Common Guitar Mistakes

Common Guitar Mistakes Made

In the guitar world there are some common guitar mistakes by players that “can and will” cause a delay with developing your skills when you are just learning how to play the guitar.  As a beginner you are going to make some mistakes, and you need to be aware that certain mistakes can take years away from your skill development.  But what if you had the chance to learn about mistakes that guitarists have made in the past – and then got to correct these mistakes before they could even start!  That’s what this menu page is attempting to do!  We want to help you recognize the most common mistakes by guitar players, so you can improve faster as you are learning how to play the guitar.

common guitar mistakes

Why would you want to make the same mistakes as thousands of other guitarist anyway?  Save yourself a lot of wasted time, develop your skills faster, and become the best guitarist you can be.  Read on…

how to play the guitar

1. Trying to play too fast, too soon! This may be the most common mistake made by guitarists.  Many guitarists want speed, and want it now!  I can tell you that without lots of hard work and “perfect” practice habits, you may eventually get “faster,” but most likely a lot “sloppier” also.  You have to know what you are capable of – the speed will come if you practice slowly and accurately.  Start slow, go only as fast as you can while maintaining a good, clean sound from each note or chord when you play it (sloppy sounding scales or chords won’t get you anywhere).  If you just show a little patience, you can achieve your goals much faster.  If not, you will develop bad playing habits very quickly, and these bad habits will take twice as long to get rid of.  Remember – If you can’t play it slow, then you will never be able to play it fast!

2.  Trying to do it all on your own!  Many players waste a lot of time trying to figure things out on their own.  I can assure you that a couple lessons with a good teacher can get you moving quickly in the right direction.  It may be just what you need!  You can take lessons every week, or just once a month – just as long as someone, other than yourself, is giving you professional feedback from time to time.  You have to make sure that you select a good teacher, not just the first teacher that comes along or some local guitar teacher (just because he or she is just a few miles away and it’s convenient for you).  Convenience may not help you become a better guitarist.  Taking a few lessons and getting the proper feedback can make you a better player much quicker than just learning on your own.  Try different teachers, and never stop looking for the right one…

3.  I want to play like Eddie Van Halen – He is a guitar god!   Yes, Eddie Van Halen is a guitar god, but you will never be Eddie (unless you want to be in a Van Halen cover band).  You need to find your own style!   Can your style include Eddie Van Halen licks and tricks – you betcha, but it needs to have your “personal flavor” attached.  When I was in a band, we would play tons of cover songs, but I would never learn the solo’s “note for note.”  I would learn the first part of the solo, any major licks in the middle, and the ending lick.  That was it.  The rest of the solo was all my style, I would use what I thought would work best and sound best to me.  This allowed the audience to still feel like they were listening to the original lead, and allowed me to feel like I was getting to add a piece of my style to the lead.  I would also suggest learning a little about other styles of music – even if you don’t like jazz guitar, country, or pop – you should still try to learn a little bit of every style.  In the long run, this could “define” your guitar style.

4.  Understanding when your teacher just cannot help you anymore!  If you are not being challenged by your guitar teacher, then it’s time to move on.  Don’t be timid about changing teachers, it’s your future, do what’s best for you.  Also, don’t allow your teacher to force a certain style or learning system down your throat.  If the teacher is pushing you to learn jazz scales, and you don’t really want to learn jazz scales – stop, don’t continue, and find someone that will teach you what you are looking for.  Make sure that your teacher is always “challenging” you, and looking out for you (if not, look for a teacher who will).

5.  Keep it Interesting!  Yes, practicing scales for hours will be boring, but it will eventually be very beneficial to your development.  But it’s also very important that you try to keep it fun.  You have to create a balance between hard core practicing and learning / playing songs that are interesting (fun).  Keeping yourself motivated to practice is a big part of your development as a guitarist (but find a way to keep it fun also).

