Learning The Fretboard or Learn To Shred?

I have always owned a guitar . But life was always in the way . Now it’s not . I have TIME . My problem is I don’t know how to make the best of my guitar learning . I keep taking on too many things and never master any of it . What would make the best use of my guitar playing time ? I can do a lot things but master none of them . I keep going to the shiny stuff . if that makes any sense … Way too many @youtube videos pointing me in all directions … HELP .


Welcome @Nastyy13!

The advice I would give myself if I could go back in time is “do fewer exercises, learn more songs”!

I.e. pick some songs you like (that are feasible for you to learn in the foreseeable future) and start there. There will be trickier sections in them that you can isolate and treat as technical exercises.

But of course, this question has more than one “correct” answer :slight_smile:


I used to feel like that often…and it held me back from working on anything all the way through. Now I start with finding 1-2 licks in my favorite songs that always wished I could pull off and just work on those. Once I have them reasonably down (maybe not even at speed), I’ll make them my own - that is change the key, adjust them for major, minor, diminished and then incorporate them in my ‘usual licks’ to try out the new vocabulary.


Cracking the Code is great, and it has information that you can apply from very early in your guitar journey. But as a beginner, the ideal thing to do is find a reputable in-person instructor near you. And as a supplement to that, Justin Sandercoe has a brilliant “by donation” beginner guitar course available at justinguitar.com. If nothing else, looking at the structure of Justin’s beginner course can serve as a sanity check against what your in-person teacher has you doing. The key value of in-person instruction is that an instructor can quickly correct any of your mistakes or bad habits before they become baked in. Don’t be afraid to dive into Cracking the Code right away, especially the Primer. But especially as a beginner, CTC should be a supplemental resource, not your main resource.

Edit: Even if you’ve been playing on-and-off for a few years, taking a step back and learning from the ground up can help you fill in gaps in your knowledge that you don’t even realize are there.


I think the piano teachers will all agree with you, a sign that you’re on the right track. Yes, repertoire is so important…

1 Like

Wanted to second this. Not listening to this advice is probably in my top five for biggest mistakes I made while learning guitar.