by Ed Yourdon
What Not to Do When Playing Guitar
Article by Charlie Wallace
It seems that some guitar players are so focused on what they should be doing when playing guitar, that sometimes terrible habits can creep in without them even knowing! Could you be one of these players?
When guitar players watch each other, usually they try to pick up on all the terrible things that they are doing rather than the excellent things, I’m sure you know what I mean as you have doubtless found yourself judging another Guitar player just on their mistakes. This is an simple trap to fall into, and most will by no means realized they even fell into it! What this means is that if you want to impress other Guitar players (Especially excellent ones) you are going to have to go back and fix all those terrible habits you may have made for yourself by the side of the way.
The first and largest mistake a lot of guitar players make, usually when they first start playing, is to learn a song, and try play it straight away. This usually results in the song sounding sloppy, messy and just unadorned terrible! Whenever you learn a song, do what the pros do! Get a metronome, learn the song at half speed, or even slower! I am sure that you could play anything in the planet on guitar at a snails pace! So do it, then everyday slowly increase the BPM (Beats Per Minute) on your metronome, next thing you know, you will be playing songs you thought were impracticable note for note and completely clean! Nobody wants to see someone try play something they can’t so just don’t do it.
Another mistake a lot of beginners make is to only use 2 or 3 fingers, usually leave-taking out their pinky because ‘It’s too hard’. The only reason it is too hard is because people do not generally use the small fiddle with unconnectedly in day to day life so the muscles are not developed enough for your brain to tell it what to do. Get all your fingers tender, even your pinky. Soon you will find that with a small practice is will soon become just as simple to use as any other fiddle with.
Have you ever seen someone play a song, make a mistake, then stop, start again and make the same mistake? This is because they are training them selfs to make mistakes! Whenever you play a song, if you make a mistake, whatever you do, do not stop! This is the worst thing you can do, especially when first culture a song. Even if you make a complete mess of it, try to get the rhythm going and after you end the song, go from the start. If you stop as soon as you make a mistake it can be very simple to get wedged at that point, and that is when a lot of people place the guitar down and by no means look at it again. Just because they didn’t know they were training them selfs to make mistakes.
Don’t jump ahead of your ability. You should know your own ability’s on a guitar, what you can play and what you can’t. Don’t try play something that is far beyond your current level of playing, because you simply wont be able to do it. Instead, build up your skills slowly. I know nobody wants to hear that, but it is the tried and right way to really get excellent at the guitar.
The main thing you have to remember is that the rock stars you try to emulate have been playing guitar in some cases their whole life! It takes a long time to get really excellent at guitar no matter how you learn. But stick at it, and one day all that work will pay off.