You may have learned the technical side of the guitar, but the reason most people pick up the guitar to begin with, is to actually play some songs on it. You may hear a song on the radio that you like, or perhaps you heard some great riff in an album you’ve been exploring recently – and in any case, you’re likely thinking “How can I do that?”
It’s actually not that hard at all to learn many of the songs played by your favorite bands out there. Sure, there would likely be some pieces out there that you simply won’t be able to wrap your head around, but even when it comes to just strumming the chords, a bit of practice you can usually come up with a nicely sounding interpretation of the song that you like.
There are some tricks that you’ll have to learn – first of all, it helps a lot to be able to read tab. This is a form of music notation which is specifically designed for guitar and bass. It’s quite a bit more intuitive than regular music notation, and you can learn to read it really fast in most cases.
Learning By Ear
A different way to pick up new songs is to learn them by ear. There are people who seem to be capable of listening to a song and immediately playing it – but most of us have a hard time with that. It takes a lot of practice to get this right, but there are some tricks you can use to make it a bit easier.
For example, using a computer you can slow down guitar tracks and make it easier to listen to them carefully.
In the end, the most important trick about improving constantly as a guitar player, rather than just learning a few tricks and repeating them to no end, is how well you practice. Many guitarists never seem to improve because they just practice poorly and don’t pose any challenges to themselves in order to improve.
You should make learning new songs an enjoyable activity for yourself, as it truly is once you get the hang of it. It’s also a lot more important and valuable as opposed to just learning some basic exercises from a guitar book – after all, playing guitar songs and developing yourself as a musician is all that matters when you pick up the instrument in the first place.