Home Articles Top 10 hints to get your playing to the next level & 7 free video lessons
Top 10 hints to get your playing to the next level &...

Top 10 hints to get your playing to the next level & 7 free video lessons

Hey there - whats up good people! David Taub here from Next Level Guitar and I have some free lessons
and playing tips for you today.

Along your guitar journey I believe there are certain critical points that every guitar player needs to tackle. These are concepts that will get your playing to the next level. I have taught thousands of students privately and online and I see common areas where students can have holes in their playing that need filling.

So to help players get through this I have assembled a list of what I believe are the Top Ten Hints to get your playing to the next level. And along with these hints I also included links to 7 free lessons that
address these critical areas.

I think you will find the tips below informative and really useful and I hope they will help you along
in your guitar journey - ENJOY!

Take care and remember to keep putting those guitars in your hands everyday....even if it is just for 5 or 10 minutes - that alone makes a big difference.

Take care and rock on!
David Taub

PS - not sure if you know about it or not but we have a killer new product available called ROCK JAM TRACKS PLUS. The pack includes a CD with ten Killer studio quality rock jam tracks and you also get an
instantly downloadable 53 page E-book on Lead guitar and how to play over and use the jam tracks. Nothing like it on the market - in depth lead guitar studies and its truly a great product and the tracks sound
amazing. They are very motivating to play over and practice with - check out all the details and watch a dvd preview of the pack here:



In my opinion there are certain principles that every guitar player should consider tackling to help evolve their playing to the next level. Some concepts and techniques are harder than others, and take quite a bit of work to get proficient. In the end you will be glad you took the extra time to learn the principles outlined below, as they will make you a better guitarist and a better musician. Go slowly at first and don’t overwhelm yourself. These are processes that take time. Remember, your playing is an evolution. Keep on honing your skills and refining your art – swing for the fences and stay positive! HINT 1: KNOW A LARGE CATALOGUE OF CHORDS

As a musician knowing a large vocabulary of chords is absolutely critical. Unless you want to be regulated to playing stock everyday A, D, and E chords all day long. Being able to play a lot of different chords proficiently and knowing how to embellish them is a difficult task, but so worthwhile. Knowing a large catalog of chords will open many doors and allow you to embellish and decorate your playing with all kinds of new musical melodies, rhythms, and endless song writing possibilities. Why play a stock, sterile, every day Am chord when you can play a much more interesting and harmonically rich Asus2, Am7, or Am9 chord. Embellishing chords is a great way to spark new ideas and infuse new life into old progressions and songs. Having chordal options makes it fun and exciting not only for the guitarist but also, and probably more importantly, for the listener. Here is a free lesson with some cool new open chords to check out:




Knowing a large catalog of chords is the first step. Next is being able to play solid rhythm. Music is more than just soloing, notes, and chords, it is also about rhythm and meter. As a guitarist you will be playing rhythm 85% of the time, as the solo is just a small part of most songs. So the misinformed players who think they can just concentrate solely on soloing are in for a huge surprise when they start playing with a band or jamming with other people. Your lead playing will pretty much only ever be as good as your rhythm playing. Your rhythm playing is huge so don’t overlook it. Here are two free lessons on strumming and rhythm:





There is just no way around this one. Strive to learn the notes on the neck cold. You will always be a better musician and be able to speak the language of music if you take the extra time to learn the notes that make up each chord, scale, and the notes on the fretboard. This will also allow you to grab a needed note quickly at any time. Knowing the notes on the neck is a huge under taking, so make it a process to learn them over a period of time. Don’t overwhelm yourself and try to get them all down in a week. Take things slow and learn one string at a time, then go to the next string. Utilize octaves to make the learning process a bit easier. To learn the notes on the neck check out one of my free lessons here:



I always say, and will keep saying and repeating, one of the most important things that you can do as a musician is to DEVELOP YOUR EAR. This opens the door to amazing musical applications. Once your ear starts developing you will be able to hear strum patterns & rhythms and play them by ear without the worry of learning pattern ups and down strums. You will hear the color of chords and be able to discern major chords from minor chords from 7th chords and so on. You will be able to grab chords that give off a certain color or emotion that you may need for a given song when songwriting. You will be able to figure out and transcribe songs by ear. Your ear will also take you to those sweet sounding landing and emphasis notes and link the proper scale or mode to a given chord or set of chords. I can go on and on – develop that ear – its HUGE!  Here is a free guitar lesson ear training and development:



The problem with tablature and just learning scale shapes is that you don’t learn the notes that make up the chords or the scales. Don’t rely solely on tablature as then you are just learning finger position, fret numbers, and shapes. Try not to become too dependent on tablature. Tablature only tells you what fret number to play, it does not tell you the note that you are playing or the notes that make up the chords. Tablature is a fun way to learn songs if you don’t read music so certainly use it and have fun with it, but don’t fall into the trap of using it exclusively and not taking the time to develop your ear. Along with tablature learn the notes on the neck and what notes and what intervals make up each chord and keep developing your ear so you eventually wont need tabs.


HINT 6: Use what you learn in lessons as vehicles – not isolated individual jams or events

Remember when you re watching lessons or reading learning materials you are building and evolving your playing skills. Think of good lessons as a musical education – not just an isolated lesson to only try over one example or song. For instance my jam tracks are practical playing vehicles for you to practice and hone your lead guitar playing and improvisational skills. Take what you are learning from those materials and techniques and apply them to other jams, songs, and progressions. My jam tracks are not meant to be isolated guitar incidents. Rather they are examples to give you the musical tools so you can blast these techniques across ALL your playing. Use jam tracks and lessons as vehicles to move your playing to the next level.

HINT 7: Just don’t learn licks………..LEARN FROM THE LICKS

I have seen it over and over and over. Too many guitarists spend way too much time on just learning licks and stopping there. If you just learn a lick here and a lick there then in the end you know a few licks – what good is that really? You want to LEARN FROM THE LICK – what scale is that lick from, how is it used, over what changes can it be played, over what chords can it be played, how can I vary that lick to turn that one lick into twenty licks – that’s what I mean – LEARN FROM THE LICKS AND LEARN FROM THE JAMS - then you are arming yourself with the necessary tools to take your playing to the next level.

HINT 8: KNOW & ANALYZE THE CHORD PROGRESSION, knowing the key alone is not enough

I have seen this hold guitar players back time and time again. They focus solely on what key they are playing in and that is all they are tuned into. This can be very limiting as knowing just the key will only get you so far. Knowing what key you are playing in is important, but to fully develop your lead playing and improvisation skills you need to know more – you need to start examining the chords and progressions. Why limit yourself?                                                                                                       You want to know exactly what chords are in the progression and then analyze them to determine what scales, modes, and landing notes to utilize. In many instances you need to look at if there is a IV chord or V chord in a progression and are the chords major or minor. You need to know which notes make up the chords that you are playing over so you can use their respective chord tones as strong landing or emphasis notes. You will need to know the chords and their structure to fully understand and apply which mode you want to solo with.

KEY POINT: It’s the chords that you are playing over that give you the full roadmap to what will work for soloing and improvisation purposes.                  The key is only part of the equation – you want to start listening to and analyzing the chords underneath.                                                                                          At first, get in the habit of writing out the chord progression and thoroughly examining all the chords in the progression or song to get clear to all the soloing options. Consider this very methodical approach at first as training as it gets that solid musical muscle memory locked in. This way eventually your ear will be developed enough to take you to all the right notes – it just makes it easier and faster to get to that point following this structured plan. I have found that learning this methodical approach will get you there the fastest.


Too often players will learn dozens and dozens of scales, but they don’t learn how to use them and when to apply them. Learning a scale by itself is not enough. Knowing when to utilize the scale and over which chords is just as important as knowing the scale itself. Knowing all the scales ever created in the history of music will do you absolutely no good unless you know how to utilize them and under which musical circumstances apply them into your playing. Learn the scale, but also learn how and when to apply it. Here is a free lesson on learning some licks and how to apply them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hGkVkOeHa4&feature=related                                                              HINT 10: KNOW YOUR MAJOR SCALES COLD IN ADDITION TO THE PENTATONICS

This is invaluable for the lead guitar player. Knowing your major scales in all positions across the neck will help give you many additional tools for lead playing and improvisation. Too many players just stop learning scales after they learn the pentatonics. Again, why limit yourself? Knowing the major scales up and down the neck will be the springboard to knowing the modes of the major scale, relative major and minor, and many other important concepts. So learn those major scales in all positions. Don’t stop after learning pentatonic scales, keep pushing into new territories and you will push yourself to that next level of lead guitar playing. Learn to link major scales and licks together in a free lesson here:



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