GET OUR GUITAR SUCCESS SERIES! Learn to practice correctly....get rid of tension & bad like a pro!

* indicates required
The Guitar Principles  
The TRUTH about Learning Guitar
Improve Your Skills > For All Styles > The 5 Biggest Mistakes Guitar Students Make

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Guitar Students Make

1) Practicing Too Fast

Virtually all guitar students practice everything at a speed that makes it impossible for their muscles to work in a relaxed fashion. Unknown to students, their muscles are in a state of chronic tension during the whole time they are practicing.

This tension stays in the muscles due to the power of “muscle memory”. Because of this, the student will be placing a severe limit on their guitar abilities. Everything will feel difficult, because the hands, arms, and body have a level of tension during movements that simply does not allow for smooth action. The real secret is a super slow type of practicing called “no tempo practice”. It has the power to unlock the professional level ability in any player.

2) Not Paying Attention To The Body During Practice

We play the guitar with the body. That is a central fact that cannot be ignored. Students who have “natural talent” tend to pay more attention to what their body feels like when they practice and play. The majority of students are busy thinking and worrying during practice, and have no idea what the muscles they are trying to use are really feeling like. So, they allow crippling tension to be present during all the movements. Advanced players never allow this and they are always on the lookout for body tension.

We must pay absolute attention to the whole body during practice, especially the shoulders, arms and hands. Shoulder tension is the biggest cause of finger problems. However, playing the guitar does require effort. One of the keys to making progress is learning the difference between necessary effort and unnecessary effort.

3) Lack Of Knowledge Of How The Body Learns

There is an entire science of how the body learns new movements. It is called “motor control learning”, or just “body learning”. It is important to understand that there are definite laws of how the body learns new movements. When we follow these laws during practice, we will be successful; it is as simple as that!

The reason people struggle with guitar is because they have never been taught these laws, or principles, of body learning. Anyone can learn them, use them, and be successful with guitar.

4) Beginning At The “First” Fret

All guitar methods begin by teaching students to play at the “first fret”. This is wrong, because the first fret is the hardest place to play. It causes great tension (even strain) in the arms and hands of a beginner. Also, the frets are furthest apart at the first fret, forcing the untrained fingers to strain in order to stretch into difficult chords and notes.

All of this immediately points the student in the wrong direction, away from developing true guitar ability. Because of the extra burden placed on the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders, the majority of people who try to learn guitar fail. The first place a student should learn to play, in order to develop perfect and relaxed control of the fingers, is higher up on the neck, where a beginner can learn to move the fingers in a relaxed way and without strain. Gradually, the student can move down the neck fret by fret, learning to be relaxed at each fret.

5) Fighting The Energy Of The String Instead of Using It

Once all these bad things have happened (and they happen to some degree in virtually all students) the student will actually be learning to “fight the guitar”, not “play the guitar”.

With every note that is played, the body will tense more and more, and that tension will be locked in to the muscles, and be considered “normal” by the student. Some students with a lot of stamina will learn to play up to a point, but they will not play anywhere near as well as they could if all these bad things were prevented from happening.

Great players, who have learned to relax while playing, are actually using the energy of the strings as they play, in the same way that a great diver uses the energy of the diving board to gain spring and power, or basketball players use the energy of the basketball to control how they dribble the ball.

In all these cases, the guitar, diving, and basketball, force is being applied to a flexible medium. An expert in all these fields knows how to make their body “one” with the object they are applying force to. Then, they combine their own energy with the object in order to achieve their goal.

The unskilled player of any sport, or any instrument is not becoming one with the object they are using; instead, they are fighting it. An unskilled guitar player is actually fighting the strings instead of using the string’s energy.

