Too late to improve technique?

So i’m 30 and have played guitar for 18 years or so. I’ve have practised a lot through the years but i have never felt comfortable with my technique which have really limited my ablity to enjoy playing guitar the more the years have passed. I found cracking the code some years ago and while i have gained understanding about all the concepts i have never found any technique that have really worked. And i have practised alot the last three years, forearm motion, wrist motion, elbow motion, finger motion. I have tried them all but never got anything to work. Do you get to a point where it’s impossible to learn a new motion? It’s really discouraging to put in alot of hours and don’t get anything out of it.

Anybody have a similar experience or thoughts on the matter?

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It is never too late, just get a teacher.


It’s never too late, but I believe adults have a harder time learning than kids because as adults we carry a lot more mental baggage than kids do. We expect things to sound good right away, so we can tend to move in a very self-conscious or self-aware way that is unnatural for learning a motion.

How much do you care about being clean? Kids don’t, and this is why I think they can develop more natural movement more easily. You have to be ok with sounding like shit, or at least sounding sloppy in your quest to develop good movement, because IMO the process starts with roughing out what the thing is supposed to be, and then refining it. I work with very young, 8-10 year old children regularly, and I can tell you that when I tell them to just move their hands fast and not worry about how it sounds, they do it without care. then once I see their hands start to “look” good, I’ll have them slow down and clean up, and I’ve had incredibly good results with this process (especially since they probably barely practice).

Contrary to that, it’s very hard for me to get an adult to do this, because the minute they sound like a hot mess they want to stop. So I think maybe check and see if you have any similar hang ups. It could even show subconsciously, like not allowing yourself to floor it past a certain tempo because you feel like it’s going to fall apart. Let it do that.


This boils down to self-taught (usually bad) vs. taught by expert (usually good).

It depends on the person
And if that’s the case, why does Troy even bother to conduct online/virtual guitar lessons?

Troy is arguably the word’s leading expert in plectrum technique, so think of him as a teacher (= good).

But the problem is that most of us can’t have the CtC team watch us each week for an hour to correct various mistakes… this is why a local teacher (ideally familiar with CtC) is invaluable, IMHO.


Too old? Not at all, I’m in my fifties and am really working hard on getting the correct technique after coming back to my guitars after about 15 years of hardly playing at all. Yes I know that sounds bad, but the reason was that I was concentrating most of my time on the Saxophone. My guitar technique was ‘lazy’ i.e. too much legato and not enough attention paid to the right hand but I’ve put in concentrated, structured and disciplined (-the hardest part!) work over the last few months and I have improved to a level where I’m a much better player than I ever used to be. Maybe I wont be the next Michael Angelo Batio but I’m fine with the keys to the Ford Focus :slight_smile:


I hear ya man! :frowning: :pleading_face: it seems like with me that I’ve developed SO many bad habits thru the years that they just can’t be fixed. They’re so ingrained in my DNA at this point that no matter how hard I try my mind and fingers start to gravitate back towards what’s comfortable to me. Unfortunately it’s garbage. I don’t know how you guys practice, but for me I’ll pick a pattern, let’s say a pentatonic pattern in 5’s with the Eric Johnson sweeps. I’ll just loop it over and over and from doing that I’ll sort of start getting it coordination wise, rhythm wise and feel wise, but actually ever retaining any of it in the long term??, nope!! I always ask myself what the hell did I just do the last hour it’s almost as if I dreamed up that I practiced this lick 800 times today! I’ve been playing for about 35 years and unfortunately no matter how hard I try even if I start getting stuff down my bad habits come creeping back like a magnet pulling me towards doing what I’ve done for 3+ decades :man_shrugging::confused: Maybe I’m practicing wrong. :confused:

It’s not too late. I’ve changed after decades of compensating for string hopping. CtC is perfect for ironing out inefficient mechanics. Consider your journey a joy (through the frustration). You bring your musical maturity with you, so you are not ‘starting over’ in the literal sense. You’re always getting better.

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Very good point. Makes total sense. I’m very much a perfectionist, especially when it comes to music and I think in this case it’s going against me because focus alot on trying to make it NOT sloppy right from the beginning.

That’s great to hear. How did you about learning it, any specific motions you focus on? Haha keys to the Ford Focus :smile:

Can totally relate, I feel like i practise and practise and sometimes it feels like i’m making a lot of progress then the next day. Gone! :confused:

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That’s the way i would like to think about it too. I mean i have learn alot about other areas of the guitar. I consider myself a fairly good improviser and i know the fretboard really well etc. I’m just looking to get my mechanics right and knowing that my practise equals results.

I’m 38, have been playing since I was 15 or so, and coincidently am ALSO named Drew, and it is absolutely not “too late” for you to learn things. It may take some work, and some un-learning or at a minimum at least some becoming consciously aware of the things you’ve been doing unconsciously, but I’ve made some pretty serious progress in the last couple years and today can do things pretty consistently that I’d be lucky to pull off cleanly on a good day five years ago.

