The Curse Of The Intermediate Guitar Player

Everybody Speaks Music

Apr 26 2023 • 35 mins

What is the curse of the intermediate guitarist, you ask?

The curse of the intermediate guitarist refers to the common habits and beliefs that hinder the progress of guitar players in the intermediate stage. These habits include learning many songs but struggling to perform them in public, taking lessons from multiple teachers without committing to one approach, avoiding jamming with others, blaming gear for lack of progress, relying too heavily on apps and tutorials, and believing that musical ability is innate rather than developed through practice.
And most importantly, having unrealistic expectations.

How to break the Curse.

If you're an intermediate guitarist and you've hit a wall in your progress, you're not alone. Many guitarists find themselves in this frustrating position. However, there are steps you can take to ensure you reach your goal of becoming a musical guitarist. Here are some ideas to help you break the curse of the intermediate guitarist:

•Follow the Old Zen Adage

The old Zen proverb states, "Master one thing, master 10,000 things." This means instead of focusing on 100 songs or 100 different skills, narrow your focus down to one song. Focus on that one song until you have mastered it, until it becomes a part of you. This will teach you musicality and the skills you learn from this one song will be invaluable when you play other music.

•Pause Or Stop Reading About Music theory Focus on actually practicing What You've Already Learned

Stop buying books and learning different scales and things. Focus on the things you've already learned until you've mastered them. In this case, less is more. One scale properly utilized is infinitely more valuable than 20 scales where the player has no idea how to implement them.

•Play Everything Slowly

Playing slowly at a speed that allows the fingers to find their place is critical. When intermediate guitar players play too fast, they often create gaps between the transitions. These gaps are referred to as tailgating. It's equivalent to watching someone weave through traffic at rush hour, hoping that their excessive tailgating will forge a path ahead of all the other drivers so they can get where they're going faster. But, more often than not, this type of player slams on the brakes because they're going too fast and creates a whole bunch of problems. Tailgating is the enemy and it must be avoided at all costs. Play with a metronome, drummer, sheen or some form of rhythm device at a slower tempo until you gradually scale your playing up to the appropriate pace

•Consider Learning Other Instruments

Intermediate guitarists should also consider learning other instruments. Taking drum lessons for a month and learning how to read eighth notes, 16th notes, and triplets would enhance your guitar rhythm abilities. Sitting down at the piano for a month and learning how harmony works, or picking up a bass guitar so you can learn how arpeggios work, or taking a singing lesson so you can understand what melody really is and how to breathe properly are all great ideas. Learning other instruments will enhance your musicality and make you a better overall musician.


Don't forget how important it is to improvise. It could quite possibly be the single most important thing you do to enhance your musicality. Improvising is about feeling the music and expressing yourself. It's about letting go of inhibitions and playing with passion.

Remember, there are no shortcuts to becoming a great guitarist. However, by following these steps, you can have a great time, a productive time, and an efficient time. Stay away from the snake oil salesman and focus on things you love to play. Play them every single day and watch as you break the curse of the intermediate guitarist.