It doesn’t matter how much natural talent you may have; if you don’t practice consistently enough to develop your calluses, playing will never feel easier. (And pain, as we all know, is a natural deterrent.)
Fix: Try to play short sessions a few times a day.
Mistake #2: Playing Songs That Are Too Hard
Everyone who sets out to play guitar has at least a few songs in mind that they’d love to have in their arsenal. Often – and sometimes unbeknownst to the player – these songs are really, really hard to play. With will of steel these newbies try and fail to play their favorite tunes, and frustration leads to quitting.
Fix: Start small with songs (goals) you can play (accomplish). Each new song will build confidence and bring you one step closer to your ultimate goal.
Mistake #3: Ignoring Rhythm and Strumming Patterns
It’s all-too-common to crave instant gratification when tackling the guitar. So when beginners figure out the chords to the songs they want to play, they often put all the focus on those notes without ever learning the proper rhythm and strumming/picking required. This just makes it more of a challenge to put it all together, which they’ll ultimately need to.
Fix: Take the time to learn the rhythm and strumming patterns of the songs you’re playing, along with the chords.
Mistake #4: Playing with Tension
Often because they just want it so badly, beginner guitarists tend to play with too much tension. They play with tense fingers and shoulders, and they press down hard on their strings. Though an “A” for effort is a nice idea, it doesn’t quite apply to playing an instrument. Extra grip – even in your face – can tire you out fast and interfere with your playing.
Fix: Take a deep breath in your seat before playing the guitar and mentally relax your face, shoulders, stomach, hands and legs. Once you feel you’ve achieved relaxation, you’re all set to pick up and play!
Mistake #5: Playing Cold
It’s understandable to want to jump right into playing songs. But without any warm up exercises, it’s easy to stumble through any song and hard to build on the universal fundamentals you’ve covered.
Fix: Do a few warm up stretches and scales to make the most out of every practice and performance.