The top three mistakes new guitar players make – and how to avoid them

Every new guitar player is going to make some mistakes in their learning journey. Here are the three most common mistakes – and how you can avoid them! 

Not tuning your guitar or playing with old strings

Your guitar has to be playable for you to really learn how to play. Many first-time guitar players use old guitars that may have belonged to a friend or relative and have been sitting unused for years.

The first step in your guitar journey is getting whatever instrument you’re using into the best condition possible. Get some fresh strings on it and make sure that it’s in tune. 

You should also make sure that the action is good. Action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. If your action is too high, the strings will be too far from the fretboard, making it difficult to press the strings down. If it’s too low, they will be too close to the fretboard and may not be able to ring out clearly. 

To check the action, hold down the low E string at the first fret and measure the distance from the string and the 7th fret. It should be about 3/32 of an inch, or 2.38mm. If it’s greater than that, it’s too high, and if it’s less than that, it’s too low. 

You should be able to fix the action on a guitar fairly easily using online tutorials, or take it in to your local guitar shop for help.

Not letting each note ring out while playing chords

When you’re learning a chord, make sure to hit each note and let them ring out. That way, you’ll be sure that you’re hitting each note correctly (with no buzzing or muted notes) and you’ll get used to the sound of each chord.

You can play a lot of songs with just a handful of chords.

Not having good posture 

Having good posture will make a huge difference in your guitar learning experience. It can be tempting to hold your guitar facing you at first to better see the fretboard. 

Sit up straight with your spine aligned and make sure that your guitar is upright on your right leg (or left leg if you’re a lefty). Rest your thumb on the back of the guitar neck. Use a guitar strap even if you’re sitting to avoid the guitar slipping.


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