5 Common Mistakes of Beginner Guitarists

Buying your first guitar and strumming your very first note can be an exciting feeling – and that’s only the beginning!  Pretty soon, you’ll be mastering major and minor chords, impressing your friends and family with full songs and spouting off music theory.  And of course, next comes venturing on stage, sold-out shows and hearing the roar of the crowd, right?

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s important to evaluate your playing style and make sure you have good practice habits.  No matter where you’re at in your guitar studies, bad habits have a funny way of getting engrained in our minds.  If you’re not working closely with a private guitar teacher, those habits can be detrimental to your success.  Here are 5 common mistakes that beginners tend to make, as originally posted on The Punch-In Blog from TrueFire.com:

1. Not practicing correctly.
When you pick up your guitar to practice, do you just play what you already know — or do you work on new riffs and techniques? Often the best way to progress it to find a balance between playing what you already know and working on something new. Divide up your practice time between mastering the techniques you already know and challenging yourself with new learning material.

2. Trying to play beyond one’s ability.
You cannot expect to be able to shred out Steve Vai licks if you haven’t mastered Mary Had A Little Lamb yet (the nursery version, not the Stevie Ray Vaughan song). Trying to play far outside of your current ability will only bring frustration. You have the entire rest of your life to build your guitar playing up to a level of mastery — take your time and find your own path.

3. Choosing the wrong gear.
When you’re first starting out, it is easy to get caught up in what a guitar looks like or how much it costs. These days, well-made instruments are available at virtually every price point. The best thing to do when going shopping for that first guitar is to bring someone who knows the ins and outs of guitar shopping. Let them help you choose the best guitar for your budget and the playing style you’d like to learn.

4. Playing an out of tune instrument.
Learning to tune is your first job as a budding guitarist, and you should tune your instrument every time you pick it up. If you are always playing a guitar that is out of tune, your ear never really gets to learn what each of the notes and chords should sound like. Plus, an out-of-tune instrument will always sound bad no matter how well you’re playing.

5. Learning in a vacuum.
These days there’s an abundance of online guitar lessons, videos, guitar books, DVD’s and other materials that allow you to learn at your own leisure. Given all the available tools, you could gain a ton of chops and know-how. But someone who spends all his time learning in isolation can be at a total loss when it comes to performing or to playing with other people.  Everyone can benefit from constructive feedback, so taking private guitar lessons is a great way to ensure your success from all angles.

Do you make any of these mistakes, or have you made them in the past?  If so, how did you correct the bad habits?  Share your own tips and thoughts with the TakeLessons community on Facebook! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.


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