How to Become a Professional Guitarist

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So, you’ve bitten the bullet and decided to become a professional guitarist? Well, good for you! The life of a professional guitarist is difficult but rewarding at the same time. Whatever the naysayers may say, if you play your cards right, you can indeed make a living as a professional guitarist, all the while doing what you love!

If you want to play guitar as a profession, you have to bring your A-game. Here’s our brief guide on how to become a professional guitarist to help make things clearer for you.

Get the Equipment

First of all, every guitarist must have an axe. Like it or not, music isn’t a cheap hobby or profession. It requires robust instruments and equipment to ensure that you create the best, “professional” sound.

This doesn’t mean chucking out all your savings. A decent, well-sounding guitar and accessories can be bought at diverse price ranges.

However, if you plan to record your musical musings and compositions, you’ll need to invest in proper recording equipment. And that can set you back a lot, depending on your needs.

Thankfully, there are cheaper options. So, do your research, get the right equipment, and put it in a gig bag so you can take it around easily whenever you have a gig.

Getting a Degree in Music

This is by no means necessary; however, getting an academic education in music can open many doors for you. Entry into top institutions like Berklee or Julliard will not come easy, but there are plenty of other universities and conservatories that offer degrees in music and other related fields.

What’s more, this can provide you with the opportunity to make friends and surround yourself with music. After graduating, you can even avail this network to get more gigs and general outreach.

Expand Your Musical Horizons

Learning just one genre of music will set you back quite a lot unless you’re a guitarist for a proper band. Even then, you won’t harm yourself by learning other techniques and styles.

If you’re more into rock, explore some jazz. Or if you only play funk, try some reggae. The chances are that some of the paid gigs you do will have particular requests, such as, for example, a reggae themed wedding!

Teach Guitar

A great way to earn money as a full-time guitarist is by giving lessons to others, whether children or adults. These days, there are plenty of places where music lessons can be easily given. Not to mention, Skype and Google Hangouts is another way to remotely teach others how to play the guitar.

Not only will you be helping people get into the guitar, but you’ll also be making money while you do so. Plus, teaching can be a rewarding experience in and of itself.

Learn How to Read Music or Get in a Band

Yes, I know you’re grimacing, but learning to read sheet music can advance you well beyond your domain. Plenty of professional bands and film scores require players to read musical notation.

By doing so, you can easily become a musical part of any group. It’s like reading out loud. Also, just knowing how to read guitar tabs won’t take you as far. To be at the cutting edge of music, invest time in learning how to read music properly.

Master the Fretboard

This goes without saying, but you need to know your guitar neck like the back of your hand. Or even better! You should learn all there is to know, including all the notes, arpeggios, chords, scales, modes.

Plus, start building your repertoire of licks and riffs. These can help you out when you’re in a pinch.

Keep Learning!

Being a professional guitarist means, first and foremost, that your learning never ends. You need to constantly get rid of your weaknesses and scale up your strengths.

If you’ve chosen this life, this should hearten you! Now you have a never-ending opportunity to learn new styles, master new techniques, and compose out of your comfort zone.

Learning doesn’t come easy though, and after a while, you can hit a plateau which seems to never end. But if you put in the time and use a good instructional method, you can go above and beyond your current level.

By a good instructional method, we mean a way or platform for learning music that caters to all genres and has a vast wealth of knowledge and in-depth instruction. This is an area where we can easily suggest GuitarTricks.

As a guitarist, you will find no better avenue to learn your instrument, whether you’re just starting out your guitar journey or well on the way. We’re keen on GuitarTricks because we can recommend it without hesitation.

It not only has a refined, streamlined instructional system to help you fill gaps in your skills and knowledge, but its library houses over 11,000 guitar lessons with in-depth instruction from seasoned and expert guitar teachers.

Not to mention the more than 1,000 songs whose copyrights GuitarTricks has bought for the purpose of instruction. So, playing with cover bands for some extra money will be way easier!

The life of a professional guitarist is demanding but enthralling as well. We wish you well on your journey, and hope that this guide on how to become a professional guitarist was helpful for you!

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.