Piano and Keyboard lessons from Glenn Sutton in Poway and San Diego

How to Transition from Beginner to Intermediate Guitarist

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Interested in learning the electric, bass or acoustic guitar? Need lessons in the Scripps Ranch or Sabre Springs area? Would you like to learn to play your favorite songs?

Contact Glenn Sutton at 619-306-3664.

Taking your guitar skills to the next level

When you first began with your guitar, there was a lot to learn. From the basic parts of the guitar to where to put your fingers and what strings meant what sound, you may have felt overwhelmed. Soon, with determination and practice, you were able to play some simple songs. How do you take that next step? This article offers some insight into moving from newbie to emerging guitarist.

Challenge yourself

After you warm up with some rote scales and those little ditties that make your fingers flex, you are ready to try something new. Sure, we all have a go-to song or two that can wow listeners and make you feel confident, but what you really want now is something you can’t play. Really! Get out of your comfort zone.

What you’re looking for is something that holds your interest and frustrates you just enough that you want to master it. You don’t want something so easy that it only takes you a few tries to perfect, but you don’t want something so hard that you will lose hope. If you find a piece that still excites you, even though it seems impossible, keep it in mind. Revisit it as you progress and eventually you’ll be ready to tear it up.

What you’ll find is that the further out of your comfort zone you get, the bigger your comfort zone stretches. Soon, that piece you never thought you’d be able to play will become one of your go-to ditties, and you’ll be tackling ever more difficult pieces.

Go deeper into music theory

Once you get past basic tablature and you no longer have to recite “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” to know what note to play, it’s time to dig deeper into your craft. Music is a lifelong learning experience, and even the most gifted or educated doesn’t know it all, ever.

While most rock pieces reside in 4/4 time, there are a myriad of other tempos out there to play with. Listen to some progressive rock or classical and find something that excites and frustrates you. Play with it until you get it, then chose another.

You may be all over basic fingering or barre chords. Now try some new tricks, such as fingerstyling, hammer-ons, or alternate picking. Check back on this site for how-tos on these and other methods.

Mess around with your practice pieces. For instance, instead of strumming a tired cord, break it up by articulating it as an arpeggio. Don’t know what that means? Woot! You already have a challenge to investigate (and other articles to check out here).

Hang out with other musicians

If there is one thing that challenges a musician, it’s another musician. Whether you are part of group lessons or you are lurking on YouTube, find others that you admire and learn from them. See live bands in smaller venues so that you can really watch what the guitarists do differently. Each player has his or her unique style, and you are in a prime time of your career to really focus on developing yours. It’s OK to poach techniques and bits of style from others, we all do it.

Continue practicing the basics

Even the most accomplished musicians still practice their scales and many will always have coaches. Just because you are moving up in the musical world doesn’t mean you can abandon the basics. Muscle memory is key to good playing, and only concerted practice can develop that for you. The best of the best were borne of practice, practice, practice.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664 or email: guitarman.glenn@gmail.com

Bass Guitar

Services include:

  • Electric Guitar Lessons
  • Bass Guitar Lessons
  • Acoustic Guitar Lessons
  • Keyboard Lessons
  • Piano Lessons
  • Organ Instruction
  • Learning to Write Music
  • Advanced Improv Techniques
  • Performance Techniques



  • Rock
  • Classic
  • Folk
  • Jazz
  • Improv
  • Blues


  • Sabre Springs
  • Scripps Ranch
  • Poway
  • San Diego
  • Rancho Bernardo
  • Rancho Penasquitos
  • 4S Ranch