Category Archives: Basics

10 Mistakes Every Beginner Guitarist Makes

Beginner guitarists usually have a really hard time getting everything under their fingers. For the beginner guitarist, it’s all too easy to run into pitfalls, especially when you’re trying to learn guitar on your own. Know your mistakes and correct those, at the beginning and you’re set to go onto the right path toward playing guitar and sounding awesome. Here are some common mistakes we compiled to point out some potential stumbling blocks. Trying to avoid them will effectively improve your playing ability.

01. Wrong Practice: Do play what you already know before you work on new riffs and techniques.

02. Timing: Assuming that getting the notes and fingering right, is more important than the tempo/timing.  Timing is equally if not more important than getting the notes right.

03. Playing 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, the nursery song. Don’t try to learn riffs at full speed.  Building muscle-memory requires slow repetition.  Get used to cycling riffs over and over at low speed until it becomes automatic.

04. Playing Alone: Learning in isolation can be at a total loss when it comes to performing or to playing with other people. Once you get a little comfortable with the instrument, seize every opportunity to interact with other musicians and with teachers. Play in front of people as often as possible.

05. Out of tune playing: 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.

06. Lost in effects: Effect pedals are fun but don’t think they’ll actually improve your playing. When you are learning, the amp doesn’t matter either. As long as you can hear yourself don’t worry about having a flashy amp or pedals.

07. Wrong Fingering: Moving the whole hand when you could just move your fingers is wasted movement. For example, using 3 fingers to play an open D chord when it can be played with 2. No buzzes, mutes or trail-offs.  Practice using just enough pressure to get a clear sound.  Finger position within the fret is also important.  Always use the lightest possible touch.

08. Choosing the wrong gear: Don’t go by what a guitar looks like or how much it costs. 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.

09. Not warming up before playing: A five-minute warm up session before beginning your practice will magically improve your playing. Ever wondered why there are times when you pick up your guitar and cannot play something that you have played with ease before? The main reason is not warming up first.

10. Memorizing, but not applying:  You can memorize a ton of various riffs from other guitarists and play them all flawlessly. But most people don’t apply what they learned to their own playing.