Author: Maise Hunter is a coordinator and organiser of tribute nights at a popular events venue in Nottingham.
Getting a new guitar is a pretty exciting thing, as soon as you get it home you will want to pick it and strum away to your heart’s content. You will be eager to learn everything you can about your new guitar as fast as you can so that you can impress your friends with your new abilities. You may even begin having visions of you on the big stage, taking on the world with your new sidekick.
However, many beginning guitarists can fall upon lots of different hurdles in the quest to play straight away and if they are not addressed, it can slow down the progress. In theory, no matter what your skill level is, it is crucial to evaluate your playing style occasionally to ensure that you have good habits in place before you get too far ahead of yourself.
Bad habits can become very deeply ingrained and this means they can be hard to break. If you address them as soon as they occur, you are more likely to be on a successful road to becoming the guitarist you set out to be.
Here are the top 3 things you should NOT do when you get a new guitar.
Do NOT continuously practice what you can already play
If you only play the stuff you already know over and over again, you are just spinning your wheels while stationary. You can use a song you already know as a warm up, but the idea is to push yourself to learn to play new things in order to constantly evolve as a player.
Try and learn complete songs instead of just parts, so many guitarists just learn several bars or the chorus and then trail off to another part of the song. If your showing off your talents and your only knowledge is a string of teasers, it doesn’t say a great deal about your ability.
Do NOT pay little attention to tempo and timing
A sense of rhythm is essential for every musician and regardless of whether you play in a band or just by yourself while singing, you should try and stay on time or you will struggle to sound good. Anyone that is listening will have great trouble to enjoy the music if you cannot keep a steady pace.
To be able to follow a beat is not actually a difficult skill to learn. A great tool is a metronome; you can either purchase one or use one online. Using a metronome every time that you practice will develop your rhythmic ability until you are skilled enough to hear the beat in your head without it. You’ll find playing a whole lot easier when you can follow a beat properly.
Do NOT try to play too fast, too soon
It may be every guitarist’s dream to pick up a guitar and be able to play like Eddie Van Halen straight away, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Initially, speed is not something you should aim for, you will develop speed after lots and lots of practice. You need to first learn how to control your fingers and make precise movements that can only possibly be learned at slow speeds.
Once you get used to the control in your fingers you will find that you speed up naturally without even trying. Playing too fast also means rushing through lessons without completely mastering them. How good of a guitarist you become in the future now depends entirely on how you practice as a beginner, things like not learning a chord properly before learning a different new cord causes sloppy playing that will only slow you down in the end.