How guitar mastery becomes easy

When we fail to see the world accurately, it affects our emotions and actions in a very real way. When we see guitar mastery as a near-impossible challenge, when it’s really not, we tend to believe that we’re on a much bigger journey than we really are  – and are, therefore, too easily discouraged.

We come to believe it’s  very hard to build the skills we want and see our current lack of progress as proof of that – this creates the emotions of frustration and hopelesness which in turn makes us practice less or give up. In other words: We believe something that makes us feel in a certain way and the feeling makes us act in a specific way.


We often believe guitar mastery to be something extraordinary and special mainly because it takes quite a bit of practicing to achieve it. The bigger the hill we must climb to get the thing we want, the more valuable we tend to believe the thing is. So without the hill, the obstacle, the practicing – everyone would be a guitar master and guitar mastery wouldn’t be such a big deal:

  1. The belief that it is hard to build great guitar skills,
  2. Makes guitar skills more desirable,
  3. Which then motivates you to practice.

But this belief backfires on us when the going gets tough: When we are not making the progress we expected. When we practice a lot, but experience no immediate results our emotions turn into frustration and disappointment which leads you out of practicing:

  1. The belief that it is hard to build great guitar skills,
  2. Makes the job of attaining them daunting,
  3. Which then de-motivates you

Whatever happens it will all come from the basic assumption that guitar mastery is really, really hard to attain. This belief will make you feel very special about the skills you have already but also possibly very de-motivated to learn something new. I prefer getting better over feeling special (Because by learning I get to feel even more special in the future, so I get both!)

Are you climbing a huge mountain in your mind?


So let’s take a close look at the challenge of guitar mastery. Maybe our internal image of what it takes isn’t accurate at all… If you compare guitar mastery to every other part of life, it really doesn’t look like such a big challenge. (But don’t tell anyone because then everyone will want it)

If guitar mastery is your highest goal you are one lucky person. Other people dream of starting a business or getting rich. Others about raising children and being great parents. Some people dream of making it in the music industry. But building a business, creating a great relationship, creating a successful career – all those things are very very complex matters because there is a vast number of unknown factors influencing what results you get.

But with guitar mastery it’s just you, a guitar and time. Compared to most other areas of life you have 100% control over your guitar skills destiny. Totally. Guitar mastery is available for the taking. You have the power to own incredible guitar skills by choice.

“The belief that one’s own view of reality is the only reality
is the most dangerous of all delusions”

Paul Watzlawick

It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, talented or not talented. Everyone can do it. The only outside things really able to get in your way are death and permanent physical injury. But that’s it. It doesn’t get more controllable than this.

If you look at most other areas of life you will find it’s a very different game. Tons of things can go wrong and trip you up. So, in fact, guitar mastery is easy compared to most other things. But it doesn’t end there: Guitar mastery also takes very little time!


Just think about how many years, months, weeks and days you’ve spent in school just to function normally and hold a job – and yet, most of us don’t see that as special. But imagine if you had spent those hours practicing instead. What kind of a guitar player would you be today, if you had practiced five to six hours five days a week for ten years?

Is high school hard? You spend about eight hours a day for four years listening to teachers and doing your homework. Just imagine if those hours and years had been spent practicing. If you had done this, you would be considered the greatest guitar talent of all time! And yet, no one calls you “great” or “talented” for being able to read and write because most people can do that quite easily.

I am, in no way, saying that you can just go practice instead of going to work or school. I am merely painting an image we don’t see very often: Compared to most other things you have already learned to do, guitar mastery isn’t that huge a project.



So what is the hard part about building extraordinary guitar skills? Why does it seem difficult when it really isn’t compared to most other things in life? What is it that makes amazing guitar skills rare even though they don’t have to be? The problem is that:

You don’t need great guitar skills to survive. That’s why most people go to work and why most people don’t master the guitar.

What’s necessary always gets done. Working gets done because that’s how we get money to survive. Whatever is directly connected to survival and reproduction naturally assumes the highest priority in our lives. That’s why going to school, making money, finding a mate and taking care of our offspring gets done: It becomes a clear “must” in our lives.

Every day you wake up with an inbuilt motivation to survive. You were born with this. So everything that’s connected to survival you feel somewhat motivated to do, even though you may say you are not. Survival is the most basic but also the most powerful and consistent driver of our actions.


The ultimate point is that in order to become the best guitar player you can be, you must go from considering guitar mastery to be a possible luxury, to seeing it as an absolute “MUST” in your life. You don’t have to do that with the survival part, it’s already a must. As we all know: if we are not careful making a living takes over everything and leaves us with “no time to practice.” Mastery however, needs a conscious decision.

It’s not that hard to make guitar mastery a necessity. All you need to do is rediscover and remember how important it really is to you. Survival is of course mandatory for everything else to be, but if this is the only thing going on, our life doesn’t seem to be worth living. For every single organism on this planet survival and reproduction is the only agenda, except for humans. We have a capacity for more. Not using this capacity every day is like owning a brand new Ferrari that we never drive.

Quit subscribing to the voices that tell you that amazing guitar skills are really hard to develop because they are not. Instead, say “Creating this magic in my life is much easier than most of the things I have already accomplished – am I going to have a life where there isn’t ample room for something as supremely magical as guitar mastery even though it requires no risk, is totally controllable and requires less effort than most other endeavours?” Who would say yes to that and feel good about it?

If you think mastery is hard, try living without it. Most people do and have no idea what they are missing out on.


When it’s a must it becomes real, just like survival. We always find a way when we have to.

How guitar mastery becomes easy

7 thoughts on “How guitar mastery becomes easy

  1. Rick says:

    Awesome wisdom Claus. I enjoy your articles very much. I am pretty much self directed in my pursuit of guitar mastery, but when I read your articles it is like you are reading my mind. I am certainly tracking with you. Any guitar newbies out there, LISTEN to Claus.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frank Sesta says:

    My dear friend Claus is the Supreme Master of technical and philosophical guitar wisdom. I consider him the coolest godsend to the rest of us 6-string seekers!


  3. Scott says:

    Thank you, Thank you Thank you. Profound, paradigm shifting, useful. When I look at my life of achievements through your lens, everything you say rings true. The question is how much do I want it? Your comments are so clarifying! No BS………


  4. paolo says:

    It is a shift of the life paradigm, getting out of the “survival mode” and realize we need “art” whatever it is, to be fully human, or, at least, to be less “animal”…..
    thanks, as usual, Claus


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