Ever noticed that famous guitarist plays guitar so fluently without even checking the notes and strings placement. It looks like music is flowing right over them. Those guitarists are actually experts in the zone, called muscle memory.
Equally, some people find it panting and time-consuming. The problem is not in the technique but in the skill of memorizing what to play. You may memorize the song but may not be able to play the notes fast.
All that means you need to improve your muscle memory. So, here we’ll help you improve guitar muscle memory with our expert tips. We hope this will help you to build your muscle memory than ever. So, take a look.
Know What Is Guitar Muscle Memory?
Guitar muscle memory denotes the skill of muscle that comes back to the brain. It’s a skill of moving muscles, and the unconscious memory of the brain controls the muscle movements. The skill is achieved through repetition for long.
It will never be achieved by memorizing but with the practice over time. The more you practice, the better you’ll be on chord switches, notes, and strings. It is similar to other skills like tying shoelaces and riding a bike.
Tips to Improve Guitar Muscle Memory
If you are one of those who struggle to hit the right notes, you should check on the following tips. These will surely beef up your muscle memory.
1. Give It a Slow Start
Whenever you are in a rush to learn something, you should start slowly. The faster you learn, the sooner you’ll forget it. Indeed. People become fast and proficient with time. You should start as slow as possible. Also, you know your limit, so choose a speed that you are comfortable with.
2. Try Using a Metronome
Well, consider it as a secret tip. Though many people avoid it, you know this works like magic. We are talking about using a metronome. This is associated with the speed you’ll be playing. And, here, speed ratings are denoted as bpm (beats per minute).
Keep a metronome alongside and set it to a slow pace. That’s because it will help you to play without making mistakes. As we said, start slowing, and a metronome can help you do that.
Then, increase the tempo gradually until you get your desired speed. Metronome not only helps to increase the speed, but it also ensures accuracy. Note that it may take time to be proficient, so keep patience.
You shouldn’t play it at the original bpm, mainly while playing an electric guitar along with overdrive pedals.
3. Practice, Practice, and Practice
As you know, practice makes a man perfect. Especially, consistency is essential in building muscle memory. The more you practice, the faster your brain can teach your muscles. Have a shorter session, but make it frequent. It will bring a more favorable result than practicing for too many hours and leaving it for days.
The better way is to practice every day for an hour and make the routine for seven days. Believe it, shorter and regular sessions are more effective than more prolonged but irregular sessions. So, forget about marathons that you cannot follow every day.
4. Watch Out Your Mistakes
Note that, the way our memory remember good things, the same way it remembers bad things. If you do the wrong technique, again and again, it will not consider it as mistakes. So, you need to watch out your mistakes and correct them immediately.
See, if you play an incorrect scale repeatedly for hours, it will be difficult for you to play them correctly. That’s because your finger will move to the wrong note. It is essential to practice the correct note and practice it frequently.
5. Learn Chords Well
The basics of playing correctly and efficiently are learning chords. It is true. And, this is where most of us struggle. Staring from C to G is difficult for most beginners. You can perfect that chord switching and smooth motion by practicing slowly or even without playing.
Focus on what each of your fingers is doing. If you find it challenging to practice with all fingers, try one finger at a time. You can use the metronome and set the slowest possible pace to improve yourself. After doing it for a long time, you’ll no longer be thinking about the chords.
6. Break the Song in Parts
Do not try the whole song at a time. You can break it in parts that are manageable to you. Start with learning one section at a time and practice it slowly. Watch out your hands and gradually speed up until you reach the full speed.
After completing one part, move on to the next section. Then, practice both parts together in one session. Make sure to remember the sequence, so you don’t get messy.
Repetition makes new paths in the brain that becomes programmed to do the practiced activity. Muscle memory doesn’t exist in the muscle; instead, it lives in the brain. As we said, it is more like a memory for muscles. So, repetition brings a positive impact on the brain. After repeating many times, you’ll be able to do it automatically.
8. Bring Variation
Even though you do it slowly, practice every day, and repeat the beat, you may feel bored. It seems like nothing is working at all. It means you need variation in your practice sessions. You can do it at 50:50.
It means practice half time something that you mastered. Then, the second half time, you can spend on learning something new.
9. Feel the Music and Learn Strum Patterns
Don’t be so aggressive about avoiding mistakes while you learn a new strum pattern. The effective way is to get into the groove. It means to be comfortable, don’t worry about sounding bad, and get into the music.
Once you feel the music, you can get the strum pattern quickly. So, you can eliminate mistakes from your muscle memory when you strum the pattern repeatedly.
10. Learn Shapes and Sounds
In the case of guitar playing, you only need to know the shapes. For example, 1st fret on the 6th string is called F, and 3rd fret on the 6th string is G. Both looks the same, and you have to keep your hand and fingers in the same position. But, the difference is that both moves either way.
This happens with other parts of the guitar. You can play guitar even without having any musical background. There is some professional player who also doesn’t know to read music, but they excel while playing. So, leaning shapes and practicing them, again and again, helps to build the speed.
11. Take a Break
The practice session brings boredom, as you are doing the same thing again and again. So, it is better to take a break. The break is not about for a few hours or a few days. It means to take a break before starting a session. This will help you memorize the notes better.
12. Think About Music All Day Long
Be into the music; it is bound to be yours. It means you should think about the music whatever you do and wherever you go. When you are traveling, think about music, try to remember practice sessions. You can also listen to music all the time.
13. Try To Be Dedicated
When we see famous guitarists are playing a ten-minute solo; it looks like a piece of cake. But, they have invested countless hours on it. After breaking a sweat for many days, they can do what they are doing. Their dedication makes this possible. So, you have to do the same. Practice more and repeat it.
14. Enjoy What You Are Doing
At the end of the guitar is your favorite instrument. So, enjoy playing it. If you have a love for the guitar and also music, only then you can succeed. Whether it is a practice session, it is essential to enjoy it.
15. Keep Patience
Improving muscle memory is not a thing about one day. It’s a massive investment of time and energy. That’s why it requires patience and consistency. The more you rush, the more you will make mistakes. Music is not that complex; it requires proper techniques, style, and patience to master it. So, have patience.
In brief, it is not that hard to improve guitar muscle memory as you think. All you need is practice, dedication, and patience. However, take your time and follow our tips until you excel in muscle memory. Best of luck!