10 Common Hurdles to Guitar Playing Progress

10 Common Hurdles to Guitar Playing Progress

Beginners in guitar playing often have trouble progressing because of lack of consistency. The key to playing effectively is the constant practice. However, if you always practice but still consistently make the same mistakes all over again, your guitar playing abilities may stay stagnant.

Guitar Playing Hurdles
Guitar Playing Hurdles

Never allow yourself to get stuck. Read on to find out how you can keep moving forward towards your goal of becoming a guitar legend. You may encounter quite a few common hurdles when you are trying to learn something new, especially in playing the guitar.

It can be annoying and frustrating at the same time. However, if you are interested, you need to put your heart into it, stretch your patience, and be mindful of the things you have been doing wrong since day one. Understanding the common mistakes of a beginning guitarist is the only way to play it right.

Try to do your homework by researching. There are so many guitar playing techniques you can learn online. In other words, do a self musical study. Or you may ask tips from other guitar players you know who have been playing for years.

There is no need to spend a lot of money with guitar gurus in music schools if you are determined to do it yourself. But again, always be mindful of consistency. If you feel like you are not moving forward with grace and are still struggling after a few months of playing, you may have been doing things wrong.

If you do not already know what you have been doing wrong all along, take note of these ten common hurdles to guitar playing progress:

1. Attempting to play too fast

As early as now, you need not worry about playing the guitar faster. What you do need to worry about is the placement of your fingers on the fretboard and the amount of force you have to use even to make an audible sound. You do not expect to be shredding like Dimebag Darrell in the first two months of playing – that is just utterly impossible. Instead, focus on playing slowly but correctly at first. Be sure to play every chord correctly, and speed will come naturally as you progress.

2. Not practicing enough

So now you can memorize all the chords, can create an audible sound, and can even strum correctly. Should you be confident already? No. You need to practice, practice, and practice some more. The biggest tip Slash can share in playing the guitar the way he does is to play every day. If you practice regularly, you will be able to keep that guitar playing engine going smoothly. Do not worry about stage presence AlaSlash just yet. Concentrate on your sound and aim for consistency.

3. You have no guitar playing objectives

You need to know where exactly you are going. Like any musical study, you need to set short term goals. For instance, as a beginner, you can start by learning barre chords for a month. Then, practice one song at a time but do not repeat the ones you already know how to play. If you are in your intermediate guitar playing level, you can aim to start learning to play the lead guitar in the next two months or so. Then choose more technically challenging songs as you go. Be sure to set realistic time frames and do not put too much pressure on yourself.

4. Too much distraction

Although it is recommended to do some research to improve guitar playing techniques, jumping from one resource to another may cause confusion. A common mistake beginners usually make referring to many Youtube tutorial videos at a time. Try to focus on one tutorial at a time to avoid getting distracted. Choose the one with a clear lesson plan and make sure it coincides with the goals you have set for yourself.

5. Not properly tuning the guitar before playing

Many newbie guitarists are not even aware that their guitar is out of tune. If you are one of them, you may need to learn how to tune your guitar correctly. There are available guitar tuners in music stores and user-friendly apps you can download straight to your smartphone to make your life a lot easier. Once you have familiarized the sound of standard tuning, practice tuning with your ears. You cannot be too dependent on auto and electronic tuning all the time if you aim at becoming a guitar legend someday.

Tuning the Guitar
Tuning the Guitar

6. Not doing warm up exercises

Do your fingers tire easily after a few minutes of playing? Well, you probably have to consider warming up. Guitar exercises require you to warm up just as much as working out does. To help your fingers loosen up, try doing finger independence exercises. This warming up is helpful in training the fingers move smoothly up and down the strings. Moreover, it helps with finger coordination. Meaning that you can help relax the fingers that are not in use for a particular chord while making sure the fingers that are in use are positioned correctly on the fretboard.

7. Not minding tempo and timing

For guitar players, or any musician playing different kinds of instruments, timing and tempo are everything. These are the elements you need to keep the rhythm alive whatever genre of music you intend to play. As a newbie, you may need the help of a metronome. This device creates ticks that represent the beat. You may adjust according to the beat a song requires (¼, 2/4, ¾, or 4/4).


8. Neglecting barre chords

In playing barre chords, you need to use one finger as a barre to hold down the strings. As a newbie, this can be difficult because you may need to use force with all your might to make a sound. Barre chords can be hard to learn, but that does not mean you have to avoid them. Take the challenge by picking songs that have barre chords and practice at least 5 minutes per day. Your fingers, hand, and wrist will eventually get used to it.

Barre Chord
Barre Chord

9. Shying away from others when playing

Even if you think you play terribly and not producing enough sound at all with your guitar, you have to teach yourself to play in front of other people. Pick your best friend or your mom as your first audience – just get used to the feeling of someone else watching you play. There is no reason for you to shy away from others. Look at the bigger picture – if ever you will become a guitar hero in the future, you will be playing in front of millions of people.

10. You do not have patience with yourself

The biggest hurdle to your guitar playing progress is yourself. You are your worst critic, audience, and teacher, so you better have a very stretchable patience with yourself. Guitar playing has some stages, and your growth is dependent on how you can patiently go through each stage slowly.

Now that you have a list of common mistakes a newbie guitar player makes try to avoid each one of them as much as you can. Again, your progress depends on yourself but do not push too hard. Try to work on your growth at a pace most efficient and comfortable for you.

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Mark Harrison is a professional guitarist from MusicalStudy.com. His blog is an online resource center dedicated to providing knowledge about music and musical instruments, focuses specifically on guitars. And Mark loves to share his knowledge with everyone.