Mastering the guitar takes time, commitment, and passion. After all, there’s a lot that goes into learning to properly play the guitar, from learning finger placements to figuring out how to strum with your finger and finger picks. While you certainly need to dedicate time to sitting down with your instrument, believe it or not, there are ways to work on your guitar skills without even touching your guitar.
Don’t have hours upon hours to commit to practicing? That’s OK. You can still improve your guitar skills without spending hours glued to your instrument or bugging those around you as you play the same riff over and over again.
In today’s busy world, you may only be able to squeeze in 20 minutes of practicing on some days. Sure, 20 minutes is better than none, but think about all the time you spend commuting or waiting in line at the grocery store – why not use that time to “practice,” even when you don’t have your guitar with you?
You can even use these strategies if you’re on vacation and don’t have access to an instrument! Check out these great tips from Jemsite.com about how to practice guitar without a guitar. No instrument? No problem!
1. Learn The Fretboard
The better you know your fretboard, the better you know your instrument, and the more easily you can move around it. Our first tip on how to practice the guitar without an instrument is to learn your way around the fretboard. Here’s one technique to try: slip a small fretboard diagram into your wallet so you’ll carry it around with you everywhere. When you have two spare minutes, you can pull out your chart and name notes to help memorize them. See how many you can remember off the top of your head and make a note of the tricky ones, so you can go back and visit them. If you don’t have the slip of paper handy, you can use visualization exercises. Picture a fretboard in your mind, pick some notes, and “see” where they occur on the fretboard image. The more you do this, the more you might be surprised at just how much progress you’ve made the next time you sit down with your guitar.
2. Learn About Chords
No matter how long you’ve been playing, there is always something new to learn about chords. Look around for sources of new ideas or information, find yourself some chord theory books, or study the chords used by great songwriters. Chat about chords with members of your community or see if there are any online music forums to explore. Even musicians who have been playing the guitar for years might find some new tidbits and facts about chords!
If you’re wondering how to practice acoustic guitar without disturbing others, you can always try this visualization trick. You can use visualization to work on all kinds of guitar skills. Visualization is the process of picturing a situation in your mind as if it were real. It has been proven that visualization stimulates the same nerve paths as actually performing actions, so it helps to reinforce your learning. Use visualization to practice chord changes and progressions, scales and licks, picking patterns, and whole songs. If you’re nervous about an upcoming audition or a performance, you can always use visualization to help build your confidence, too. Simply picture yourself hitting all the right notes and impressing your audience. After all, seeing is believing, right?
4. Develop Your Ears
Another tip in our guide on how to practice the guitar without disturbing others involves this fun game geared toward developing your ears. As you listen to music and other sounds in the street, try to pick out the sound of certain intervals or notes. Do you hear a specific pitch? Can you guess that chord? For example, you can designate a “major thirds day” where you try to spot major third sounds around you. You can even recruit a friend to join the challenge with you! Now that you can recognize specific sounds, see if you can replicate them on your guitar.
5. Study Music Notation
Many self-taught guitarists neglect music reading and writing skills. However, understanding music theory can make a world of difference when it comes to your guitar playing skills. It’s easy to practice the guitar without an instrument when you spend some time focusing on studying the actual music. Carry around some sheet music and you can practice reading it during your lunch break or on the bus. Look for patterns, and beware of any chords, fingerings, or rhythms that are especially tricky for you to play. Studying your sheet music in combination with your visualization activity can make a world of difference!
And there you have it – now having a “day job” is no excuse to forgo practicing! Even if you’re strained for time, you can find a way to make it work. For even more tips and tricks on how to practice the guitar without your guitar handy, you can always turn to your guitar teacher. When you sign up for online guitar lessons, your private instructor will provide you with all the advice you need to take your guitar playing to the next level, whether you have access to your instrument or not.
What do you think of these tips? Anything you’d like to add? Sound off below – and don’t forget to share with your friends if you liked these ideas!
Photo by joebeone