TAC Family Forums

Share your wins, get unstuck, or see how others use the TAC Method to create a fulfilling guitar life!

  • OwenGL

    December 14, 2021 at 8:11 am


    I tried to respond yesterday, but my response disappeared when I tried to edit it. I’ll try again.

    These are the things that have helped me. Take what helps, leave the rest behind.

    1. Your reason for playing is all that matters. Any lessons or skills that won’t get you there don’t matter. That reason may change in the future. If it does, you can tackle the other skills you need at that time.
    2. Focus on one or two key skills at the beginning. There are way too many skills to tackle all at the same time. When I first started a few years ago as a 40 yr old, I focused on open chords and strumming. Later, I added things like barre chords, hammer-ons, pull-offs, fingerstyle, etc.
    3. The daily lessons that don’t directly apply to the skills I’m focusing on are given 10 minutes and then I move on to something else. It doesn’t matter if I get the lesson “correct” or up to speed, just that I spend 10 minutes on it. I see this as slowly building up a base for later when I focus on whatever skill is in the lesson.
    4. Don’t try to learn/remember everything in the skills courses. You can always go back and retake them to pick up things you missed the first time.
    5. Find simplified versions of songs you want to learn (youtube is great for this) and have fun with them. This really is why we picked up guitar – we want to play songs. I have never heard someone who says “I want to learn guitar so I can play scales” or some other specific skill.
    6. The hardest thing of all – don’t compare yourself to others. We each have areas that we have focused on, so we tend to be better in those areas. It is easy to see others who have been playing for around the same amount of time that are good at all of these skills, but what we’re really doing is constructing someone that doesn’t exist that is good at everything.
    7. You are exactly as good as you should be given the amount of time and focus you are able to invest in learning guitar. We aren’t kids who can spend hours a day playing guitar. We have responsibilities and obligations that demand our time.
    8. Periodically try playing something you worked on in the past – you’ll find it comes much easier than it did originally and you’ll realize the progress you’re actually making.
    9. When you are working on something in practice and you finally get it “right”, stop. Walk away and work on it again at some later time. If you end your practice sessions with some kind of success, you’ll be more motivated to come back and try again.


    Now for barre chords. No, you don’t have to learn them. There are plenty of professional musicians who never play barre chords. There are some benefits to barre chords, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. Also, take it slow when you learn them. It takes awhile to get the hand strength and technique right and can be really fatiguing.

    Some reasons to learn barre chords:

    1. They help you learn the notes up and down the fretboard, especially on the two lower strings
    2. Sometimes it is easier to transition to/from barre chords
    3. Since your index finger is acting like a capo, you can easily change the key of a song simply by shifting all of your barre chords up/down the same number of frets. (doesn’t work if there are other non-barre chords in the song)
    4. You can play the same chords with different voicings. For example, you can play the D major chord the standard way on strings 1-4, but that leaves out all of the base. You could use a barre chord on fret 10 and use all 6 strings which makes it sound more full, but higher pitch. You could use a barre chord on fret 5 with strings 1-5 and get a little more base without going so high up the fretboard.


    It appears you aren’t the only one who is long winded. 🙂

    btw, I see you’re from Montesano – my sister lives there. small world