7 Simple Mistakes Self-Taught Guitar Players Make

self-taught guitar players

Learning a new instrument can be really fun and exciting, especially when you have the drive to teach yourself. When learning guitar, there are some common mistakes that you can make when you don’t have an instructor or lesson teacher there to help. Fortunately, Bobby, the Guitar Answer Guy, shares some tips on fixing these problems in his article, “7 Simple Mistakes Self-Taught Guitar Players Make…and How to Fix Them.

#2 Playing only upstrokes (or downstrokes)

This can be an unconscious habit rather than a mistake but is no less difficult to shake. Often the guitar player won’t even know they are doing this until it’s pointed out to them by an instructor…A good fix for this is to omit playing of notes with the fretting hand completely and spend a few minutes with 3 picking-only exercises:

Begin by alternate picking each of the thickest strings, moving to the next string after one down-up motion. Next try down-up down-up on each of the two thickest strings, finally try full alternate picking on one string.

This is very common in beginning players, and as Bobby mentions, you might not even notice you are doing it. Next time you pick up the guitar and start strumming, try to pay attention to your strumming pattern. If you are only strumming in one direction, try out Bobby’s tips he mentions above.

Bobby also discusses moving chord shapes:

#7 Thinking that jamming is just for highly skilled players

Regardless of your abilities, playing live with other musicians is something you should treat as another aspect of your development and an integral part of your guitar apprenticeship. There’s a huge brotherhood of musicians at these jam nights that will support you and from whom you can learn so much.

I absolutely love the point that Bobby makes here. Not only can jamming be a really fun way to play out and meet other musicians, but it is also a great learning opportunity. Having the chance to spend time with other musicians, especially those who have been playing for a long time, will excite you about playing your instrument and also provide you with tips and tricks on how to improve. Why sit and home and play for the cat when you could be out jamming with other musicians, having a ton of fun, and learning at the same time?

Bobby Davis, The Guitar Answer Guy, is an Air Force Vet that has been playing guitar since 1987. His site, guitaranswerguy.com, is designed to help guitarists of all levels learn about proper care and maintenance for their instruments, and also provides some guitar lessons and theory information. To learn all of Bobby’s tips on fixing common self-taught mistakes, please visit his full article at https://www.guitaranswerguy.com/16-seven-simple-mistakes/.

Cassidy is the Digital Marketing Manager at Making Music and has recently begun her career in the music industry. In May 2017, she graduated from the Crane School of Music with a double degree in Music Business and Music Theory. Upon graduating college, Cassidy did an internship with DANSR, Inc. in Illinois before moving to Southern California where she was the NAMM intern for six months. Her favorite instrument is the clarinet, but she also enjoys dabbling with guitar, piano, ukulele, saxophone, and flute.

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