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Tony’s Acoustic Challenge – The New Way to Learn Guitar Family Forums Community Support I’m not stuck, but I don’t feel that it’s coming together.

  • I’m not stuck, but I don’t feel that it’s coming together.

    Posted by Rosindyj on March 10, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    I usually play 5 times per week and I try to review previous days lessons. I’m definitely learning some skills. It’s probably crazy on my part, but I like waiting for a breakout. I just finished the 1st year of the challenge. Have I hit a brick wall?

    Philb replied 1 year, 4 months ago 7 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • jumpinjeff

    March 10, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    The walls we hit are pretty much our own creation. I found most of the time I did I was suffering from expectations. The question is do you have clear direction, enough to get you through the wall? And mind you I am not saying you stand before one: only you determine that. Is your playing fun every time you pick up your guitar? That goes a long way to making the endless journey (learning how to play guitar) a journey worth remembering. So two questions and we’ll go from there.

  • Philb

    March 11, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Everybody is different in how they approach it. Here is what works for me. 1) I spend time playing a few things I have learned in the past to warm up. 2) I keep doing the daily lessons to learn or improve on skills (that is my foundation), and sometimes work on a skill course. 3) I have a song I am working on. I get the songs from various places on the net, or from the old “song vault” that used to be a part of TAC. When I am done with one song; I find a new one; and so keep applying my improved skills as I go along to a song. Some of the songs I choose are actually simple, but still good to learn as I like them; some are challenging. It doesn’t matter if it takes me a long time to get it down fairly decently.

    I find this approach helps me 1) maintain some things I learned; 2) keeps me improving on skills; and 3) allows me to put things into practice on actual songs.

    My nature is such that I need an organized approach. LOL
    I hope you find what works for you so you keep going with enjoyment.

    • Rosindyj

      March 12, 2023 at 9:10 pm

      Your response means a lot to me. This is only the 2nd time in over a year that I used this wonderful portal. The responses have been concise and meaningful. My quest will continue in a manner that brings me fun and success. Thanks, Jeff

    • Rosindyj

      March 27, 2023 at 8:05 am

      Good morning Philb. A few weeks ago I think it was you who sent me the “song book” that is still available. I was out of town for work and lost the link. Please send me the link when you have the time. Thanks, jeff

  • mcarlson_sb

    March 11, 2023 at 11:06 pm

    Background :

    I’m a professional technical coach (software skills). I don’t teach guitar, however, I can tell you that the skills acquisition patterns (especially mixed physical/mental skills) are very similar.

    The first important thing is that as we gain skills we move from large improvement to refinement. Large improvement feels like we are “learning fast” because the difference is very visible. Refinement can feel like a wall if we aren’t used to observing fine differences.

    Key concept : as we improve at a skill it’s important to also improve our observations of the skill so we can see ever smaller differences.

    It’s those small differences that separate an average good player from an elite player (whether in sports, music, martial arts, etc.)

    The second important thing is balance.

    Our ability to perform a skill is limited by our weakest fundamental.

    Tony has broken the complex skill of playing guitar down into five fundamental skills. If one of these five is out of balance we can feel like we’ve hit a wall. The more out of balance these skills the higher the wall feels.

    That wall is the current limit of our ability to perform actions quickly and under control.

    And the only way to get past it is to identify the fundamental skill that is the limiter and bring it back into balance.


    Maybe I worked really hard on my scales and improv and got REALLY good there. But at the same time let my chord changes lag. I’m going to have great control with solos but struggle to play “up to my ability” with the rest of the song.

    But once I raise the lagging skill the whole of my playing will improve. Often even my best skill, because it was also being held back by being out of balance.

    key concept : balance is fundamental. improving balance increases our overall ability to perform skills with quick easy grace.

    The third thing is to make sure you find your “learning zone” – where you are pushing the edge of “quick easy grace under control” over into “haste and mistake”

    (as we improve balance, that edge will move. so we need to check it every once in awhile to find it again)

    Once we find that edge we want to dial it back to the controlled side.

    But not so far that it’s easy and boring.

    To learn quickly we have to push ourselves enough to be a little frustrated – but not so frustrated we quit.

    Just enough to enjoy and celebrate the success when we push through.

    Those are my best tips as a professional coach.


    • the-old-coach

      March 12, 2023 at 3:35 pm


      WOW- you have made a fantastic post here- very detailed yet easily readable and “follow-able” in actions. I favoritized this thread….. just to be able to easily refer back to your post. (I have done this many times with other posts that just “hit the nail on the head” for me.

      To me, playing songs feels “more fun” than playing scales-(etc), but I feel like I’m learning WAAAY less just by playing songs. “Nuts-and-bolts-y” stuff such as scales and chord transition efficiency are really the stuff I **NEED** to play those songs better. It’s a Catch-22, for sure.

      I’m working on a few original songs- (fiddling with them, changing keys, lyric sections, chord progressions, etc- it never ends)- and I feel that spending so much of my guitar-session-time doing THAT actually hurts my guitar/playing/learning in a way.

      Speaking to your mention of noticing “refinement”—– to put it into terms of painting a house— the “main color” goes on fast- (you notice the huge difference immediately), the “trim”, however, covers much less area, and goes on WAAAAY slower………. but THAT’s what makes a home look “sharp” in the end. My silly 2-cents worth.

      Thanks again for your great post!


    • Rosindyj

      March 12, 2023 at 9:05 pm

      Amazing advise that has helped clarify and give understanding to my issues. The TAC Family really is supportive. Thanks, Jeff

    • HowardM

      March 13, 2023 at 2:27 am

      Excellent suggestion and explanation.

  • Timbothirroul

    March 12, 2023 at 3:39 am

    My 2 cents worth would be to find a very simple song you enjoy and play it. Or play along with a recording. Nothing taxing, just have fun with it. I am lucky I have grandchildren to play with so I get to play and sing some simple songs (and some unexpectedly hard ones too!)

  • Rosindyj

    March 12, 2023 at 9:01 pm

    Wow! Your advise just blew my away. What you’ve written makes a great deal of sense and informs me about why I feel I’m not putting it together. Undeveloped skill in the 5 day sequence is never even. I truly appreciate the effort you put into you response. Thanks, Jeff

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