Having taught the guitar for many years, I see the majority of beginners experiencing the same problems and making the same mistakes over and over again in their quest to learn how to play guitar. It’s my job to steer them through these problem areas.
These “mistakes” are basic errors that most beginners naturally tend to make. But these mistakes can cause major problems if you allow them to become habits in your playing. Unfortunately, 90% of guitarists have done just that!
Avoid These 3 Mistakes Like The plague
The three main mistakes MOST people make when learning how to play guitar are:
1: Trying to play too fast too soon.
Don’t be in such a rush. Trying to go too fast too soon causes serious problems. Sloppy playing and mistakes will become your trademark.
Learn to practice slowly and perfectly. The reason for this, is, what you program your brain and fingers with while practicing, is what you’ll get as a habitual and subconscious end result.
The GIGO computer term describes it best. Garbage In = Garbage Out. If you program a computer with faulty data, your results will be faulty too. It’s exactly the same with learning how to play guitar.
So practice everything very slowly and perfectly. Do this, and your playing will be to a higher standard than 90% of all other guitarists. Yes – even those that have been playing for years!
2: Too much body and hand tension.
Have you ever noticed how the top professionals make it all look so easy and effortless? How relaxed they are?
Take a lesson from that.
When learning how to play guitar, and in all practice sessions, you need to be as relaxed as possible at all times.
Unnecessary tension anywhere in the body when playing will stop you like a brick wall. Any “excess” tension in your fingers, hands, arms, elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck, chest, stomach, thighs, legs is extremely hazardous to learning how to play guitar properly.
Practicing the right things in the right way will give you amazing results – even if you practice only 10 – 20 minutes a day.
3: Learn the difference between practice time and noodling time.
Basically, you learn how to play guitar in two ways:- 1: when you practice, and, 2: when you noodle and try out new ideas.
Practice Time is SERIOUS Time!
It’s when you are specifically and very deliberately teaching your body and brain new motor and muscle-memory skills. This is all done very slowly, with great care and meticulous attention to detail. Never practice fast.
Practice time is where you develop muscle-memory and train your body to act in the most beneficial way for playing guitar. Remember – GIGO!
This is the foundation building time.. where you lay the foundation for learning HOW to play guitar the best way you can – without imposing limitations upon yourself through bad practice habits.
Noodling Time is where you learn how to play guitar by putting into practice what you study during your practice time. It’s where you to steal licks, chords and solos off records. It’s where you hunch over your cd player or computer with your guitar trying to hear and learn that tricky chord or lick.
It’s where good habits can easily become undone!
Better to do this… Once you learn a lick, sit down in your chair in the proper position and play that lick over and over at a slow speed while focusing on being as relaxed as possible and with absolute minimal finger movement. Program that lick, your physical movements and relaxation “perfectly” into your brain. Only when it becomes 2nd nature to you, and you “own” that lick, should you start speeding up.
But… always focus on being as relaxed as possible.
Noodling is fun, and a necessary part of learning how to play guitar. Do as much as you can. But.. don’t mistake it for real practice time. Don’t noodle with bad habits either.
Next… you need to ensure you are practicing the correct things in the correct way too. But that’s another story.