This is why great players make it look easy, because it IS easy when you are using the energy of the string itself to help make the necessary movements. Other players look like they are having a hard time because they ARE having a hard time. They must learn why and how they have made it so hard. When they do, they can begin to undo all their playing problems and start to enjoy the wonderful feeling of playing the guitar easily. Anyone can do this, and become as good as they wish to be on the guitar!


article 1
The Secret Of Speed On Guitar
The secret of speed on guitar is a state of relaxation during playing that I like to call The Incredible Lightness. When you experience it the first time, it feels incredible!
>
article 2
Are Your Guitar Exercises REALLY Helping You?
The sad fact is, for most guitar students plugging away at "guitar exercises", they are not only wasting their time, their "practice" is actually making them worse! Here's why....
>
article 3
The 2 Necessary Left Hand Positions On Guitar
There is no such thing as THE correct left hand position for guitar! There are TWO positions necessary to play rock AND acoustic.
>
article 4
Optimizing the Movement Process On Guitar
Good guitar players learn to use their fingers in ways that make difficult things easy to do. You can learn too!
>
article 5
Can Your Fingers Do This?...They need to!
If your fingers can't do this "simple" thing, you will have trouble with everything you play! Here is a simple test to see if your hand has the basic ability it needs to play well.
>
article 6
Hammers & Pulls - Essential Training
The most detailed, powerful training you will find on Hammers & Pulls on Guitar- 2 Essential Techniques used in ALL styles of guitar.
>
article 7
Your POWER Practice Attitude
Attitude Is Everything!-10 ESSAYS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET RESULTS FROM YOUR GUITAR PRACTICE-You play the guitar with your fingers, but what goes on in your head is much more important than your fingers
>
article 8
The Importance of Fingering On Guitar
Guitar students often practice music without really knowing what fingers they should use, or are using. This is a quick route to frustrating practice and bad playing!
>
article 9
Guitar Development: Stage 2
After learning the basics of playing guitar, covered in my essay "Guitar Development: Stage 1", these are the things all players, of any style, need to know.
>
article 10
Guitar Development Stage 1-What You Should Be Learning
Guitar students are notoriously uncertain and confused about what they should be practicing. Here, I am going to tell what the top priorities are for any beginning guitarist.
>
article 11
Strengthen That Bar!
It is an under-appreciated fact that the bar must receive special, and extended attention at some point in our development......
>
article 12
The Real Meaning Of Relaxed Guitar Playing
"Relaxation" on guitar is not what you think. It is not a state of the body, it is an action. It results in the state called "poise" which means a balance of forces being used to play.
>
article 13
Slanting The Pick For Speed
Slanting the pick is common practice for most guitar players. It has many advantages, such as better tone and more speed. Here is how to do it....
>
article 14
Discover Your Discomfort - How To Relax On Guitar
Most guitar students have excessive muscle tension when playing, and this is at the root of their playing problems. Discover yours!
>
article 15
The 10 Best Ways To Get Better On Guitar
Download this free powerful report on "The 10 Best Ways To Get Better On Guitar"!
>
article 16
Finger Rise: A Disease of the Left Hand
Finger Rise is one of the most common "diseases" that afflict a guitar player's hands. It causes countless playing problems for players of all styles.
>
article 17
10 Reasons Why Using A Metronome Makes You Better, Faster!
Knowing how to use a metronome in guitar practice WILL make you a better player!
>
article 18
Correct Thumb Placement For Guitar Scales
What should my thumb be doing while my fingers are traveling around the guitar strings?" That is an important question, and we are going to answer it right now.
>
article 19
Pivot Fingers
Left hand finger movements on guitar are made much easier when we use "pivot fingers".
>
article 20
Unlocking Hidden Finger Tension
At GuitarPrinciples, we get a lot of long time guitar players who want to figure out why they haven't gotten any better at guitar in the last few is a major reason why!
>
you might also like
What Are "The Principles"?
Play Happy Birthday!
The Importance of Repertoire
Correct Thumb Placement For Guitar Scales
The Secret Of Speed On Guitar
Are Your Guitar Exercises REALLY Helping You?
The 2 Necessary Left Hand Positions On Guitar
Optimizing the Movement Process On Guitar
We Never Email More then Once a Week.
The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar-Hard Copy
Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

156 - Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

All other guitar methods have serious flaws that leave you struggling on guitar. The Principles is different....
Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

16 - Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

Everything that happens when you play is the direct result of what you do when you practice. Learn to train your fingers EFFECTIVELY when you practice guitar.
Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

18 - Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

Many guitar players carry for a lifetime the mistakes they learned when first learning how to play the instrument... Tips to avoid this can be found here!
What Are The Principles?

15 - What Are The Principles?

Those who know "The Principles" know that there is no other guitar method like it. It is the key to using every other method! Find out for yourself.....