5 Reasons Why Guitarists Fail To Become Great

5 Reasons Why Guitarists Fail To Become Great

If there’s one thing I’ve developed as a guitar teacher over the years, it is the ability to accurately predict a student’s ultimate long-term failure or success after a just short period of time of them taking lessons with me.

Each person might be a unique individual, but when it comes to their success on guitar, the patterns are predictably measurable. So, when I notice any of the following five things (and it’s almost always more than one), I immediately take steps to intervene and correct course. They are:


  • Lack of clear goals and direction
  • Lack of consistency
  • Lack of determination
  • Fear of failure
  • Not knowing how to practice

Let’s explore each one more in depth.

green guitarLack of Clear Goals and Direction— this is usually the result of someone not having a guitar teacher at all or having an ineffective guitar teacher. However, I must admit that I do see it with my own students from time to time. Even though each student is required to set goals as part of my lessons program, sometimes their goals are not clear enough or objectively measurable. This leads to confusion and a lack of purpose on the instrument. One of my primary roles is to make sure each student is working towards their specific goals at each lesson and regularly setting new ones all the time. Consistently setting goals and writing them out is proven to foster success in any area of life.

Lack of Consistency— this usually manifests itself in the student frequently missing lessons or not practicing often enough at home. Or, if they are practicing at home, they are not consistently focusing on their goals and the right things. Instead, they are distracted by YouTube, online TAB’s, or something else. It is critical to one’s success to be consistent in the day-to-day practicing as well as over the long-term. If you have an off week, don’t allow that to determine your long-term success or failure. Simply make next week a better week, and never give up!

Lack of Determination— I once heard it said that success requires “pig-headed determination.” If you begin learning guitar with the attitude, “I just want to try it out,” or, “Let’s see how it goes,” I promise you will fail. I’ve seen it over and over. The only way to absolutely guarantee your success is to decide that becoming great at guitar is your only option.

Fear of Failure— some people lack determination because they are afraid of how they will feel if they fail. This then leads to them taking cautious action and holding back. This means they may avoid attending regular lessons, playing in front of others, or practicing so that if they give up, they don’t have to bear all the responsibility and can shift the blame to some outside source. This allows them to “save face,” as it were. However, this is a delusion and ultimately the responsibility lies with the player.

Not Knowing How To Practice— this is the one that actually can possibly be blamed on someone else. If one has invested in a poor guitar lessons program or ineffective online lessons, the student may be unknowingly following bad advice from their teacher. It is crucial to learn from an instructor who understands how to teach you proper practice techniques.

I hope you have found this helpful. Know that you are not alone, and your success is not determined by natural talent or lack thereof; instead, your success will ultimately be determined by your choices and actions.

About the Author: Eric “You Can Do It!” Bourassa teaches rock and pop guitar lessons in Aledo Texas and loves helping guitar students succeed. One of his missions in life is to ensure that no student is left behind!eric