3 Mistakes Beginning Guitar Players Make When They Start To Learn To Play

By Maurice Richard

You are about to start the journey of a lifetime and learn how to play the guitar! Congratulations!

That's an awesome decision and one that will pay dividends for you in many ways. The guitar is such a cool and versatile instrument and being able to play it is something most people would love to do.

You are excited and motivated right now so let's help you keep that fire burning.

Here are 3 mistakes that many aspiring guitar players make when they first learn how to play and how to avoid them so you can be successful.

1. You Start On A "Beginner" Acoustic Guitar

Most people who want to learn to play the guitar know nothing about guitars. That's expected.


So, when a friend who can already play or a salesperson at the guitar store tell you that the best way to learn to play the guitar is to start on an acoustic, who are you to question them?


Unfortunately, that is not the best advice for you. 


Acoustic guitars are actually the more difficult instrument to learn on.


Sure, if you do it successfully you will be able to play anything as your friend or salesperson will tell you.


The problem they do not see, because they are not experienced and trained guitar teachers, is that starting on an acoustic guitar can slow down your progress and cause you unnecessary frustrations. 


The best thing to do would be to buy or rent an electric guitar to start with. It has a thinner body; the strings are thinner and are much closer to the fretboard so much easier to press down. 


There is more but that should be enough to convince you.

2. You Decide To Teach Yourself

This is the most popular way to start to learn how to play the guitar. Unfortunately, it does not have very good success rate. You get what you pay for in the end.


Thanks to the Internet anyone can put up a website or a YouTube channel and offer free guitar lessons.


A quick google search will bring up hundreds of hits so there is a lot of information available out there. It can actually be quite overwhelming. 


How do you know which one will work? How do you know which person actually knows how to teach? Or teaches in a way you will understand? You don’t.


No matter who is offering them, online lessons lack in one critical area that can’t be easily overcome. There is no direct interaction with you. 


You get no feedback on what you are doing right and even worse what you are doing wrong. This means you can develop bad habits which can cripple your progress and frustrate you without knowing it.


The bottom line is that I get a lot of students that tried this method first. Hey I did too. They come to me frustrated because they just could not get it. I can relate.


Many times, they blame themselves but the problem is the format, not them.


The best way to avoid this mistake is to take lessons from a local teacher so you can get feedback every step of the way.

3. You Assume That All Teachers And Guitar Lessons Are The Same

Most people that start to learn to play the guitar assume that wherever they go to learn they will get quality guitar lessons and the people teaching them will know how to teach.


That could not be further from the truth. Most people that advertise as guitar teachers usually know how to play the guitar quite well, they may have been performers or in bands before and even gone to university, but most of them have zero training on how to teach.


Whether you go online to find lessons and try to teach yourself or if you find a teacher online or one in your local area. The vast majority are not actual teachers. They have not been trained to teach and definitely not how to teach guitar specifically.


What you need to do is find someone that has experience but also has training on how to teach the guitar. Those teachers are rare, but they are out there and they are the key to you learning to play the guitar.


How To Give Yourself The Best Chance To Succeed

Aside from avoiding the mistakes above there is one thing you can do that will help you succeed at learning how to play the guitar more than anything else!

You need to find a professionally trained guitar teacher.

This is the type of teacher that will have actual training on how to teach and also specifically how to teach the guitar. They will usually only teach the guitar and are do it full time. It’s what they do. They are experts.

Such a teacher will have the best strategies and help you learn how to play the guitar in the shortest time and will do it in an organized and planned way that is customized to you and your needs.

These teachers are rare. Anyone can advertise that they teach the guitar. But if you take the time, ask a lot of questions, you will find one in your area. 

About The Author:

Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play the guitar. Go to his website to find out how you can avoid common mistakes when learning to play the guitar.