How to Improve Guitar Muscle Memory in 5 Days

guitar muscle memory

Hey, can you talk to someone while playing a beautiful piece on guitar?

Congratulations, if you can. If you don’t, you’re in need of developing guitar muscle memory.

Yep, it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the ability to play music without focusing on it because your muscles are doing the remembering job.

Trust me; this is the only thing between you and your dream of becoming a professional guitar player. If you can do this, I am sure you’re soon going on the stage.

So, let me quickly tell you how guitarists improve muscle memory.

What is Muscle Memory for Guitar Players?

Muscle memory in guitar learning is the ability to play certain sequences and patterns without consciously putting your mind to it.

In other words, guitar body memory is remembering notes or chords or patterns with your fingers. It is basically a type of subconscious learning.

Why is it important?

To play a piece perfectly on a guitar, you must play the exact notes at the right time and spot on the guitar neck. You will not have the time to check where your fingers are landing every time you play a note.

While doing that, even the tiniest delay or subtle misplacement with your fingertips can destroy the piece you’re trying to play. When going up or down on the fretboard, a little mistake can create dissonance, changing the notes completely.

Building muscle memory is a must to play guitar professionally.

This is why guitar players (and also other string musicians) need to master body memory as much as they can. So, even if you forget the notes, your fingertips remember them.

DOs & DON’Ts to Improve Muscle Memory on Guitar

The only advice on improving muscle memory is PRACTICE.

There are No alternatives to practicing. The below tips to improve body memory for guitar playing are the dos and don’ts for practice sessions. If you follow them, you will develop body memory in no time.

Let’s get started.

[DOs]

1. Practice Chords, Scales, and Arpeggios

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No guitarist will deny that practicing chords, scales, and arpeggios is utterly boring. In fact, many beginners give up their dreams of becoming a guitar player because of boredom.

But, it’s the only way to becoming a professional guitar player. Be it an acoustic guitar or a bass, you must patiently go through your daily practice sessions to build muscle memory.

Once you can play all the primary chords, scales, and arpeggios without any mistakes in all rhythms, you’re ready to play pieces and songs. That way, you don’t have to check finger placements after every note.

Also, don’t try learning all of it simultaneously. For instance, if you’re learning Gm chord, finish that before jumping into the next one.

2. Slow & Steady Gains Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is something that goes beyond mugging up the notes and chords. It’s something that your fingers will remember after months of rigorous practice. You will be able to play something even with your eyes closed if you remember it with your fingertips.

Therefore, it’s necessary to take it slow. Don’t try to memorize everything at a go. For instance, you can take the C major chord and keep practicing it daily till you master it.

If you’re trying to play a song on guitar, learn one line at a time. The whole point is to break down complex lessons/songs/pieces and learn bits by bit.

The same goes for practice sessions.

Keep your practice sessions short.

Practice early morning to get better at it. But don’t exhaust yourself. Take out two practice sessions and keep both of them smaller for better results.

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Checkout the Ultimate Guide on Guitar Notes to learn everything about it.

3. Take One FINGER at a Time

Yes, slow & steady practice sessions will help you develop muscle memory. In addition to that, there’s one more tip to grind your finger movements in your subconscious mind:

Take one finger at a time when switching chords.

This tip will help you memorize the finger movements forever in your mind. Take a finger on one fret and be mindful when going to the next one. Obviously, you will pick up the pace gradually. Once you feel confident with moving one finger at a time when switching chords, next move with two fingers.

It’s better to stop strumming when you’re trying to learn finger movements. And, this is how you’re taking slow & stray wins the race to another level.

4. Always Use Metronome to Master Playing at any Tempo

Body memory for guitarists depends a lot on how you perform when the tempo changes. Amateur guitar players can play a piece at a slow pace, but they fail to play the same piece correctly when asked to speed up.

Remember, you’re training to play at a professional level with other instruments and guitars as well. Using a metronome will help you ace muscle memory and play in all rhythms. In the long run, you will not be all puzzled when playing in a fast beat.

5. Learn to Read Music

There are many guitarists who didn’t know anything about reading chord charts or theory but still became legends.

Dear readers, please realize the fact that they were prodigies. Jimi Hendrix could play guitar even with his teeth, but we can’t. And that’s okay!

Learning to read sheet music will help you understand chords and notes better than before. Playing while reading music will help you gain muscle memory way faster than you imagined. When practicing this way, you will be busy reading music, and your fingers will find out the perfect movement by themselves. This is another trick to get faster.

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[DON’Ts]

1. Don’t Practice Wrong Finger Movements

improve guitar muscle memory

Muscle memory is all about retaining in your subconscious what you’re playing. Don’t play any wrong finger movements or wrong notes, or else this is what will stay in your memory. Later, it will be too hard to rectify these mistakes, as these will turn into bad habits.

This is how it works. Therefore, it’s very important to check your finger movements and notes from time to time.

2. Don’t Lose Patience

Developing muscle memory in guitar learning is all about practice, and you can’t lose patience when practicing. Be patient with yourself next time and follow the above tips to get better.

Never rush during the practice sessions. Go through the hours diligently, and you will be a guitarist in no time.

3. Don’t Try Learning a Song/Piece in a Day

Sometimes, new learners try rushing their learning time. Human minds need time to grasp things and remember them in the long run. Remember that if you learn quickly, you will forget quickly too.

A perfect practice session is one in which you’re patient with yourself and learn bite-sized lessons repetitively. If you’re trying to learn a new song, start small. Take one line a time.

FAQs

How long does it take to get muscle memory from the guitar?

It will take around 2 to 3 months of practicing twice daily to make a piece of music seep in as muscle memory. To memorize a chord or scale, it will take 20 to 30 days to reach perfection.

Do musicians use muscle memory?

Yes, every musician, including the ones who play on the stage, uses muscle memory while playing. Otherwise, it’s impossible to play a piece while constantly, consciously concentrating on what you’re playing.

How do you speed up your muscle memory?

The only way to speed up your muscle memory is to PRACTICE. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to that. The more you practice, the better your fingers remember. Repetition is the key.

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Conclusion

Dear fellow guitarists, I have said this before, and I repeat–please, please focus on improving your body memory. Be it power chord songs or metal songs, you must tweak your muscle memory to play them. This will not only strengthen your grip on the fretboard but also help you play music without any mistakes.

Here’s a video of Eric Clapton singing and playing guitar at the same time. Thanks to his muscle memory, there’s not a single wrong note.

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