3 Types of Songs You Should Practice (To Play Guitar Better)

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Thank you Justin guitar!

I have a question:
I have been playing Silent Lucidity, one of my favorite songs, on guitar. But I have only been playing the beginning before all the other instruments come in. When you talk about playing a song the whole way through, do you mean playing the chords on the guitar in places where other intruments are playing in the actual song. I can’t think of any song I really like where the guitar is the only main instrument the whole way through. If someone could answer my question, that would be great.

Yes, Levi, the idea is to play the whole song, start to finish. Imagine friends or family know you play and ask you to play a song. Other than songs such as those played solo on guitar, you may be playing a different arrangement, just chords as you say.

Thank you. I know this is just me, but I have a certain distaste for acoustic covers or people playing songs on acoustic guitar that originally have lots of other instruments in them. However, since I posted that question up there, I have thought of a song that I really like that basically just uses acoustic guitar: “Dust in the Wind”, by Kansas. Probably more songs like that that I really like will come to mind. Either way, if I want to learn guitar, I should probably get over my disliking for acoustic guitar covers, although i think it would be rare that someone would ask me to play a song on guitar if the song wasn’t associated with guitar in some way. But then again, I’ve never been asked to play a song before so I might not know.

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No rights and wrongs, Levi. At it’s most basic level learning guitar is about playing songs or pieces.

If the solo singer-songwriter style is not your thing then maybe the alternative is to work to being able to play along with the original. You can do this using Justin’s App, downloading Backing Tracks, or of course the original recording. Perhaps pick songs in which the arrangements are not to complicated and maybe a single guitar plays through start to finish. And even then, when working through the first few grades, you may play a simplified part.

What is being discouraged is the habit of just learning song fragments. Being able to play pieces of songs, perhaps a chorus riff or an intro lead, is not the same as being able to play guitar.

100% this.

Learning bits & pieces, short riffs, fancy fiddling of a melody is a sure way to give up and put the guitar under your bed to gather dust. There are many, many folk who have been there and done that.

I didn’t know Silent Lucidity (Queensryche) so listened. There is a lot of guitar from start to fiish. It is totally a guitar song. The most prominent guitar is not playing acoustic strummed chords but is playing ‘arpeggiated’ chords - holding chords and picking single notes in repeated patterns. The song can 100% be played with strumming and the chords needed are among the 8 essential beginner chords you will learn through grades 1 and 2 of Justin’s beginner course - G, Em, C, D, am (apart from a key change for the solo only). WIth one note of caution … the bars are not all simple 4/4 but included an occasional bar of a very unusual 15/16 time signature.

4/4 as 16ths is counted:

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a

To play 15 / 16 time you would need to count:

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & (missing the final ‘a’)

But that is all way ahead in the future.

Learn the basics first - rhythm, rhythm is king. Then chords and chords changes. Then songs. Learn songs, learn songs, learn songs. I would dare to say that the Queensryche guitarist could easily play dozens and dozens of songs at a request show with just him and an acoustic. That ability is what makes him able to compose the complex and interweaving parts for their songs.


Richard, looks like copy, paste and not edited for the 15/16 count?

Fixed, thanks David.

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Levi … check this post for some goodies.