Ten Tips for Beginner Guitarists

Read time: 3 mins

  1. Knowing how to play badly, means knowing how to play well.

Make an error on purpose. How did you do it? Now do the opposite.

  1. The more you play, the better you get.

Your first go will be bad. Your 100th will be great. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

  1. The more efficiently you play, the faster you get better.

Good typists use 10 fingers. Good piano players use 10 fingers. You only have a “fast finger” because that’s the one you use by default. Use the others, and they’ll become fast too.

  1. Consistency beats cramming.

Learning guitar is a skill that needs feeding. You only need to play on days that you eat. It’s better to play one minute a day, than ten minutes once a week.

  1. It’s not how many minutes you play, but how much you care.

One minute of playing with attention to the sound, sight, or touch, and making adjustments based on the results, is better than ten minutes of mindless repetition.

  1. If you like it, play it again; if you don’t like it, don’t play it the first time.

You’re playing guitar to enjoy yourself. If you don’t like a song, pick another!

  1. Feel the pulse. Play in time.

This may sound obvious, but if you can’t hear the music, you won’t know if you’re in time with it. If a tricky part is making you fall behind, stop and fix it.

  1. When things get tricky, take a breather.

You might be playing too fast, or trying too many things at once. Do one thing. Play one note. Can you do it? Add another. Play to the best of your ability. If you’ve lost focus, do something else. You can always come back to it.

  1. “I can’t do it… yet”

If a kid tells me “I can’t do it”, I tell them: “You can’t do it, yet”. One is a fixed mindset. The other is a growth mindset. 

  1. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

This is true when it comes to playing (If your fingers barely move, you’re playing smooth). It’s also true with the bigger picture as well. Don’t put pressure on yourself to learn fast. Take time to chew on what you’re learning. Chances are, more of it will stick.

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