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Just the other day after a conversation with one particularly successful guitarist, it struck me that there is a common thread that runs through all successful guitarists. Actually, I've noticed this over the years as I observed how many "average" students accelerated past "naturally talented" players. However as time goes by, it has become increasingly obvious that the professional attitudes that certain players cultivate are the deciding factors as to those who "make it" the those who do not!

While their styles may be different and their areas of specialization may be diverse, they all have very similar habits. As I continued my conversations with these guitarists, I jotted down the common habits that distinguish these successful people, and here they are for you to study.

1. Set Goals – focus on your primary objective. All successful guitarists have mastered the ability to set goals. Here's some tips for goal setting.

(a) Write your goals down, this is very important!
(b) Be specific, what do you want to achieve, in what time frame, what special skills do I need?
(c) Create a goal board, many top guitarists create a goal board where they place pictures of things they want to achieve or acquire ie, a picture of a guitar, amp, car etc. they place this goal board in their practice room or office to help keep them motivated and stay "on-track".

2. Daily Practice – the most successful players are also the most confident and competent players and they are confident and competent because they have a daily practice regimen.

The top guitarists are internally motivated and self- disciplined, no matter how things are going in the rest of their life, they stay focused on their musical goals.

3. Read Music – The ability to read standard music notation is also a common thread among top guitarists. In a world of 'fix-it- all' in five minutes guitar books and the ever popular guitar TAB system, nothing beats the ability to be musically literate!

If you want to be a top guitarist, learn to read standard music notation, otherwise you could find yourself spending your whole musical life re-inventing the 'musical wheel'.

4. Quality Instruments / Equipment – It goes without saying that your equipment must be functional and in good repair. Notice I did not say expensive. Everything right down to your electric guitar lead must work. Remember, to have your guitar (s) set up by a competent repair person.

5. Study All Styles Of Music – This is the key to many successful musicians careers. Versatility, often means a long and successful career.

6. Excellent People Skills – This is a classic, how many times have I seen an excellent guitarist totally trash his / her career by simply having an 'attitude' problem.

Actually, it's just common sense and having respect for all the people you come in contact with in the music / studio scene you would be amazed how much of my work comes from work of mouth, and that includes studio owners, engineers, studio cleaners etc . (and I've been doing this professionally for 30+ years).

I can vividly recall one particular guitarist who had issues with a certain studio secretary, the secretary later became the studio owner's wife, (they often do) guess how much work that guitarist got from that studio … zero!

7. Reliable – Punctual etc. – Again, this should be painfully obvious, however it never ceases to amaze me how guitarist's will spend their life devoted to their instrument but just can not remember to show up for the gig.

Recently, the owner of one of the biggest recording studios in this country told me how a guitar player simply failed to 'show up' for the recording session, he obviously must have had something much more important on (I do recall it was a nice day for surfing).

Notice how two out of the seven habits of highly successful guitarists deal with non-musical things ie, people skills & being reliable, punctual etc., keep these things in mind and study top players at work whenever you have an opportunity.

It's easy to see why someone like James Taylor is successful just look at how he interacts with his audience and band.

Source by Mike P Hayes

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