7 Beginner Guitar Tips – Avoid These Common MistakesGuitarSpotting
Beginner Guitar Tips
There’s no denying that learning how to play guitar can be tough. So we’ve got some beginner guitar tips to help make the process a little smoother.
Think of these suggestions as building blocks in your guitar playing knowledge base. Learning proper technique early on helps provide a solid foundation, and as you add new skills, you build it up little by little, brick by brick.
Good habits and proper technique lead to big results.
Here are 7 key guitar tips for beginners, to help take your guitar playing up to 11.
Teach Yourself Guitar
Just starting out on your guitar playing journey?
You may want to check out:
Best Way to Learn Guitar – In this article, I go through several top methods people are using to teach themselves guitar in 2017. Hopefully you’ll find the perfect one for you. Are you ready?
Best Beginner Guitar Guide – If you’re thinking about buying a new guitar, check out this detailed article on what to look for along with recommendations on some great starter guitars.
7 Guitar Tips for Beginners
1. Learn to Play Chords Slow and Clean
When you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to try and play along to songs, which means you need to change chords fast and on the fly. While playing along with a song can be a fun and useful technique, it’s important to learn how to play guitar chords properly first.
So start out nice and slow.
Grip the guitar neck with your left hand (reverse if you’re left-handed) using proper technique: thumb on the back of the neck, fingertips pressing down on the strings near the upper end of the fret.
Form a chord, and make sure none of your fingers are touching any of the other strings. Strum the chord slowly, string by string, to make sure you can hear each one ring out cleanly.
Do the same thing when changing chords. Make the change slowly, and ensure that your chords sound clean, with no buzzing or muted strings.
You’ll soon start developing muscle memory in your hands, and chords that once seemed tricky will suddenly be easy to play. After you’ve mastered playing a few chords slowly and properly, you can speed up to the right tempo, and sound great right away.
A cool secret weapon for building that muscle memory faster is the pressing technique. Check out the video below, it’s simple but very effective.
2. Don’t Avoid Difficult Chords
Sure, at the very beginning it makes sense to focus on learning a few easy chords, so you can see (and hear) some quick results.
But pretty soon you’ll encounter a chord you find hard to play – there’s no way around it. A natural tendency is to avoid chords that give you trouble, and focus only on songs that use chords you can easily play. Don’t do that!
This is especially true when it comes to F Major, along with barre chords.
These chords are tricky to learn and often present the first major hurdle for a beginner. It can definitely be frustrating.
But barre chords are a shape you’ll need to use a lot, so you may as well learn to play ’em now.
When you encounter a troublesome chord, go back to rule # 1 and tackle it slowly. It may be a little boring, but just be patient, build up that muscle memory, and keep practicing until you own it.
3. Stretch Your Hands Before Practice
Before playing or practicing, it’s a great idea to give your hands a little “warm up”. Just do a few finger stretching exercises first, and you should be good to go.
Stretched, nimble fingers will help you avoid injury, improve dexterity, and lead to quicker improvement in your guitar playing.
Here’s a video showing some basic finger stretching techniques:
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Let’s be honest: sometimes practicing can be a little dull.
But you’ll find this point on any list of beginner guitar tips for a reason.
Because frequent practice is an essential factor in learning how to play guitar properly, and getting better results faster.
It’s easier to slip a little guitar practice into a busy day if you’ve got 20 minutes available and just go for it, instead of thinking you need to play for an hour or two and never actually finding time to get started.
Practicing for 20-45 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week if possible, will give you better results than practicing for 2-3 hours once or twice a week.
Playing frequently will definitely speed up the learning process. And repetition is key when forming a new habit.
Practice makes perfect – the more often you do it, the better off you’ll be.
5. Experiment With Musical Styles
Regardless of which musical genres you love, it’s never a bad idea to expand your musical horizons and listen to diverse types of music. Try to figure out how the role of the guitar changes for each one, and incorporate different play styles into your routine.
Playing your favorite songs certainly makes guitar practice more fun, and will keep you coming back.
But it can be extremely rewarding to experiment with different styles, especially ones that take you out of your comfort zone.
And it can also accelerate your learning curve.
6. Practice With a Metronome
Guitar playing is all about rhythm and timing.
Once you’ve mastered a few guitar chords, you should be able to strum out some songs. It’s fun and can help improve your skills, but once you start paying attention to tempo and beat, you may be surprised to find out your timing is all over the map.
Playing with a metronome will help you stay at the same tempo throughout the song, and greatly increase your sense of timing.
This will become especially important once you start playing with other people.
It’s also a good idea to tap your foot to the beat. It’ll help give you (and the song you’re playing) a little rhythm and swing.
You can find a lot of free metronomes online. If you’re working on a particular song, you can look up the BPM (Beats Per Minute) on the site below, and set the metronome’s BPM to that number so you can practice the song at the same speed as the recording.
7. Stay Patient & Never Surrender
Learning a new skill is hard. You will get frustrated, and you will get impatient.
The sooner you accept this, the quicker you can move on to mastering the guitar.
It’s essential not to try and move too fast. It’s tempting for all of us to want to keep trying new songs and learning new tricks, but take the time to understand what you’re working on first, and to learn full songs (not just fragments), before moving on to that cool new thing.
Some days you’ll feel like you’re making good progress, and other days you’ll feel like you can’t play at all. It’s perfectly normal.
Tricky chords and riffs WILL frustrate you from time to time, but just be patient and keep working at it. Proper technique and repetition are the keys to success.
The last point here is probably the most important one of all: the only thing that will kill your guitar playing career is giving up.
So don’t give up.
Just keep practicing and learning, and pretty soon you’ll be amazed at what you can do. And so will all your friends.