How to Be a Better Guitar Player
If you are tired of watching your friends and favorite musicians shred circles around you, take heed these tips for better guitar playing by eliminating inefficiencies right away. One of the biggest vices that a guitarist will face is staying within one’s comfort zone. If you can eliminate inefficiencies right off the bat, you won’t have anything standing in your way.
Firstly, you will need to develop or strengthen your finger technique. There are countless tutorials and lessons available on the Internet for this. Find and do finger exercises every day. The best way to bog yourself down is to start speeding up when you haven’t mastered a technique. Start extremely slow until you have perfected the chord, run, or exercise, and then work your way up slowly to faster speeds. This will prevent you from training your brain to mess up all of the time. If you find that monotonous practice wears on your motivation and love for the instrument and songs you like to play, play things you don’t like. If you can’t stand blues, play blues to help exercise your fingers and prevent exhaustion of your interests.
As for music theory, you may not be interested in learning it at all, especially the more mathematical methods for writing music. If you play the same chords and scales in the same position, you will get trapped in a box and your only good material will just be recycled or ripped off from the songs you have learned or heard. “Playing by ear” or “writing by ear” are not different phenomena than using music theory. You are simply taking the extra time to figure out each note at a time and tab it out onto the guitar from the tune in your head. Trust me: humans can only often write major scale tunes in their head until they have developed a spectacular ear for music. At the very least, memorize the entire fret board of notes, or at some spots that can help you compute a map, such as the white spots on the guitar neck. Instead of learning every scale in every position, learn the major, minor, harmonic minor, diminished, symmetric, pentatonic, and blues scales and/or any other exotic scale you like in the key of C or its most common key. Then just learn to transpose the scale across the neck. This will eliminate hours of wasted work and uncertainty. You can't think out of the box until you have understood the box and been inside of it.
At the most, you will be trading anything from a few weeks to a few months learning some concepts and practicing in depth for a one-hundred-fold return in the future. Just keep practicing to keep all of your new information circulating. You are now free to do what you want musically with your new toolkit mind and muscle.