Make Progress Faster by Putting Your Guitar Down • Acoustic Tuesday 304

Put the guitar down and listen up — no, seriously. Put it down in your lap and unlock a new way to approach the acoustic guitar.

On this episode, we’re diving into something that has affected all of us guitar players at one point or another: the dreaded guitar rut. You know, that feeling when you’re stuck, unmotivated, or just unable to find creativity in your playing? Trust me, I’ve been there, but fear not, I’ve got a solution for you!

In this episode, I’m going to take you on a journey into playing your guitar lap style with a slide. Now, this might seem like a peculiar solution, but it’s all about gaining perspective and shifting the way you think about playing your guitar. I firmly believe this change can be a lifeline when you’re stuck in a rut.

Here are the five incredible benefits of playing lap style that we’re going to explore together:

  1. Gain New Perspective: By laying the guitar across your lap, you’ll approach the instrument in a whole new way, refreshing your creativity.
  2. Learn Alternate Tunings: Lap style opens the door to various tunings, allowing you to explore sounds you never thought possible.
  3. Finger Style Proficiency: You’ll see some exciting advancements in your fingerpicking technique, trust me on this one.
  4. Ear Training: Tuning your guitar differently and playing lap style will help you develop a more refined and trained ear.
  5. Innovation through Limitation: By limiting yourself to this new style, you’ll find innovation in places you least expected.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for new challenges or a seasoned player needing a breath of fresh air, this episode is packed with insights and exercises that will surely reignite your passion for playing. So grab your guitar, a slide, and let’s break free from that rut together!

Featured in this episode…

  • Will McNicol  
  • Matty Grove  
  • Yamaha Guitars  
  • The Bluegrass Situation  
  • Premier Guitar  
  • BillyStrings  

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  1. Hey Tony !
    I walked myself through this experimental guitar suggestion you just made, (on my own, ) about a month ago !
    I had purchased a Gretsch resonator (round neck) with Fishman Nashville pickup, built-in.
    I found a nut adjustment, the same Lap Dawg Tonebar ($70. Cdn., ouch) and I resurrected 1968 metal National picks + a Tommy Emmanuel thumb pick from 2014 when I met him on his 1st Canadian visit to Calgary !
    Started listening to the likes of the one and only Mr.Gerry Douglas and others, and thought,…OK, I can do this,…perhaps.
    Talk about “old dawg, and new tricks”
    anyway, it has been FUN !
    I turned 74 in July, play about a dozen instruments and played 6 paid gigs
    ( concerts) this past week !
    Thank goodness for my music and all my music friends !
    My biggest lifetime music thrill, was in 1970, when I was playing bass and singing with a 6 voice harmony group and we met and “opened” for Neil Diamond in Toronto, in front of 16000 screaming tenny-boppers !
    My Mom is my hero, she turns 96 this coming Aug.22 ( Tuesday) and she still sings and plays piano in public, in my hometown on Cape Breton Island!
    Who knows,…with my Mum turning 96 on Tuesday, there may be some hope, for me !
    Best Wishes from Calgary, Alberta
    Robb Mann
    Singer/Songwriter/ Entertainer

  2. Hi Tony, I love the idea of playing lap style, especially with my larger guitar that I no longer play due to shoulder issues. Do you have any lessons for lap style?

  3. Thanks! I’m struggling due to benign tremor in my fretting hand. I cant find a flow when my fingers wont securely address the strings. I’ll see if this different way of playing that might remove that barrier.

  4. Dear Tony,
    Your last few episodes featuring the Beard guitars were amazing! And to know that I am only a short drive (less than an hour) from their shop is very enticing. I’ve experimented with a cheap Rogue lap steel and an amplifier and had tons of fun trying to play some of David Gimour’s lap steel compositions on the DSOTM and WYWH albums. I also shared with you and so have others below that a finger injury doing landscaping last year made me think of learning slide and lap steel. It’s also a great to extend one’s guitar enjoyment once the fretting fingers ger tired! 🙂 Your episode today with suggestions on how to convert a standard acoustic guitar to a lap guitar are very helpful and also enticing as I’ve really enjoyed watching you and hearing you play your square neck acoustic guitars. The new Beard Trailhead guitars are amazingly beautiful!! Of course, I’m also thinking of other Gilmour acoustic tunes that may use slides and lap guitar (e.g., Pillow of Winds from the Meddle album – amazing composition!!). Please let me recommend a brilliant idea if you haven’t already thought of it… please include lap guitar lessons as an optional course on TAC. These can be either part of the subscription or add-ons or both (beginner as part of subscription with intermediate and advanced as add-ons), as another way satisfy this desire of aspiring guitarists that you may have also helped to increase! Cheers! 🙂

  5. Funny, but I did this exact thing (lap guitar) in April after I had a Reverse Shoulder Replacement and I could not play standard guitar. (In fact I just recently – like the last 2 weeks – was able to play acoustic again.) I couldn’t get my arm to reach around the body and into the correct position. Much PT and trial has me able to play it again now, although only for short periods of time so far. I was able to play electric after mid- May (Strat/Tele) because the body is so much thinner, but I’m a lot happier now! So I used an old (cheap) Parler guitar, got the nut extension, and a Shub SP-2 slide and worked on it in Open G. I love it. I’m probably going to get a squareneck and really try to get into the Dobro thing in addition to my regular playing. I definitely recommend this to everyone. The nut extender and a slide are pretty inexpensive and it is a heck of a lot of fun!

  6. I was right with you to try slide until you said nut extender. After that and not being able to use a normal guitar to try slide, I’ll pass. BUT you know what, you continue to amaze me and have great ideas, and every day I enjoy TAC and plan to continue to do that. I get something EVERY day that is useful or entertaining, and I just really like how TAC keeps me involved. Thanks Tony. Steve

  7. I already own a Squareneck Reso; Beard Deco Model 47. Got a great deal on it used. Looking to get lessons on it as I’ve been self taught until now. Last year took a class at Camp Bluegrass with Jimmy Heffernan. But need more constant lessons. It’s hard to find a Dobro instructor. Maybe you can start a site? Love your guitar teachings!

  8. Yamaha makes great instruments. It was nice to see them recognized.
    Couldn’t help but notice a little “Beg, Steal, or Borrow” during your guitar lick section. Always good stuff, Tony 🙂

  9. Very cool idea in getting a different perspective. I do a version of this in drawing, by turning a photo of the subject upside down to force the brain to think outside of the “normal” box. This episode is also going to get me to pull out my 40 year old Yamaha dreadnaught (acoustic only) to practice with for a while. I mostly play Ovation guitars and love them but the Yamaha has a resonance and deep end that my other instruments can’t match. Thanks again Tony for putting new life back into my guitar experience.