How to learn songs on guitar (don’t do THIS) • Acoustic Tuesday 308

Cut the gimmicks and tricks — it’s time to sit down and LEARN.

On this episode of Acoustic Tuesday, I’m unveiling the secrets to learning a new song swiftly and effectively. Grab your guitars and notebooks because you won’t want to miss this one!

In this episode, I’m breaking down the process into two fundamental parts to prevent you from feeling swamped or overwhelmed. Remember, understanding and mastering a song doesn’t have to be a strenuous endeavor. Let’s dive right into it!

Part 1: Mastering the Essential Skills
I’m going to walk you through breaking a song into five vital skills that are your stepping stones to mastering any tune:

Technique: Breaking a song down into its essential techniques helps focus on the essentials. If you can’t do what the song requires, dial it back and practice specific techniques.
Licks: These are moments of flourish or melodic expression that add style and memorability to any song. Isolating these moments and solely focusing on them during a playing session can help allocate your time.
Improvising: Explore the art of personalizing the song, making it uniquely yours, and getting more comfortable expressing yourself.
Rhythm: It’s the heartbeat of the song, and I’ll share tips on how to nail it every time.
Chord Transitions: We’ll go through smooth transitions to ensure a melodious flow throughout.

📖 Part 2: Understanding the Context
In the second half of our episode, I underscore the importance of learning the context of a song. 

Trust me, it’s a game-changer. Imbibing the history and the essence of the song not only enriches your rendition but also fuels your passion to honor the song and its roots. We’ll travel back in time to discover the stories behind the tunes, fostering a deeper connection and inspiration as you play.

By the end of this episode, you’ll find that learning a new song is no longer a daunting task, but a joyous journey of discovery and mastery.

Featured in this episode…
– David Flammang Guitars
– Michael Kennedy Guitars  
– Cameron Knowler  
– Jake Eddy

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  1. 1ST time watching and only 12 weeks into the program. I really enjoyed listening and picked up a couple ideas for moving forward. Much was over my head but it gave me incentive to practice more as well as learning how much more information there is in the world of guitars. I’ll be watching more in the future.

  2. Well done session and lesson! Good explanation of the five components you have been emphasizing since day one…
    I’m a slow learner and need all the emphasizing I can get!! 🙂

    Dust off those rusty strings just one more time,
    Gonna make them shine 🙂

  3. Great episode Tony! Breaking a song down and fitting into the weekly challenge framework is good prep for following the lessons.

    For topherC and others: join the Fretboard Wizard as soon as you can and it’ll really tie things together!
    Thanks Tony & all you other Guitar Geeks!

  4. Echoing others below – this was a great episode – Thank you Sir!

    I really enjoyed how you showed how to make any song accessible “where you are at” and then use that to push your growth while developing your repertoire – slick! Also enjoyed the drop about basing your solos around the melody – it sounds painfully obvious now but I had previously struggled on “where to start” on the improv days with the backing track. Mystery solved!

    Looking forward to next week’s episode – I am a new comer – it will be cool to see where it all started.

    Question – do you have any “index” or table of contents of the previous episodes? I am trying to see if you have given any details on how to transpose melodies (from your idea above) from sheet music to our solos? Or alternatively, using our “ear” to pickup the lick from the tune?

  5. Thanks for this; it was fantastic. I can imagine it might be very helpful to perhaps flash some fingering charts up on the screen for chord shapes in ‘unconventional’ positions, e.g. playing up the neck.

  6. Tone, you crushed it here. You have clearly outlined the difference between finger choreography and learning how to play the guitar. I got hung up on finger choreography before I was physically ready to play the songs I was attempting to learn. You saved me: right in the nick of time I decided to learn the building blocks as presented and get process oriented instead of goal oriented. Never been happier with playing guitar and never looking back with any regret. Now my mind, fingers, elbows, shoulders, wrist, and hands are ready to play and the choreography I was hung up on?… obsolete. Now I just play.