The Best Way To Practice Guitar Without A Guitar

By Ryan Duke

Have you ever found yourself really wanting to keep your progress going, but didn’t have access to a guitar? Maybe you were at work, school, traveling, or couldn’t play because everyone was asleep and you didn’t want to disturb anyone late at night? Well there is a way to make substantial progress even without your guitar. 

There are many ways to practice without a guitar, but we will only be discussing one of them in this article. It is the most important one and will enable you to make the most progress in your guitar playing as possible. You can also use this when you do have your guitar. It is scientifically proven to work and Olympic athletes do this all the time to train to be the best in the world. Getting curious? I hope so. Yes, it is that good and you  already have it. It is your mind. 

I’ll just say what it is and then get into how this will benefit you a ton and how to do it. You will simply just imagine yourself practicing. Many tests have already been done and it has been scientifically proven that when you practice something in your mind you will get better at it at almost the same rate as when you are actually doing it. Sounds like magic or crazy talk, but it is totally true and really fascinating. 

Everything you do well, you first think about in your mind at some point. Even when practicing with a guitar you should be doing this. It helps tremendously. I’d personally say it is the single most important thing you can do when you practice. If you are struggling with a chord and you keep hammering at it you will likely make some progress. If you can in your mind, repeatedly, picture yourself playing it perfectly and totally relaxed you will be able to do it much sooner than if you don’t try and picture it at all and just keep practicing mindlessly. Doesn’t matter if you have the guitar or not, your brain will begin to form muscle memory and when you pick up your guitar it will remember what you had practiced thinking about. 

An important thing to keep in mind is that you need to believe that it is possible. If you are doubting yourself a little, that is not the end of the world. If you are win complete denial that you will ever be able to play that chord then it’s going to be a massive struggle no matter what. This is why I am using a chord as an example. Chords are hard, but they are not a huge goal to try and conquer. Starting with small and simple things is my advice to get used to doing this. 

Try it out. Pick something small that you want to get better. I mean really small and really simple. OK, you got it? Good. Now set aside the amount of time you had planned to practice this and instead of practicing it normally we will do it a little differently. 

First play it a few times. Then stop, close your eyes and imagine the best guitar player in the world playing it perfectly over and over. Choose whoever you want or think is great on guitar. Do they look stressed? Probably not at all. Are they confident? Definitely. Now imagine you are doing it just like you imagined them doing it. Picture the fingers falling right into place at the exact right time, everything going perfect. No stress, no mistakes, just peace and perfection. Next, open your eyes and keep that vision in your mind and practice it on the guitar. If you did this correctly you should have a clearer idea as to what it looks and feels like to play it right. This will give you more confidence and there will be less doubtful thoughts that get in the way and clutter your mind when practicing. 

Keep doing this with your guitar. Then when you are ready you can try it without your guitar. It’s not really any harder to do it without your guitar. I have often found myself doing this without even realizing and noticed my fingers moving like I was playing guitar. Pretty funny, right? 

About The Author: Ryan Duke is a professional musician and teachers seattle guitar lessons.

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