6.  Playing with other musicians!   Don’t put a time frame on this, you need to play with other musicians as much as possible (whenever you can, and wherever you can).  Even if you are nervous or even a little scared to play with other musicians – get over it. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes when you are jamming, as long as you are learning something and fixing the mistakes.  Jamming with others will not only show you “how and where” you are progressing as a guitarist – it will also help to point out your playing “flaws” and what you need to work on.  Do it now, don’t make excuses, find some musicians to play with…

7.  What on earth are you playing?  One of the hardest things a guitarist can do is to be honest about their playing.  What I mean by this is that you really need to “listen” to what you are playing.  I have seen guitarists turn up their CD player, and start playing to songs – but it was so loud, you couldn’t tell if they were playing the song correctly (and most likely they weren’t playing the song correctly).  The idea of playing to CD’s is a good one, but you have to make sure you can hear the parts you are playing (and not get drowned out in the moment).  There are other things to listen for when you are playing.  Are you in tune, are you playing the right notes to the lead, are you playing the right chords?  It is very common for beginning guitarists to play along with songs thinking they got it down, but once they turn the song down – reality sets in (it doesn’t sound so great after all).  Be a good listener, and you will become a better player.

8.  Not Understanding the importance of the Fundamentals!   I know many young guitarists that can play some pretty cool songs, or even just parts of songs.  But, then you invite them to Jam a little, and they can’t even get through an easy chord progression.  This is a major problem with younger players, they want to learn cool riffs and parts of leads, etc – but they ignore the fundamentals.  One of the biggest common guitar mistakes a guitarist can make is to think that just because they can play the beginning to “Crazy Train” or “Back in Black” that they are developing as a player – but nothing can be further from the truth.  Anyone can just learn songs or riffs and look cool to their friends, but it will take a lot of hard work and dedication if you really want to become a good guitarist.  Don’t spend the first 3 years of your guitar life just learning parts of songs and riffs only to discover that you really don’t know that much about playing the guitar.  It’s inevitable that you will have to learn the basics if you want to develop your skills – so you might as well start right now.  It’s ok to learn songs, but don’t neglect learning the fundamentals.

9.  Be a “Guitar God” in 7 days!   As soon as you understand that there are no quick ways (or magical methods) that will help you become a good guitar player, the better off you will be.  If it sounds too good to be true – it most likely is too good to be true.  You have to realize that only hard work, commitment, and dedication is the only way you are going to develop your guitar skills.  You have to “earn” your playing skills – they cannot be bought!  There is so much to learn about playing the guitar, there is no way it can happen quickly.  Focus on learning, and don’t put any kind of timetable on how long it’s going to take.

10.  The “EGO” – Thinking that you are a great player…and you’re not!   It’s ok to think you are the best guitarist in the world, but I can tell you this – you’re not the best guitarist in the world… How do I know this?  Well that’s pretty easy, if you are reading this, you are most likely a beginner or intermediate player – so you still have a long way to go.  Can you be the best guitarist in the world – yes you can, but you have to understand what it’s going to take.  Get rid of the “ego” as soon as possible, and get to work.  Most so called “great guitarists that really aren’t that good” don’t recognize the mistakes in their playing (and if you feel there’s nothing to fix, there won’t be much effort to fix what you don’t recognize).  Once you feel you are a great guitarist and have nothing else to work on, then you are pretty much finished as a player – and there’s not a lot of hope for you.  As a serious player, you should always feel like you can get better at playing, and there’s always something more that you can learn.  Even the great Randy Rhoads (god rest his soul) was planning to take “classical” guitar lessons because he wanted to learn everything he could about the guitar.

On the other hand, if you are a pretty good guitar player, and you keep telling yourself you “suck” – that’s not exactly a good thing either.  Be realistic, use only constructive criticism, be open to suggestions, and fix your mistakes.  Don’t let something as simple as your “ego” keep you from achieving your goals as a guitarist – let it go…

It’s now up to you…

If you read all the information above in common guitar mistakes, you are now able to either fix your mistakes or even stop mistakes from ever occurring.  One of the smartest things a new guitarist (just learning how to play the guitar) can do is to learn from the mistakes of others.

Are you that guitarist? 

 common guitar mistakes