I want you to imagine your guitar playing as an emergency room.
In an ER, the admitting nurses’ station is called “Triage.” Triage is a medical term that describes the act of prioritizing care based on the severity of patients’ injuries. The nurses have an elaborate system to ensure that the patients whose life is in the gravest danger get help the soonest.
In other words, the kid who broke his arm has to wait for the baby running a high fever, who in turn has to wait for the man with a bullet in his chest.
Guitar––as it is commonly taught––is like treating a broken toe with the exact same level of urgency as a bashed-in noggin.
With an essentially unlimited number of things you could be working on, you need to perform some serious Guitar Triage.
This is a simple and obvious concept to grok, but it’s difficult to deploy in your own life without some outside help. And for reasons I don’t understand, there doesn’t seem to be anyone* out there talking about the proper order in which to learn guitar.
Sometime soon I will (happily) get more granular about the proper sequence, but for now let me start by painting in broad strokes.
If your technique and time are anything short of amazing, fixing that is a hair-on-fire emergency. Start there. The longer you wait to do this, the harder it is to fix. Avoiding cruft is much, much easier than eliminating cruft once it’s accumulated.
Technique and time are best worked on with a teacher. Find a good teacher, and spend 100% of your lesson time getting your technique and time in order.
These things are acute trauma. Everything else is a stubbed toe.
*if there is someone out there talking about things like the proper sequence for learning guitar, but I missed the signal in the noise, please let me know––I want to be friends with this person.