In this post, we’ll talk about a couple of things that can happen to you when you are starting to learn how to play a guitar, some of them are just mistakes and wrong moves that maybe you haven’t noticed until now. This is common at the beginning so don’t be worried for them and if you don’t suffer any of these then good for you because that means you’ve been playing the guitar for quite a long time but if it’s the opposite and all of them or a few happen to you, try to disappear them with the time. I’ve seen all of them in my own students, I want you to know and try to avoid them in the future.
- You won’t know how to follow the beat
When we start to play a song, doesn’t matter which song, every song has a pulse, in simple words, the invariable and regular rhythm on which the notes of a musical piece is played, keep in mind that you won’t be able to follow that rhythm at the beginning. If you’ve played a instruments before it’s possible that you will be able to but if it is your first time playing one then you’ll have some troubles.
If you want to solve this as soon as possible, try to follow the rhythm of the metronome with your palms, make every beat of the palms equal to the metronome, when you make it, do it playing the E (Mi), first string and B (Si), second string, in every beat or try it with an easy song that you are playing.
- You will raise the thumb of your left hand of the neck
When you change from one to another musical note, you’ll stop holding the neck of the guitar with your thumb, don’t do it because you will lose support while you play and it’ll harder for you to find the note you’re looking for. Let’s suppose you’re playing 4 followed Fs (Fa) with the index finger and in the next beat you have a G (Sol) 4 times and you have to play it with the thumb, it will be something like: F-F-F-F, G-G-G-G.
As a habit, you’ll always raise the thumb of your left hand to go from one note to another but it’s wrong, you won’t have a tactile reference of where are located the frets. The thumb is an important point of support if you don’t leave it behind the neck, you’ll end up pressing another fret, either fret 2 or 4, when we actually want fret 3 where the G (Sol) is.
A simple solution to this problem is go from a note to another extending your finger without moving your thumb, at the height of fret 2.
- The note F (Fa) won’t sound
The fret 1 of the first string, played with the index finger is always a problem in the first classes, the 90% of the times it won’t sound farther than a noise. This is completely normal that have happened to almost everyone and happens because we don’t press the fret properly or we don’t have our fingers arched in the correct way, due to this we press the fret with the softest part of our index finger. Take a look at the next pictures:
If you’re starting to play the guitar pressing with your fingers where it’s indicated with blue stitching in the first picture, you’re doing it in the wrong way. If you look at the second picture, the fingers are arched and the stitching indicated with which parte of your fingers you have to press the notes: with the fingertips.
- You will push too hard the strings as a consequence of not pressing correctly with the left hand.
As a result of the third point, where the notes of the guitar will not sound due to a bad posture of the left hand, you’ll start to hit too hard the guitar with your right hand, this will make a shrill sound if you’re playing an acoustic or classical guitar with the fingers. It’s possible that you’ll make it sound but with a shrill sound.
When we hit the strings too hard with our right hand, we’re are pressing harder too, that means both hand will be coordinated in a wrong way, when you push hard, you’ll press harder the frets and as a result it will sound but badly. That’s why you have to try to follow the next steps:
- Try to press correctly as you can see in the right picture from above, with the fingertips.
- Press hard without feeling pain in your wrist or forearm of your left hand, if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
- Pull the strings, not too hard but either too weak.
- You will play followed notes with the same finger
Due to all the new information that you’re receiving, you will start to omit a few aspects because you’ll be paying attention to the beat, notes, music sheet, posture, if you are pressing the frets properly or playing hard and strident and you will forget that every fret has its own finger.
When we start to play the guitar in the zone of the first frets, you should know that every fret has a finger, in this case the string doesn’t matter, this rule change later when you are in a more advanced level but for know the rule is: First fret with finger 1, second fret with finger 2, third fret with finger 3 and the fourth with the finger 4.
- You’ll play followed notes with the same finger in your right hand
This is another habit, specially if we don’t have the fingers of our right hand suppoted when we try to place them in the top (see point 8), for example, if we play a note in the first string, a habit of some guitarists is to put the index finger and keep playing the rest of the notes with it but the ideal is alternate index finger with the middle finger when you’re a beginner.
- When you play with the right hand you will move your hand too far of the strings.
This one is really common too. When you play the guitar with your fingers, you’ll move your hand away approximately 15cm or more from where the sound hole is. Basically, when you play a note, unconsciously you will pull it to the front. This remoteness includes your forearm because of it you have to pay attention to this detail, the only part of your body that needs to move when you play in the strings are your fingers, the rest of your body, still.
- The right hand won’t have the fingers in the right place
At the beginning, the habit of a lot of guitarists is to support the fingers of their right hand on the top of the guitar due to it is more comfortable. If we play with plectrum, it’s possible that it won’t be a problem but if we’re playing with our fingers in the right hand, it’ll be troublesome. The right hand needs to have the fingers arched in the air at a small distance of the sharpest strings and the thumb resting on the sixth or fifth string.
- You’ll play the guitar with the plectrum down or up without switching.
If you’re playing an electrical guitar, playing with attacks of plectrum down or up is a habit that we have to avoid at all cost when we start to play the guitar. As a general rule, we’ll always alternate plectrum down and up. The strongs times will be plectrum down, 1 and 3 in 4/4 compass, and the weak ones plectrum up, 2 and 4.
- You’ll feel frustrated and with anger because the guitar doesn’t sound
You thought that playing the guitar was going to be easy, then you noticed that you actually need to put endeavor and a lot of hours per week if you really want to make it sound, the problem is that we are too impatient and we want to learn fast to have the results as soon as possible, we want to run the marathon the first day when last week we were eating hamburgers and drinking soda while we were watching TV. Sometimes you need dedication, time, and effort but don’t worry, you can do it!
- You will get bored and start looking for any excuses to stop playing or you’ll get more excited and continue with the practice.
Here is where we start to get into muddy territory. When we are learning how to play the guitar the things can be difficult and not fun at all. At the beginning you’re going to leave it aside because you will be discouraged and thinking in a future where you aren’t playing the guitar, in activities that don’t make us “waste time” and finally, you end up leaving it under the bed or hanging in your wall for decorating. The other option is that you are so excited for continue that you will be able to overcome the obstacles.