Guitar Roadmap

Because the guitar is such a versatile and flexible instrument, it can feel a little overwhelming if you’re not sure what skills to work on next. The goal of this roadmap is to provide some ideas for how you can take the next step forward, inspired by your musical interests.

Let’s begin by sketching out some broad topics representing popular musical styles and key skill areas. The great thing about learning an instrument is that you have the freedom to explore the areas that are most intriguing to you right now.

Questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome! You can post a comment below, or contact me directly.


Styles & Genres: Most guitarists and students I’ve worked with are primarily focused in one or more of the following broad stylistic areas.

Rock & Electric Blues
Played on an electric guitar with a pick. Classic rock, blues, modern and indie rock styles, etc.
Spanish, Classical, & Latin Guitar
Played fingerstyle on a classical or nylon string guitar.

Americana, Bluegrass, and Folk
Played on a steel string acoustic guitar using a pick.
Folk & Blues FingerstylePlayed fingerstyle on a steel string guitar



Skills & Knowledge: Here are some main skill areas that can be relevant to any style or genre.

Playing Technique
Picking technique (either with a pick or fingerstyle) is almost always the first important skill to focus on, and is related to which of the above stylistic areas you are currently exploring. If you are having trouble pulling off a song or melody technically there is often a simple technical principle or exercise you can practice to solve the problem.
Having a good feel for rhythm is often closely related to practicing the correct picking technique for whatever style you’re playing. We can also look at different songs and styles as relates to the underlying rhythmic patterns, and mapping out the rhythmic elements of a riff or song can be very helpful.

Chord Theory
Understanding how chords are built, and how they relate to each other in a major or minor key can make it much easier to learn songs by ear and write your own songs.
I’ve developed a simple but powerful system for quickly learning how to take a great solo in any key, anywhere on the fretboard. It can take some time to get fluent in this, but the underlying concepts are easy to learn with a little practice.


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