So, are you an intermediate player or an advanced player? This is not an issue of ego, nor are the definitionsand descriptions found here, universal. They are not. The terms intermediate and advanced have particular meaning for the purposes of this web site. You are not superior if you are an advanced player nor are you inferior if you are an intermediate player. Every advanced player was intermediate at one time or another.

Many guitarists and instructors correlate these terms with the length of time an individual has played the guitar. In life, people have differing priorities and responsibilities. So, someone playing for five years, when there's free time after a day's work, family life and whatever other responsibilities make up that person's life, clearly may not have the same fretboard knowledge and understanding as a person who has made a serious pursuit of the instrument by working with a good instructor and has practiced diligently for 3 years. So, length of time playing is not necessarily significant.

In my opinion, the only measure to use, for determining the 'level' of a guitarist's experience, which should be reflected in their playing, is what they understand and play. This eliminates the guitarists who have read a lot and can discuss overtones and half diminished 7 chords, but cannot play Happy Birthday by ear in two different locations on the fingerboard. It also eliminates the guitarist who learned Leyenda or Jimi Hendrix's version of  The Star Spangled Banner by tabs and doesn't have the slightest idea what they are playing, other than fret locations.

Here is the guide I use to determine a guitarist's playing level:


A guitarist who has enough experience playing to be able to sight read music they have never seen, and play it accurately, but perhaps not flawlessly. An intermediate guitarist understands timing, limited theory and can sight-read and maintain the music's timing and has a fair knowledge of the fretboard. They are proficient from the first to at least the seventh fret of the guitar and can read and play in some positionsother than open, with the same ease and understanding as in open position.


A guitarist who has a great deal of experience and both fretboard and theoretical knowledge. An advanced guitarist can sight-read proficiently, maintain the timing of the music they are sight-reading, knows and understands the key they are playing in before they begin to play, understands the entirety of the fretboard and possesses the ability to play in many positions, including those above the seventh fret and can determine where a passage of music should be played on the fretboard, based on understanding the music on which they are working, fretboard knowledge and understanding of the principals of guitar technique.




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Wednesday, November 1,   2017