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Old 03-21-2013, 06:25 PM   #1
StuartBahn
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Things you were taught, that were wrong!

Hi guys,

I'd be very interested to hear what you were taught by a (probably well-meaning) guitar teacher, which you then found out later was wrong and had 'unlearn'. We've all experienced this, and not just in the world of guitar.

I can remember my first guitar teacher absolutely insisted that the pick should be held with two fingers and a thumb. Although this isn't necessarily 'wrong' it does have its limitations and the majority of guitar athletes do not do this so it wasn't the best advice. It no doubt served my early teacher well enough but mostly because he was a fairly pedestrian player who looked down on playing fast.

Any real clangers out there?
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Last edited by StuartBahn : 03-21-2013 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:02 PM   #2
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Anchoring. Bad, even if most professionals do it (trust me, I'm a medical student).
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jacques-Henri
Anchoring. Bad, even if most professionals do it (trust me, I'm a medical student).


It seems so natural to do it, even though i know it is wrong. Playing HSH ibanez guitars almost wills you into hooking your pinky around that middle pickup.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:26 PM   #4
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Christianity.
Oh, wait, I just read the title.

That chords need to be strummed from the elbow. Worst advice ever. And it was from the guy who sold me my first guitar.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:39 PM   #5
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This is my first experience when I first wanted to start playing. On my first lesson my teacher told me to only do downstrokes "for the time being".
Turns out the "time being" was over 3 months & being an impressionable 12 year old that knew NOTHING of guitar I thought I better listen to him. One day he was sick and another teacher filled in and asked "why are you using only down strokes?" I replied "my teacher told me not to worry about upstrokes for now". He looked at me like I had grown horns on my head. His response "uh no. That's not right at all, do upstrokes too and practice on alternate picking".
The next lesson I asked my teacher about upstrokes and his response "uh yeah sure try them out", completely disregarding the fact that I had completely predicated everything I did on only doing downstrokes and my mechanics were totally wrong for playing ANYTHING fluidly because I constantly had to "reset" my hand to the top to play the next note or chord.
It really upset me because I felt like he wasn't taking me seriously, not really trying to teach me anything. I stuck with him for like one more month before I decided to switch music teachers. It was the smartest thing I ever did because my next teacher pointed out how bad my mechanics were and helped correct them.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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Ouch ... that didn't take long! I think that there will probably be many cases of teachers saying something as though it's a rule that must apply to all situations ... or the opposite, saying that you should never do x, y or z. As I've got older I've realised that it's very rare for a simple statement to be genuinely true. I find myself using words like 'in most situations ...' or that one approach is more or less likely to work. There are always exceptions - some truly brilliant ones!

If it makes you feel better LightxGrenade, I've had to make three fundamental changes to my technique over the last twenty years. It is a frustrating experience and very time consuming but I suspect that almost everybody receives bad advice (or misunderstands good advice!) somewhere along the line, even Paul Gilbert ... so he says!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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I was taught to always keep my thumb behind the neck and alternate pick everything. It took me a long time for me to realize it was holding me back. But I guess it helped that technique anyways.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gman128
It seems so natural to do it, even though i know it is wrong. Playing HSH ibanez guitars almost wills you into hooking your pinky around that middle pickup.

Can't say I've ever felt that urge

Last edited by Tempoe : 03-21-2013 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartBahn
\
If it makes you feel better LightxGrenade, I've had to make three fundamental changes to my technique over the last twenty years. It is a frustrating experience and very time consuming but I suspect that almost everybody receives bad advice (or misunderstands good advice!) somewhere along the line, even Paul Gilbert ... so he says!

I hear ya, even after that I've still toyed around with my technique and mechanics. I'm 25 going on 26 now and I still find things that I can improve on almost daily. Like you mentioned, I've realized that even though in a general sense we're all doing the same thing when we play a guitar, the small mechanics are different from person to person. It's a fine tuning process to truly find your "comfort-zone" when it comes to guitar all from the way you hold a pick to the postiont/angle you put your guitar when playing either sitting down or standing up.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:21 AM   #9
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I was self taught, but I knew this dude who at the time, seemed like a really good guitar player. He told me to focus on shredding and just trying to play fast solos, sweet picking. I hadn't the slightest idea what a chord was, but by my second month I knew how to sweep - worst advice ever, I would've been much more musical had I spent my first year playing real music than doing that sweeping bullshit.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:29 AM   #10
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I have to say, with many years of lessons under my belt, that most of what I've received has been good advice. I can't think of any real terrible advice I've got.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #11
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Early on,a year ago,as a fresh beginner trying to "self teach/learn",working at the time on the A-D-E open chords,I asked a friend of a friend for some tips and advice...The guy is self taught,plays in a working band and has played for 40+ years,and gives lessons as a free lance instructor....At least claims to...

