Are You an Intermediate Guitar Player Yet?

Guitar Intermediate Skills Overview
Are You an Intermediate Player Yet?
(For Electric or Acoustic Guitar)
By John McCarthy

Let’s see if you have what it takes to be called an “Intermediate Level Guitarist.”  I put the following list together to help you assess where you are as a guitarist. It's more general and is not genre specific so there may be a few things that should be added or taken out if you specialize in one specific style of music. I feel that an intermediate level bassist should be playing for at least one year to be able to gain the knowledge and feel needed to attain this level. If there are a few things you find you are lacking but you still consider yourself at the level I suggest that you work quickly to attain this knowledge.


Minor Pentatonic Scales – You should have these memorized and be able to play them across the neck in all keys

Major Scales – All seven scale positions in all keys

Scale Patterns – Be able to play these scales in patterns of 2’s, 3’s and 4’s forwards and backwards


Bending – You should be comfortable bending whole, half and quarter step bends with all four fingers.

Hammer-Ons and Pull_Offs – you should be proficient with these techniques and be able to use them within the scales listed above.

Basic Major and Minor Arpeggios – you should know three major and three minor versions


Major, Minor, and Dominant Seventh Open Form Chords – small versions located within the first four frets of the guitar usually containing open strings, you should know five voicing of each

Major and minor bar chords – both 6th and 5th string roots, these should be memorized cold across all 12 frets.

Strum Patterns – By now you should be comfortable alternate strumming with varied syncopations. Your arm is relaxed and your motions are smooth.


Key Signatures of all 15 Keys – You should know the sharps and flats that are in every key this will give you the knowledge to start writing song and creating progressions.

Chord Formulas for Major, Minor, Major 7th and Minor 7th Chords – These formulas can be used on all the 15 keys to learn the notes that make these chords, now you will be able to create your own voicing and fingerings.

The Chromatic Scale – The 12 notes that make up all music KNOW THEM COLD! Starting on any note.

Know the Names of the Notes on the Neck – Be able to play any note on the neck and say its name instantly


Songs – you should know how to play at least 10 of your favorite songs, rhythm and leads

Lead Guitar – You should have backing tracks that you can use to play the scales listed above over and be able to create basic melodies of your own. I’m not saying you should be ripping it up yet but you should be able to create melodies.

If this sounds like you, then you're on the way to becoming an advanced player.

Now let’s hear some jamming!!!


Crucius1 said...

First I want to thank you all for the great work. The Rock House Method is a great way of making my dream become true, being a great guitar player.
Now, I have a question: Normally, how much time does it take to become an intermediary? To learn all this?

Anonymous said...

about a year it said... but each player learns at different paces, also the amount of practice time dedicated to it.

Craig Cyril said...

Lots of useful stuff for guitarists. Guitarists know a lot about their instruments--techniques, chords, songs etc. But what many guitarists don't know is what you shared here with us. Thanks for wonderful sharing.
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Anonymous said...

well thanks for pointing out that i'm a beginner after a year and a half of lessons. Nice.
I have a two word sentence in mind for you.

Anonymous said...

right on! I know almost all this stuff! and I can do pretty decent solos in any key! Rock house has helped me learn alot. I am still young though I have to time to become better!