Let's try an experiment: Using visualization on guitar

Let's try an experiment today, and see if it helps improve your guitar playing. It helped mine!

If you read Chasing Sound regularly, you'd have seen that I'm a big fan of visualization. This works especially well if you're not in the mood to play guitar, or don't have a guitar on hand.

I remember using visualization as a kid, and not even knowing that was the term for it. I'd get home, practice for hours, and then when it was too late to play loud guitar, I'd take one of my favorite tab books out and follow along while listening to a song on my Sony Discman (oh man, I'm getting old).

Earlier this week on the site I recommended a couple of great books whether you're just starting out or have been playing for years. For this experiment you can use any of those books, a tab book (or tabs online), or even any guitar magazine that has transcriptions in it.

Sit down with a song you're trying to learn, and visually follow the tab note by note, chord by chord. I'm suggesting tabs this time, because they give a good idea of where to place your hand on the neck, and what exact frets to use.

If you get stuck on a part, or if it's too fast, rewind the song and try and visually follow along. If the book shows a D Chord on the neck, visualize how you would play that on the neck. Same thing goes for melody lines and the rest of the song.

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You might think all this stuff sounds crazy, but it's a good use of your time when you don't have your guitar on hand, or if it's too late to play a guitar where you live.

Doing this ahead of picking up your guitar is prepping your mind and hands for when you do actually pick up the guitar. Feel free to get messy in the margins of your book by making notes or circling a couple of bars to break down parts into smaller sections of notes.

This helps turn a daunting task, learning an entire song, into a more manageable thing. The other fun thing you can try is taking a photo or screenshot of a section of a song that you'd like to learn, and work that into your practice schedule.

Once you get to your guitar the next day, you might experience a weird déjà vu. This is your brain memorizing what you had gone over the previous night. This is also a great way to start getting yourself ready to transcribe notes by ear. It's a sort of training wheels for that experience.

Have you tried visualizing your guitar playing?

This type of stuff has really helped me in the past. I'd like to get your take on the whole visualization thing. Let me know what you think by reaching out on Twitter or Facebook.