What To Practice Next Using “How Vs. What”

Over the last decade and change I’ve gone from a completely private one-on-one environment to almost a “coaching” role as I now guide most people through a more “self directed” journey of guitar discovery…

Of  course I create lessons and materials, but in many cases my students have not only several of my offerings, but several from many other instructors as well (I’m not so naive as to think I’m the only person out there teaching guitar on the internet 😉

And, of course, with that plethora of materials comes the overwhelm of, “what should I work on next?”

Now, granted, I may be a little more connected to my students through the Blues Guitar Unleashed Member Forum, so I hear about this stuff more than… say an Amazon seller just selling books and DVDs…

But I would wager that most folks guiding themselves through this journey of guitar discovery find themselves at a point where they’re not sure where to spend their time.

So I made a little video about it, and maybe it’ll help give you some clarity. You can put your guitar down and take 5 minutes and watch it… it’s not long, but it’s something that I think needed to be put out there.


  • Michael Chappell

    Reply Reply October 11, 2018

    Hey Griff, True to the word advice.
    I have simply set my goals for 2018 and established a list of 24 songs that I want to learn to play from A-Z as lead & comping or chords etc. I have split them up into 4 stages of 6 songs starting from Stage 1 with what I feel are easiest working to much harder stages. But I am still working on songs in Stage 1 primarily as I am also going through the BGU Courses as a refresh and now finding that I understand them 10 times better than before. Learning different types of songs helps me to progress in Bar chords, Sus chords, 7th Chords as well as play the solo and sing with it. My BGU courses are very important to me because they are providing me with the musical structure & the feel for the Blues guitar. So the What for me is Section 1) BGU Courses and 2) Learn to play songs that I like. Making sure each section gets 1 hr per day of my time for at least 3-4 days per week..The How the BGU courses set the foundations to enable me to understand the learning of the songs which include Johnny B Goode by chuck Berry, Roll Over Beethoven. 12 Bar Blues & 8 Bar Blues include a large range of songs..

    Great advice as usual Griff.

    Michael-Sydney-Australia Oct 12, 2018

    • Michael Chappell

      Reply Reply October 11, 2018

      hey Griff, Just another note: I have noticed that you are posting some of your lessons up on FB BGU Students which is excellent. Each time you do that you could show which BGU Course addresses in more detail that lesson or advice. Then students can purchase the BGU couse that reflects what they want to learn more of.

      Michael-Sydney-Australia- Oct 12, 2018.

  • David Sempau

    Reply Reply September 30, 2018

    As I already wrote before in this site, I believe that you are a fantastic educator and communicator. At 70 I will start next week to learn guitar with a very good maestro. I sing and play drums and percussion, but I always missed the versatility and portability of guitar, so better late than never, although I must confess that I am terrified about what seems to me an overwhelming complexity of flowing finger positions. On the other hand, in jams and concerts I am surrounded by guys who seem very comfortable with that so, if others can, why shouldn’t I? Well, wish me luck!

  • Chaplain Ed

    Reply Reply September 28, 2018

    I second Todd’s remark. Once I began learning your way Griff, other instructors no longer fit my needs. You have a unique teaching style that is personal and effective.

  • jeffrey

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    As always….great stuff

  • Eddie

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Ok, heres one. What should I be practicing?

    • Griff Hamlin

      Reply Reply September 27, 2018

      What do you want to play? When that question is answered, it’s likely you’ll know what to practice on.

  • DaveyJoe

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Important stuff! Thanks Griff!

  • Matthew Quinney

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Even if I can form a what question, I get stuck on order. If there are several skills I need to work on to answer the what, what order do I work on them? Is it going to be easier to learn item 1 if I master item item 3 first, etc?

    • Griff Hamlin

      Reply Reply September 27, 2018

      Any order will usually do. It’s very rare that one skill depends on another, and if it does it’ll be obvious almost immediately. If you’re a TOTAL beginner, single notes are easiest, then open chords, then barre chords. Past that, doesn’t matter.

  • Neil

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Very well explained. I find myself at a roadblock for practice sometimes….I’m going to apply this thinking and see where it leads me 🙂

  • Richard

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Excellent video! Probably the best I’ve seen for those who get frustrated and
    Start wondering if you are progressing or just wasteing your time.
    Just keep asking yourself the questions – How,What,where,and when!

  • Jack

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    My problem is I’m just kind of directionless – should I work my way through a BGU course? Should I learn a favorite classic rock solo? Should I learn all the parts to a song and do a “one-man-band” video? Or maybe just buy another guitar LOL.

  • Todd

    Reply Reply September 27, 2018

    Look forward to your comments every day for about 2 years now, coffe…griff, then whatever from there. At first, yes I watch other instructors but once I found your site, the BGU 2 …I’ve had no need to go back, you’ve provided so much,so well, that if I follow anyone else it just gets confusing! Love your course,well course’s and my guitar journey is coming along great. Many thanks and keep it up please!

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