Overcoming Campfire Guitar Syndrome

There's an epidemic happening. It's hidden. You don't hear about it during the news on TV. And you won't read about it in any newspaper. (You might just discover it by overhearing whispers behind closed doors). And it's stopping the musical progress of many a budding guitarist. I like to call it "The Destroyer Of Kick-Ass Guitar Playing". It's also known as…

Campfire Guitar Syndrome


Seven Common Symptoms

How do you know if you have this shameful affliction? Well, luckily it's pretty easy to diagnose. Here are some of the usual symptoms…

  1. You started learning guitar on an acoustic guitar by learning the open position chords and a few barre chords.
  2. You have mastered a few strumming patterns.
  3. You know a few fingerpicking patterns.
  4. You can play a lot of songs. But most (if not all) of them only use open-position chords and maybe a few barre chords.
  5. When you try to learn songs that are more complex than basic strumming songs, you either can't, or you play them in a VERY tense way. (Your face may even look like you're taking a crap when you play).
  6. You have stayed at the same overall level of playing for a long time. (In some cases a VERY long time).
  7. You often struggle with playing in a relaxed, effortless and fluent way.

You might not have all of the above symptoms. But if you have more than three, then chances are you have Campfire Guitar Syndrome. (I really don't like being the bearer of bad news. But it's better to find out now rather than later).


The Solution

Well the goods news is that it has a cure. But the bad news is that it will take a significant amount of effort on your part. You will also need to overcome the crippling technical problems that you most likely have.

So please ask yourself the following questions…

  • Do I truly want to play at a much higher level than I can currently play?
  • Am I willing to completely change my current approach to guitar practice?
  • Am I willing to completely rebuild my technique in order to play better?
  • Am I willing to practice on a regular basis (at least 5 days a week) for as long as it takes to become a better player?

If you answered, "Yes!" to the above four questions, then you can most likely reverse your Campfire Guitar Syndrome. If you didn't answer "Yes!" to the questions, then your level of desire to improve may not be great enough. And without a burning desire to get good, it will most likely be very challenging to change.


Two First Steps

If you're still reading, then this means your strength of desire is strong. And that's fantastic. Here are two steps that will help you on the road to recovery…

Step One: Get One-On-One Help

Find a good guitar teacher. You need a teacher who can show you the microscopic technical aspects of playing guitar. They will also be able to show you how to practice effectively.

Step Two: Knowledge Acquisition

As well as getting lessons, I can highly recommend studying the work of master guitar teacher Jamie Andreas. She is one of the world's foremost experts on practicing and technique development. I also recommend buying her book and DVD called "The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar". I own them, and they have helped me a lot.

That's all for now. Good luck with your journey towards kick-ass guitar playing! And stop playing those damn open-chords. :-)


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