anyway.

Because you can make rapid progress if you practice the right stuff for 30-60 mins a day.

And that’s how much most people practice anyway!

Hopefully you can see from my story and the lessons I’ve learnt, that it really is possible for you to become a great guitarist too.

If I could get one result from this site, it’s getting you to become smarter about how you learn guitar.

Because this – above all – will help you become the guitarist you always wanted to be.

I hope that you can find the content here on my blog helpful in that pursuit.

Cheers,

Sam Olverson

P.S. If you have any personal enquiries, guitar-related questions or videos of you now being able to shred thanks to my work, then you can email me here: sam@beastmodeguitar.com