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Five Mistakes New Guitar Players Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Five Habits that Hold Back Your Guitar Playing

Many beginning guitarists, in their zeal to learn playing, can quickly fall into habits that may hinder their playing. Without conscious effort to counteract these mistakes, they may find the journey rougher than necessary. Here are some of the most common mistakes made and how you can avoid or correct them.

practicing the guitar

Practicing the guitar

#1 Being Vague About Your Guitar-Playing Goals

It may be all right at first to play just for the sake of playing. But before long, you should solidify and state your goals, otherwise, you may wind up simply noodling non-stop or giving it up altogether. Do you want to play Rock? Jazz? Country? Do you fancy yourself more of a rhythm guitarist than a lead player, or vice versa? Is there a particular song that you’d like to master?

The clearer you are about your goals, the easier it will be to focus your efforts on achieving that goal. Don’t worry, however, if you change your mind about your goals; you can simply re-focus your efforts on the new goal. Whatever you were doing before won’t have been in vain. Chances are you will be able to incorporate what you’ve already learned in working towards your new goal. Learning is never wasted.

#2 Not Taking Lessons

Technically, you can learn guitar on your own. However, you will not progress as fast or as effectively as you would with some kind of training. Without an instructor, you won’t have access to information you could use to become a better player. In addition, you are likely to fall into habits, such as ineffective fingering or poor guitar handling techniques, which can hinder your playing. Finally, paying for lessons is putting some skin into the game – you are more likely to be held accountable both by your instructor and by your pocketbook, both of which will give you an incentive to practice. It is worth the investment to pay for lessons.

#3 Using a Shoddy Guitar

Let’s face it; most of us can’t afford to spend $2000 on a guitar, especially if you are a younger or beginning player. But think twice before dropping $50 on a “box-store” guitar made by a company you’ve never heard of. Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, and many other respected manufacturers make fine, inexpensive guitars for students, generally including all the accessories (strap, strings, pick, etc.) necessary to start playing. You can also find super deals on used equipment. Make sure that you test used products completely before purchase, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

#4 Not Paying Attention to Rhythm

No matter what level of playing you have reached, playing in rhythm is a must. You will never be any use to anyone else (even your own self, when singing) if you can’t keep a beat. You can buy a metronome anywhere musical equipment is sold. You can even go to websites that have an online metronome you can use for free, such as http://www.metronomeonline.com. No matter which way you go, do it in rhythm.

#5 Not Practicing on a Regular Schedule

This is a big one. It is better to spend 15-20 minutes each day at the same scheduled time than it is to play for an hour “just every so often” or “when you have the chance.” Use a calendar or daytimer app and mark in the exact time you plan to practice. Stick to it! In time, it will become second nature. You may also find this works well in other areas of your life, too.

These simple solutions to common mistakes will help you achieve your goals quicker. Persevere, practice, and you will become a success.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664.

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