They say we learn from our mistakes. But can we learn from others’ mistakes, too? We sure as hell can! Our topic for today is on the most common beginner guitar mistakes. A lot of beginners fall into the trap of doing these mistakes over and over again until they start to become a habit – a very bad habit, at that. Playing and mastering the guitar calls for a near perfect technique. However, if you are extra vigilant and avoid these mistakes, you will have paved a much easier path for your guitar journey and yourself.
We’re not saying that making mistakes is a mistake, per se. It’s completely okay to make mistakes, especially if you are a beginner, because who doesn’t? We are all humans. And humans make mistakes. If, by any chance, you learn that you have been doing any of the mistakes that will be listed shortly, then you know what you have to do. Stop doing it.
Mistake #1: Not caring whether your guitar is tuned or not before playing.
This mistake is fatal (Not really. But it’s serious)! I mean, what’s worse than a badly sounding guitar? A non-tuned guitar. It is extremely essential that you tune your guitar before each and every playing session. Some players will give you the excuse that their guitar always stays in tune. Others will say that they tune their guitars after they finish their playing session for the next day.
Firstly, how do you guarantee that your guitar stays in tune when you rarely tune it? Even if you have trained ears, you can’t be certain. Secondly, tuning after playing is also ambiguous. I sometimes tune my guitar after playing and the next day I find that it needs to be tuned once again.
It is said that guitar players, generally, enjoy their playing sessions more when their guitars are properly tuned, as obvious as that might sound. So make sure you tune your guitar before playing. A couple of minutes won’t hurt.
Mistake #2: Avoiding what is hard for you to learn.
Like seriously, how do you expect yourself to learn when you are running away from every thing that seems daunting to you? When you were in 5th grade, you’ve probably looked at some Algebra problems and thought, “This looks too hard! I don’t think I will ever be able to learn this kind of stuff.” And when you finish high-school and look again at an Algebra problem, you would probably think, “Damn, this thing is so easy!”
I noticed that beginners try to avoid barre chords and scales the most, both of which are important. Yes, they are hard. But your skipping them isn’t going to make your guitar mastery mission any easier, either.
Everything new to our eyes will look hard and complex. But after we get a good idea about them and practice, they will become as easy as pie. Do not run away from them. They’re not going to eat you, really. Practice makes perfect!
This is way, way too common. There are cases where the guitar players gets impatient just after 1 week of playing! Like, hold on there. One year is probably not enough to learn the guitar, more or less one week! If you give up quickly after picking up the instrument, then you probably don’t have a strong desire to learn playing it. Learning how to play the guitar is process that requires time, commitment, and, most importantly, patience.
Mistake #4: Not playing on the tips of your fingers.
So your playing sounds muted? Well, have you taken a look at your form while pressing the frets? No? Then I suggest that you do. You would see that your own fingers are laying on the other strings, thus, muting them. Mystery solved! Seriously though, PLAY ON THE TIPS OF YOUR FINGERS!
That’s why form is important. Just a simple mistake such as this can be detrimental to the whole process of learning. If you are not able to play on the tips of your fingers, then check you hand positioning. Kinking your wrist way too in that your palm is covering the bridge is one reason. Not only will it tire your wrist out, but also prompt your fingers to mute the strings.
Mistake#5: No metronome.
Without a metronome, your timing will be messed up. Period. Yes, it is annoying to constantly hear this clicking sound. But it’s better than having a poor timing. It makes the music just… not music. Music is about timing. So invest in getting a metronome, or just download a metronome app on your mobile or device. There are plenty of them out there for free.
Now beginners who have just started playing won’t be in need of a metronome much. At that stage, focusing on form and chords would probably be of more importance. When you start into the strumming techniques, like the 8th and 16th note strumming, that’s when using a metronome becomes essential.
Mistake#6: Not setting goals.
Let’s say you don’t set goals. How and in what order do you progress? What is it that you want to reach? Having a vision of where you want to be will give you a source of inspiration and motivate you to keep playing and practicing. It can be anything that you like. A poster of your favorite player is an example. You can also make journal of your daily progress. It will be fun and even funnier when you go back to reading them once you become a pro. Be creative.
Some people ignore this step, but it is extremely important. Setting goals will give you a clear understanding of where you are in your journey. No goals = no aim = no results.
Again, if you happen to be making one of these, it’s the time for you to learn from them and stop committing them.
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See Also: How To Lessen Finger Pain From Guitar