Playing full songs

So, I started playing about a year ago. I practice almost every day. I am pretty good at riffs and short pieces of songs. But, I am having trouble getting through entire songs from start to stop. Does this come with time? Is there something I should be doing?


It’s totally natural and a phase everyone goes through. Josh mentions it a few times later in the course, IIRC.

Best approach is… to play whole songs. Mix it in with your normal practice. Don’t worry about mistakes, just work on the endurance.


I’ll just pick a song and play it, slowing down the playback usually. Mistakes happen, sometimes I miss the groove in sections, but I get through it. And it gets better the more I try.


try to play a simple song at first. Practice it bits at a time until you can get through the whole thing. Then move on to something a bit more difficult. Repeat.

It takes time and practice to reach the level of endurance needed, but you can get there. We’ve all been through it, so don’t feel alone.


It depends, if the song is technical and have lots of fills and the goal is to finish the song in one go then I’d start with just root notes and simple fills then I’d add more but the goal is still playing through the entire song. This way things are easier as you go further and you are playing through still bite size. Some songs it’d take me months, but I know I’d get it.

The trick I know that works is to learn the fills plus 2 measures Don’t stop at the end of the fills keep going a bit pass it. That way you know you’ll get pass it and on to the next section every time.


As others said, simple tunes and those them in bite size chunks then string together two chunks then three etc. This gets easier the more you do it. The 50 song challenge is a great place to start as the easy songs are chosen on purpose by Josh. Some old Motown tunes are easier as well. Takes some doing to find a song you connect with and is at your skill level but you will be surprised what you can do.

What kind of music do you like?




Slowing down the playback is a major key to tackle new songs, cuz you don’t get kicked out after few bars. I use an app called ‘speed changer’ (Android).

When I start a new song, I extract the most difficult parts and practice them as long as necessary. In the next step I isolate some parts as intro, chorus, breaks and outro.

When I can play all elements at low speed, I start to play the full song at 70 or 80 percent of the original speed. I do not increase speed till I can play the song relaxed.


What exactly is the problem you are having? You get tired? Or can’t memorize the songs? Or can’t play through without mistakes? Or something else?


Not really tired… memorization and not playing fast enough to keep up.

I tend to like 70s easy listening. Eagles for example.


Have a look here…

Download a bunch, see what feels easy.
One of my earlier ones was Take A Bow - Madonna, pretty easy.


And you did a brilliant job on it as I recall.


I have trouble with a lot of songs because they’re just repetitive and boring and i just start thinking about the groceries i need to buy or when is Davie504s next video coming out??? :joy:

To get faster, play stuff slow, however slowly you need to play to be perfect; always aim to never practice your mistakes. Relax, pay attention to all the small movements you have to make, optimize the motions. If you need to improve your plucking speed, spend about 15 mins a night or every couple of nights with a metronome and gradually increase the bpm. After enough time playing slowly, you’ll probably find that you can play much faster without even trying to. You can also play slow, fast (or is it fast, slow?) play at a slow tempo but still make your movements between the notes quick. Most of it comes down to efficiency and muscle memory; if you have to think about what you’re doing before you do it, you won’t be as fast as you can be.

What helps me memorize songs is to actually listen to the song, paying attention to the chord progressions… then play the song, paying close attention to the notes and how they fit in with the chords… then eventually i hear in in my head that i need to play a 3rd or a 5th or whatever or it’s a chromatic run of 4 notes but I try to not specifically memorize all the notes themselves. Like how most people sing… they don’t know what notes they’re singing, they just try to reproduce the tones they hear with their voice. It’s taken me a lot of hours sitting there just trying to play random melodies that pop into my head; I’m hoping that in ~2 more years I’ll be pretty proficient at it. :slight_smile:

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