Feel Like Stuck at Intermediate Level

Hello everyone I wish you all a very good day.

I feel like I am stuck at intermediate levels because most of the time I don’t feel good enough to practice guitar and learn new things. I fell like I am lacking motivation but don’t know what to do. When I pick the guitar I just play some songs that I know and improv. on a backing track and that is it all the time it is the same. How do you avoid lack of motivation and keep practicing? What can I do to make me feel good enough to practice?


Hi Erkan,

I think your question applies to any skill or hobby in general so I’ll give you an answer unrelated to guitar.

I think it would be best to learn about learning and motivation in general. There is a podcast called “Huberman Lab” that Justin often recommends in his videos.

It has very specific information about how to optimise different aspects of your brain, including learning and motivation (sleep, emotions, stress are some others). Each episode is clearly titled with what it is about so you can pick and choose:

I suggest you have a look. Hope it helps.

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I have started to get out and about with other musicians and this has helped a lot with the motivation to expand and explore.

I love playing just in the house to chill out and unwind but that doesn’t really motivate to get out of the ‘comfort zone’.

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This is a very relatable feeling, one I constantly need to struggle with :pensive: Have you checked Justin’s late lesson THE OBJECTIVE OBSERVER ? That might help to be aware how much you’re interfering with your own self. Also have a look at his Books suggestions in the lesson.

Learn to be objective with yourself ( this is addressed to my own self too :blush:)

I’d suggest two things:

  1. Play with other musicians, as often as possible.
  2. When approaching your practice schedule, decide up-front that you’re going to rely on discipline rather than mood.

Other good motivational things can be stuff like writing your own songs, or learning about recording, et cetera.

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Also, start setting small goals, very small ones and dedicate 5 min per practice on that whether you want to or not.

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So much this. Don’t rely on motivation. Create a habit. Build a practice routine and do it daily. If you’ve come this far with Justin I assume you know all about practice routines.

Creating habits and relying on discipline (or really, automatic behaviour) goes a long way across most long term endeavours.


What works for me is learning songs I always wanted to learn, that keeps me pretty busy! The key here is to learn stuff you are ready for, so go for ones you think are doable and move up from there. Learning songs teaches you new techniques and tricks you will be using in your improvs. The more I play songs the more ideas I feel I am able to come up with so this would be my angle and advice to you :wink:


I think making progress will make you feel good. You obviously have a decent range of skills already but why not start writing your own songs?

Why not figure out some techniques that you dont know or dont do so well at and focus on them AND putting them into use on something you create yourself?

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Anytime I am in a rut, I put aside lessons, practice schedules ect… and just find some new songs to play. Choose songs that you can easily manage but are fun to play.

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CT came with a very interesting comment yesterday in this thread:
What five campfire should you have in your locker.

I have read your post earlier and just looked through the comments. After reading through other posts and watching few videos, I suddenly remembered your post and thought, maybe this could be an inspiration to get out of that “stuck spot” :pray:

CT posted a video link about chord progression. Very interesting. He also wrote “I would suggest “depositing” chord progressions” which my theory is not good enough to understand at all.

But I don’t need that much theory to be able to have a clue about chord progression and using the circle of fifth. There is even this one that can do some work for me: Circle of Fifth interactive wheel
Also I need just very basic understanding of scales and modes, hardly any time invested. Then we are good to go on the wildest exploration. :partying_face:

The narrator in the video also at one point say something like this “else we are stuck doing the same chords over and over again”. That point I recalled this post, so maybe this could be it for you!?!? With the very best wishes, that something somehow can brighten your day and especially getting fun and joy back into your Guitar Journey :sunglasses: :heart: :pray:


Change your guitar to electric or acoustic if you have them. Just use a second guitar if you have one. They feel different, play different and sound different.

Pedals for an altered vibe.

Inversions of chords to play a tune from a fresh perspective.

Shell voicings, take 7th chords and play the root, third and seventh only. Use these chord shapes as an anchoring and modify or add to them any extensions you want. If you know the underlying scale then you can see all the available diatonic notes right where your fingers are on the fretboard.

Modal playing ! A whole world of cool vibe lives here.

Take a break for a bit without feeling bad about it.

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Yeah, good shout Brian

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@kimlodrodawa. thanks for the shout out!

Sometimes talking about chord progressions over songs can be a bit of an uphill battle, and is admittedly not for everyone. The theory isn’t that hard to overcome, I still count out the chord numbers with my fingers sometimes. :slight_smile:

Being stuck at the intermediate level would be a good time to explore common chord progressions. Being able to layer progressions into a looper and then working with triads and melody lines – will actually move you up to being a more advanced player.

Speaking of circle of fifths, it’s a cool progression:


The only problem with this video is when he does his own progression at the end he is moving in 4ths not 5ths.

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This I understand and totally agree on, even as a beginner. - and thnx a lot for another pearl. Very informative for me. - Also from the video I posted, I learned that it can not only change key within the same piece, but also beat speed, time signature, everything. This is what opens the Pandoras Box, within music. It’s mind-blowing.

David Bennett is such a cool guy and really appreciate your post in the other thread. Also it’s on piano, which makes it way more clear in my ears, as I haven’t trained enough to hear all those nuances on the guitar. He is certainly on my favourites to watch and will without a doubt be a good support on my journey. - I don’t think I will ever get stuck, as the options are endless. - I will for sure not be the person doing the same few chords over and over and over, I am already out of that, even 7 weeks into my journey :wink:

@CT - The terms and talk about theory is somewhat step learning curve. But to get enough theory to go on the wildest exploration, is actually very easy and simple. It’s could actually be a wonderful idea as a short quick course made by Justin and team. - It will take like 8 - 10 lessons at around 12 - 15 minutes each and will be enough to prepare and give people enough knowledge, to get into the wildest exploration, even for beginners. “Title” - The road to become the new rock star :wink: :partying_face:

That post you made in the other thread, started an avalanche for me and have just propelled me another huge step further. Really appreciate and it is, IMHO the key to get out of “stuck spots”. :+1: :sunglasses: :heart: :pray:

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I won’t argue either way.


Maybe you could try tracking your progress somehow. Recently I started rating my playing. I have a couple of songs that I’m “working” on. After each practice I rate how well I think I played it. I’m rating from 1 to 5. That way i can see if/that I’m making progress.

The other day I was telling my daughter how when you learn guitar you often don’t notice much improvement from one day to the other but as long as you keep going all the small steps will compound. So maybe visualizing the progress somehow could help.
Good luck!

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