Put in the time, learn to understand what you’e currently doing, and you’ll get there.


I know the struggle you’re going through. I had a breakthrough when I watched a video by Claus Levin, a YouTube guitar teacher. I’ll try to find the video if I can but he essentially said if you’re frustrated trying to accumulate all these different skills to try to pick a particular skill, say wrist motion or downward pickslanting or a mechanic from a particular lick, and practice that skill and only that skill for 30 days. Your other skills won’t disappear and you can maintain them when you’re just jamming and playing for fun. It worked for me when I was having trouble with getting used to downward pickslanting and the Cascade chapter. I did only Eric Johnson pentatonic licks with wrist motion and USX like the 5s and 6s and after a couple weeks I was blazing. I feel like after all that time something different happened in my brain, like they don’t require much maintenance if at all. It’s like it’s permanently burned into my mind.

I am 69 years old now and I finally figured out what I had been doing wrong thanks to Troys videos. The downward pick angel is the clue that gave me my answer. I always picked with my thumb bent, which puts your pick at a weird angle. Watch all of the monster players and you will see that their thumb is straight and not bent. When you use the downward slant, your thumb is naturally straight with no effort. I use to tape my thumb joint so I couldn’t bend it, but could never make it work. The downward pick angle changed my life. I will tell you I practiced it for a few hours a day and it took a year before it became ingrained without conscience thought. Stay hungry and don’t quit and you will find it.


I second this…Claus Levin has a free lesion series called ingenium on his website guitarmastery. He demonstrates exercises with isolation movements for perfecting your picking. Definitely recommend checking him out. It is a game changer for me.

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Hi there,

NO, its not. I can try to explain a little in this message.

I feel for you. We see many people who are technically so advanced that I think we get lulled in to thinking we all should be able to play similarly. I’ve struggled for many years for many different reasons. I’ve made a great deal of progress over the last 3 years (been playing over 25 years, with a 12 year hiatus - depressed and frustrated because I was simply awful, no kidding, I mean BAD and that was with many hundreds of hours, obviously not able to figure it out) or so since I adopted this website. Nothing ever has come easy to me and guitar is no different. I am pleased with my progress but likely will never be relaxed enough to play comfortably (repeatable/consistent) at those speeds that other people have no problem playing at.

I will keep working at it as I have discovered effective exercises to work on the picking motion and also what type of patterns and sequences that work best for me. This might be very different for you and that is okay.

I need get your topic off me and back to you…

Okay, be extremely patient. Don’t feel like you can’t slow things down a bit and try to hone in on your technique. I use a mirror at all times and this has helped me focus in on technique. Get the pick to somehow feel like it isn’t resisting your string crosses. For me, it was a few things: slight angle adjustment, figuring out what pick direction was most difficult. UPX is easier when I decent but DPX is a bit easier when I ascend. Now, I create exercises that I use daily to focus on improving the difficult strings crossing and also take advantage of the string crossing that is most comfortable for me. This helps me understand why certain ‘runs’ are easier and why they are easier. Back to the mirror for a second. I will sometimes go to a white pick, and choke back (away from strings) so I can clearly see more pick between the strings and my pick fingers.

In summary, relax the body and mind, hyper focus, use a mirror?, be willing to experiment with your pick grip, or anything that might benefit you. There are many talented people on this site who can help you if you provide a video with a good camera angle and ample lighting.

Good Luck and I hope you stick with it and can get satisfying results in the near future.
I wrote to you because I empathize with your disposition.


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It’s never too late. Wasn’t Troy in his 30s or so when he came across TWPS and the Antigravity seminar material?

I think the message of Cracking the Code, in part, is that if you have a functioning brain with functioning limbs there is probably nothing you can’t learn. Or at least that is what I like to think.


Let me tell you something.

Up until the middle of last year, I took online guitar lessons with a particular “teacher” who does not have the best reputation. However, I ignored this thinking that he had the answers I’ve been looking for.
I took online lessons with him for three years and took on the techniques he basically advises you to switch to. “Directional picking” or simply economy picking as its actually known as. One of these other techniques is not a usual picking technique hand position at all and I only know of one person, apart from my instructors students, who used this technique. He taught it to my instructor I believe. Anyway, it was an absolute disaster. I could never make it work and got little support from my instructor. He was unable to answer very basic questions I would have asked about positioning and angles etc.
In short, I feel I’ve been robbed and put in such a bad position technique wise that I quit the guitar middle of last year and stopped all my lessons. About 7 months later I picked the instrument back up again as life without it was actually awful. I picked it up with the intention to learn and practice the songs I write and certainly not to go back to my previous instructor. I’m actually furious with myself that I stayed with him so long but you kind of get caught up in what he says… Now I need to relearn how to play and try figure it all out. I’m very apprehensive about paying for any online instruction after that experience but I know that I could really be missing out on the info I need unless I subscribe.
I’m actually ranting here and have taken things off topic… sorry about that!