What I had to "unlearn" was the notion that open chords are useless and for losers,that I only need to bother with learning barre chords,for one thing...

Secondly,after showing me the E-shaped Barre F chord,he tells me that being movable,if I go up one fret from F,it's an A...

And no......I don't ask this guy about anything,anymore....
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #12
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I can't think of any bad advice at the moment but I do remember what the best was:

Learn to play a something in more than one way.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Freepower
I have to say, with many years of lessons under my belt, that most of what I've received has been good advice. I can't think of any real terrible advice I've got.


Yeah, I didn't take lessons for very long but the guy who taught me while I was there was generally very good. The only thing he really did wrong was try to teach me modes at all but since I was such a newb it went over my head anyway it really doesn't matter
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:59 AM   #14
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My first teacher, didn't mention anything about skipping early. So he had me learn all this major chord progressions, and I suck at major chords, still do. So I was saying for months that I couldn't get any faster, and I didn't understand why I was doing this or how to change with speed. He also didn't teach me to mute strings and told me I need to work on accuracy. It was bad, and I why I quit almost 20 years ago. My new guy may not do things proper (like skipping early) but I'm learning to play!
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:50 AM   #15
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Well I've never had a teacher except a lesson from a surgeon who taught me barre chords and the intro to "Hey Joe" and that was alright

The worst thing I "learned" when starting out was, some advice I read somewhere here on UG, that you should only downpick when palm muting because up-picking/alt picking would sound much weaker or something like that. So I practiced (Master of Puppets etc) for months and became a total wreck at doing anything but really tense downpicking.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:04 AM   #16
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My mum paid for my guitar lessons from some guy who claims he could play the guitar. Dude taught me how to play chords (barre?) but only according to how he plays it. Says that this and that are the correct ways and those other guys are wrong. I quit and did self study/practice and learned by myself that I can play anyway I want to. Realized that I could hold the guitar my way and I can position my right hand in a comfortable way.

If hadn't quit my classes with him, I'd probably suck and maybe hurt my self. His "correct" lessons gave me cramps.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:43 AM   #17
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Anchoring for me. When I started playing, I would anchor with the middle, ring and little fingers on my fretting hand. I asked my teacher if that was proper technique, and his response was "if it works for you, do it."

My playing advanced for the next couple of years, then I sort of hit a brick wall. I couldn't do alternate or economy picking very fast because the motion of my wrist was blocked by the way that I held my fingers on the fretboard. I couldn't sweep on more than three strings, and I also had serious problems with raking and muting strings. String skipping at any decent tempo was almost impossible for me.

It wasn't until I started taking lessons with a different teacher when I was in college that I realized why the technique was so flawed. I switched to the floating hand technique, but I was so used to anchoring that it took me about a year and a half to break the bad habit. I would have been a really advanced player at a young age without the setback.

My first teacher was actually great otherwise. He taught me a lot about theory, and as a result, I had a much better handle on improvisation than the other kids that I was in jazz band with in school.

Last edited by chakab : 03-25-2013 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #18
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TBH, I never really got taught anything bad. I was just not taught enough. I had a few months guitar lessons and I basically only learnt what a double stop was called & the pentatonic minor scale in one position in one key.

I learned a lot more from just listening to music & trying to work out the techniques/sounds myself (obv after the basics).
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:01 AM   #19
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Well I suppose I was taught correctly just not taught enough.

I was taught how to play barre chords, but that was only 1 lesson and i've created a bad habit where my hand is in a bad enough position to give me cramps in my thumb. I'm slowly trying to get out of this habit myself but it is very difficult!

I think once you're taught something, don't stop there. Research how other people do it so you can take in more opinions and form your own way of playing. You aren't supposed to turn into your teacher

Learning guitar is hard work but if you do it right you'll be thanking yourself so much later
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:40 PM   #20
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Nothing like that has happened to me.
I think I have a really good teacher. He's been teaching for about I think 10 years-ish. He has hundreds of students. I've been taking lessons from him for 2 and a half years now. I've played with a lot of other professionals and no ones mentioned anything about techniques, playing or anything. So I think I have a really good teacher. His technique is pretty amazing. Based on how I play and what I've read on UG about technigue, I don't think I have any bad habits that I know of.
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