While some professional guitar players warn against the dangers of teaching yourself to play the guitar, either by watching and copying YouTube videos, or reading books and ‘how to’ guides on the internet, the fact remains that it can still be an effective learning tool.
With this in mind, continue reading for a concise guide to common bad habits which are often developed when teaching yourself to play.
Forgetting to Use a Metronome
Firstly, many amateur guitar players tend to go too fast, metaphorically, when learning notes, positioning, and posture and in the context of playing at a higher speed.
Fortunately, there is a solution to the latter, in the form of a metronome, which will help give you a better idea of you are progressing during your practice, making you slow down and also heightening your sense of inner rhythm.
Improving your instinctual timing and rhythm will come with time, and tapping your foot or nodding your head in time with the metronome as you play should also help. Even playing a metronome while listening to the songs you’re aspiring to play will help you to understand the timing better.
Limiting the Genres of Music You Practice
Next, even if you are absolutely obsessed with any piece of music from the jazz era, for example, you would do yourself a great injustice if you only stick to learning guitar by playing jazz music. All music is a subjective and spiritual experience; even though different styles appeal to different people, learning to play a variety of styles is a much more effective way to learn.
It would also be pertinent to point out that a beautifully crafted semi-hollow body electric guitar is significantly more accurately equipped for pieces of music that require distortion or overdrive.
Playing with Reverb Too Soon
Undeniably, the sounds your guitar produces when the delay pedals are permanently switched on. The reverb is on maximum are second to none, but when learning the fundamentals of playing guitar, it is best to leave them off, at least sometimes.
As a basic guide, spend half of each practice playing with distortion effects and delay pedals and the other half with all effects turned off. In addition, you should also be applying the same approach with the tone knob on the arm of your guitar too.
Haphazard Practice Times
To truly get to ‘grips’ with how you hold your guitar, your posture, your knowledge of the notes and chords, and your skills at playing, you must ensure that you practice regularly and consistently.
Muscle memory is a crucial part of learning to play a musical instrument. The complicated motor skills you need to play the guitar must be learned with patience and repetition.
If you are understandably battling against a full and hectic schedule combining your personal duties, and professional responsibilities, then even finding fifteen minutes a day to practice, around the same time, will serve to improve your playing.