4 Quotes from Non-Musicians That You Can Apply to Guitar Playing


In one of PAL's blog entries this month, we shared ways on how you can motivate your bandmates. While it’s important to have the support of people around you, it’s equally vital to have your own source of inspiration, too.

If you’re a guitar player, you may consider some legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Chuck Berry as inspirations. But musicians aren’t the only people that can serve as role models. Even the insights of non-musicians may be used as powerful motivators in your pursuit of mastering the guitar.

Here are some words of wisdom from people outside the music industry which you can apply to your craft.

1. "I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles." -Nelson Mandela

(image: Pixabay)

After the former president of South Africa passed away, USA Today honored his memory by sharing some of his best quotes. This one here emphasizes how vital it is to consider another person’s point of view.

A similar tip was also highlighted in the aforementioned previous post. It’s important that you are open to feedback from friends and fellow musicians. For instance, if you’re going to do a gig, ask your bandmates after the session about which things you still need to improve on. If your other friends were there to watch, you can also approach them about what they think of your playing and tell them to be honest in their assessments. You could even join a group of fellow musicians as well who gather every once in a while and you can exchange important things you’ve learned as musicians.

2. “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” -Michael Jordan

(image: CC licensed)

The name Michael Jordan has always been synonymous with greatness. There’s even a popular expression that goes, “I want to be like Mike.” That may be so, but the basketball star has admittedly failed multiple times throughout his career, too. The blogger and sports enthusiast David Ongchoco relayed the number of shots Jordan has missed as well as his game losses, but the important thing is that he did his best.

Just like in guitar playing, there will always be a song or musical composition which appears impossible for you to play. However, what will truly define you as a guitarist is if you have the guts to try and learn the piece no matter how hard it is. It’s one thing to not be able to play the whole song. It’s another to not want to play it just because it’s a challenging piece.

3. “Fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. Fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” - Bruce Lee

(image: Pixabay)

Bruce Lee is widely perceived as the greatest martial artist in history, and he’s often seen as the epitome of hard work and perseverance. He perfectly exemplifies raw power and intensity, which is why he’s frequently a model of characters in combat arcade games. His fight poses were even used as designs in a Bruce Lee slots game to generate excitement and bring in new audiences due to his transcending popularity. His movements are also characterized by precision and smooth flow – traits which are important for any guitar player to succeed.

But although The Dragon is admired for his physical prowess, his mentality and insights are sources of inspiration and motivation for many people as well. The words of wisdom above show how crucial it is to focus on a single task – practicing in this particular case. It’s a good mindset to follow if you want to be good at guitar playing.

Metal for Life explains that in order for you to excel in playing the instrument, pick a musical piece you really like then master it until the progressions and technicalities become almost like muscle memory. It’s better than knowing how to play a lot of songs but not being able to perform the riffs accurately.

4. “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” - The Dalai Lama

(image: Pixabay)

The Dalai Lama is one of the most respected, and perhaps most revered, individuals on the entire planet so much so that there are people who believe that he’s partly divine. So when he speaks and shares his wisdom, you can be guaranteed that it’s meaningful.

With regards to the aforementioned quote, all guitar players know that there are certain rules in this field. There are chord families, patterns, scaling, etc. But once you’ve familiarized yourself with these rules, it’s much easier to bend or even break them for the purpose of improvisation. The greatest guitar players know how to improvise.


All in all, thinking outside the box is a great way to develop your guitar playing skills, and ideas as well as inspiration may come to you from unlikely sources. Thus, it’s best to always keep your mind open.

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