Learning to play the guitar is one of the best skills you can learn in life. Not only is it fun, creative, and immensely satisfying, but it also has a whole host of other benefits including improving your memory, improving your cognitive function, and improving your social life.
There are many different proven methods for learning guitar that ranges from the internet to a professional teacher to the homegrown self-taught method. Have a play and see what sounds great or trust your teacher to show you the ways. However, there are some pretty bad habits you can fall into pretty quickly if you aren’t careful.
So here we take a look at a few beginner mistakes all guitar players should avoid.
Avoiding Barre Chords
Most beginners will look at a barre chord and think, no way. They look complicated and you’re using every one of your fingers to press a fret. But, in reality, it’s not as difficult as you might think as all it takes is a little bit of practice. Your fingers will eventually get used to holding a barre chord as will the muscles in your hand. It’s like everything we do in life, the first time we try something, it’s going to be difficult. It shouldn’t stop you from trying though, right? The humble barre chord is a staple in many songs you’ll want to learn throughout your journey playing the guitar so the sooner you get on board and give it a go, the sooner you’ll be shredding those riffs.
Not Pushing Yourself
The number of amateur musicians that learn a song, think they’ve got it down, and leave it alone for a while is astonishing. However, to really progress in your guitar playing you should be learning a song and seeing if there are any other ways of playing it. Then once you’ve learned that chord progression, look for something else that is going to challenge you.
One of the biggest mistakes musicians make is not pushing themselves for something better. If you have the ability to learn one song, you have the ability to learn twenty songs. It doesn’t matter how difficult they are because you’ll progress as you’re learning.
Have Too Many Teachers
One thing that’s often done by students of the guitar is wanting to learn from as many people as possible. Whilst you might think this is a good way of learning it can actually confuse you as everyone has a different style of playing. You wouldn’t ask a 100m sprint coach to give you advice on a marathon. It’s the same in the guitar world.
As there are different types of guitar, stick to one teacher and your own practice time. This will give you a better chance of learning quicker and end up a more advanced player. Always make sure to practice what you’ve learned before moving onto something else.
Not Performing In Front Of Others
It can be pretty daunting and overwhelming the first time you play in front of others but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it altogether. Performing helps build your confidence and will enable you to think positively about learning more. Everyone makes mistakes, even the professionals so worrying that you’re going to make one isn’t going to help. Forget that there’s an audience in front of you and just go for it.
Failing To Tune Your Guitar Before Playing
Before learning guitar there are two main things you are going to need to buy. A guitar and a tuner. Playing your guitar out of tune will sound wrong but if you aren’t sure of the correct sounds just yet, you might learn incorrectly. Prioritize learning how to tune your guitar. Before every practice session, gig, or rehearsal you should be tuning your guitar to ensure it sounds perfect.
Learning How To Hold The Guitar Properly
Something that seems obvious is learning how to hold the guitar. It might come naturally to some people but for others, it might be a struggle the first time you pick it up. If you’re learning acoustic guitar then it will depend on the size of the body and if you want to sit down or stand up. Learn how to use the curvature of the guitar against your knee for the most comfortable seating position. With electric guitars, find the perfect place for it to sit on a strap around your neck. It might look cool to have it hanging down really low but it might affect your learning.
There are many mistakes to make, but that’s ok. Learning guitar is a process and it will take time. As long as you know the mistakes you shouldn’t be making then learning will become a lot easier. Use a teacher and develop a style of your own. You never know, you could become the next Jimi Hendrix.