When learning new scales, chords, concepts, etc., the goal is always to learn it quickly and turn it into music.

Sometimes you find yourself going over something again and again as if your brain won’t allow you to take in anymore information for the day—and then you get frustrated.

Around this time, you start screaming to your ceiling/roommate, “Why can’t I just be a guitar god prodigy?”

Well I can’t make you one, but I can give you tips on how to learn/retain a little faster and really understand what you’re playing. The first tip is on how to better understand what you’re playing, and that is transposing. When learning a new song, especially something along the lines of classic rock, or at least riff-oriented, guitarists have a tendency to rely on shapes or fret numbers. For example, learning a song that goes D-G may result in thinking “triangle shape followed by G shape."

Or learning a song like “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton may result in thinking in fret numbers for power chords, (sing main riff) “7-7-5-7-5." This is a good method of learning if you need to learn something RIGHT NOW, as it’s the simplest approach. But what happens when the singer has a cough and needs to sing “Shook Me All Night Long” in E instead of G? Awkward silence.

You can’t use a capo in every situation. So after you learn any song, whether it be classic rock or a jazz standard or a pop song or even “Cowboys from Hell” (You should be able to play that in drop D), try to play it in at least one or two different keys. It’ll force you to think of the notes/chords in terms of their musical relation to each other, instead of

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