YouTube is amazing. You know this. There you can find everything there is to know about the guitar. And if for some wild reason you can’t find something on YouTube, you’ll eventually find it elsewhere online – perhaps a blog or vlog or podcast or a mishmash of free downloadable lessons somewhere. But there’s a downside to this wealth of unlimited guitar info, and it’s a big downer… it can keep you from becoming a complete guitarist.

I’m constantly meeting with students who are casualties of this information overload. They did the best they could through YouTube and other random online resources, but they have no sense of direction or foundation as a guitarist. They have piecemealed their guitar know-how, and now they feel lost, unmoored, unsure of their next step.

…And also a bit worried. They’re worried that they’ve missed something important along the way. (Most of the time, they in fact have.) They’re concerned about potential gaps or blind spots in their playing.

For example…

It’s not uncommon to meet a guitar student who has been playing for several years, but they aren’t sure how to play a D/F# chord.
…Or they’ve never played a true barre chord.
…Or they’re not sure what a 1-4-5 progression means.
…Or perhaps they want help for their strumming hand; they want to learn more strumming patterns and rhythms.
…Or they might want to become a better solo and lead guitarist but they aren’t sure which scales or techniques can really help with that.
…Etc., etc.

A solution is needed.

Introducing, The Complete Guitarist.

The Complete Guitarist is someone who has followed a clear, simple path to become a well-rounded player and musician. No oversights or blind spots. No glaring deficiencies. In short, they are simply a good guitar player.

I thought it would be helpful to describe the traits of the Complete Guitarist. Note that nothing here requires you to become a guitar master or phenom or prodigy. It’s simpler than that, easier than that. Again, it’s about being a solid, well-rounded player. This is the type of player that a shotgun blast of random YouTube videos cannot produce.

But it’s the type of player we all want to be: complete.

Take a look through the list below and see how you fare in comparison. The truly wonderful thing is that being a Complete Guitarist is a very reachable goal – for anybody.

The Complete Guitarist:

  • Loves music! The goal of learning the guitar is not to play challenging exercises and learn a bunch of theory. Instead, the goal is to play music. The Complete Guitarist doesn’t let technique or theory or anything else overshadow the simple goal of playing great music.

  • Has developed great habits on the guitar. The way they strum, the way they hold the pick – everything works together smoothly. Their left and right hand technique have been trained to play the guitar with ease. Two words capture their sound and feel on the instrument: relaxed and confident.

  • Has versatile technique. The complete guitarist is not restricted to using only a flat pick, for example. Instead, they feel comfortable finger-picking or hybrid picking, too. Further, they know how to do bends, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, etc. A variety of feels and tones and textures are at their disposal.

  • Knows how music works. They know why they play what they play. They know the ingredients of chords and chord progressions. They know the main scales and modes and can use these to help play, write, or figure out songs. They have a good grasp on the three main building blocks of music: melody, harmony, and rhythm.

  • Knows how to read and write music. The Complete Guitarist doesn’t have to be an expert reader of standard music notation (though it helps to know the basics), but they can read and write basic song charts, chord charts, lyric sheets, lead sheets, TAB (tablature), etc.

  • Knows how the acoustic guitar works. They know how to get the most out of their acoustic. They know how to add a percussive edge to their rhythms if they want to sound more punchy or exciting. They know where to strum to get certain tones. They know how to get the most out of their acoustic.

  • Knows how the electric guitar works. They know how to use an amplifier and basic effects pedals, such as chorus and reverb. They can play soaring melodic lines or crunchy rock power chords.

  • They know how to use common guitar implements: the capo and the glass/metal finger slide, the metronome and the tuner, the humidifier and string winder/cutter, etc.

  • Has a well-rounded song repertoire. While the Complete Guitarist doesn’t necessarily have to master every genre of music, the skillset they have enables them to figure out and play songs in the most popular genres: rock, pop, blues, country, funk, fingerstyle.

  • Can play by themselves or can play in a band. They are versed in the language of music and can communicate with other musicians. They know how to fill a certain role in a band – as either a rhythm or solo guitarist. They can play at a campfire…but they can also jam-out with a full band.

  • Enjoys and has fun playing guitar! When joy has been stripped from the learning process it means there’s an imbalance somewhere: perhaps too much focus on theory and not enough on playing songs that you love; perhaps a bad habit has made it difficult to play something basic. Whatever the case, the Complete Guitarist truly enjoys playing their guitar!

As a guitar instructor of over 12 years, it’s been my goal to create Complete Guitarists, to help students become solid, well-rounded and versatile players. I do this every day in my private studio, and now online via this website.

Are you ready to start the journey? Start taking our courses today and experience the joy and freedom of becoming a complete guitarist!


  1. Pingback: About Your Guitar Instructor - John Futch - First Frets