Want To Become A Great Guitarist? Stay Away From These 4 Mistakes

If you can identify with even one of the guitar practice mistakes listed in this article, you will have taken a big step towards overcoming an important obstacle that stands in the way of you becoming a better musician.

Want To Become A Great Guitarist? Stay Away From These 4 Mistakes
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What do you think is the reason why some guitar players become truly great musicians while so many others continue to struggle for years (or decades) with improving their musical skills? Is it natural talent? The amount of time spent practicing? Access to higher quality guitar learning resources? Although all of these elements do play some role in the amount of progress one can expect to make in their guitar playing, it is quite common for many guitar players to practice a lot and have naturally high aptitude towards learning music and still have a very hard time improving their guitar playing. The reality is such that the world's best guitar players have various things in common in the ways they approach the process of practicing their instrument. Likewise, guitarists who practice for years and never seem to get any better ALSO have things that are in common in their guitar practice methods. These common flaws are some of the reasons why many guitar players never become the great musicians they have the potential to be. As you keep reading below, I will explain a few of the more common mistakes guitar players make in their approaches to practicing. If you have a hard time getting better on guitar despite practicing regularly, be honest with yourself and ask if any of the issues you will read about are true in your own guitar playing. If you can identify with even one of the guitar practice mistakes listed in this article, you will have taken a big step towards overcoming an important obstacle that stands in the way of you becoming a better musician.

Mistake 1: Looking At The Calendar

Far too many guitar players obsess over looking for an answer to the question such as: How much time is needed for one to become a good/great guitarist? It is normal to wonder about this issue in the early stages of your guitar playing, however too much energy spent focusing on the concept of time will only delay the process of reaching your guitar playing goals. The reason is because your guitar playing results are NOT directly affected by how much you practice your instrument but rather by how WELL you practice. The classic saying: It's not how much time you spend doing something, it's HOW you do it that matters sums up this point nicely. In addition to the above realization, focusing on how long something should take to learn on guitar will (subconsciously) move your attention away from the things that matter (such as learning how to practice guitar effectively) onto things that don't matter (counting days until an arbitrary date on the calendar is reached). Rather than falling into the trap above, focus your mind on finding ways to make your guitar practicing efforts more effective. As you do this, you will often notice that the time it takes for you to see results will become less than you expect.

Mistake 2: Spreading Yourself Too Thin

The internet age has made it far too easy to find all kinds of guitar and music related information for free within seconds. Unfortunately, despite the convenience of modern technology, it hasn't gotten significantly easier for one to become a TRULY great musician. As a result of such an overflow of information guitar players are faced with a new challenge, which is: what to do with all of the resources that are available to them. From this, one or both of the following things happen: 01. Guitarists attempt to move from one type of guitar learning resource to another very quickly, not having fully benefited from what they were working on previously and (just as bad) having no idea how the next thing is going to help improve their musicianship. 02. Guitar players become frozen by excessive number of possibilities and choices and cannot make up their mind about what to practice to reach the next level of their musical skills. In contrast, great musicians are able to successfully avoid such problems of overwhelm and can determine at any time what they need to practice next to improve their guitar playing.

Mistake 3: Not Taking Ultimate Responsibility For Your Guitar Playing Progress

While the two guitar practice problems described above often come up for self-taught guitarists, the following issue is quite common for guitar players taking music lessons. Although your guitar teacher's role is to help you make much faster progress in your guitar playing than you can achieve on your own, it's sometimes easy to overlook the fact that nobody but yourself is ultimately responsible for improving your own guitar playing. There isn't a guitar teacher in the world who can do all of your practicing for you and there isn't a magic video or book on guitar playing you can study that will make you a great guitar player simply because you watched/studied it. Having said that, it's important to mention that taking responsibility in no way means that you must assume that you know more than your guitar teacher or completely dismiss new ideas or guitar learning resources. All this idea means is that you must put in the work on your own with applying whatever materials or concepts you use to improve your guitar playing. It also means for you to at least attempt to think through your problems before asking for help. Doing this will help you to achieve a much needed level of balance between feeling in control of your own musical progress and seeking outside help when it is truly needed to allow your guitar playing to improve more quickly.

Mistake 4: Being Impatient

Although there is a LOT you can do to speed up the rate of your progress on guitar, you must remember that, similar to growing up, some processes simply cannot be rushed beyond the natural course of action. To put it another way, there is much you can do to avoid common problems that slow down (needlessly) the speed at which your guitar playing improves, but there isn't much you can do to rush the process of becoming a musician past a certain point. What this means is that you must learn to be patient during the process of developing your musical skills and remember that the journey of being a musician is a never-ending one. There will always be new things to learn and new skills to develop in your guitar playing for as long as you choose to be a musician and every guitar player goes through the same process (with no exceptions). The sooner you realize this, the easier it will be to put your mind at ease about the learning process and focus on the steps you must take to reach the next level in your guitar playing. Armed with the understandings in this article you should analyze your approach to practicing guitar to consider if any of the mistakes here apply to you. Take the needed actions to make your practicing efforts more effective and you will notice yourself starting to move a lot more quickly towards your goals as a guitarist. To find out more about how to get greater results in your guitar playing and practicing, see this free guitar learning video. About The Author: Mike Philippov is a professional musician, music instructor and composer. He writes articles about learning and practicing guitar that are published on websites around the world. On his website PracticeGuitarNow.com you can find many more guitar practice articles and advice about becoming a better guitar player.

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    strat0blaster
    The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    saint_berzerker
    I agree that rushing and not being patient are the biggest reasons that I have not progressed as fast or as much as I would have liked over the years. When I "slow down" I can learn much faster.
    hillgetyah
    I agree, but I think it really depends on they're decision to be lead or rhythm. Most ppl asking how to get good fast don't know how big of a decision that is near the beginning. I'm not an expert *4years, but they have to choose a path. What do you wanna get good at fast is the first question. If you don't answer that question first, its gonna take forever if you bounce between the two.
    gypsyblues7373
    First glance I read "Mistake 4: Being Impotent." Not sleeping with 4,000 women like Mick Jagger makes you a bad musician! Trolol. :3
    For every 20 women you sleep with, your picking speed increases by 10 bpm.
    sageofsixstring
    lol, I would think having a woman would probably decrease your picking speed. Just think about the right hand workout when you wank haha.
    NorCalLos
    Another big mistake is focusing too much on gear. Don't get caught up in "I need this piece of gear so I can play this particular song/riff. Just focus on the gear you have and do the best you can to get the sound you're looking for out of it.
    bbeerrttt
    People focus to much on becoming technically better, I think you should focus the same amount, if not a lot more, of time on just living your life. The connections you make inform your musicianship a whole lot more than any internet article ever could.
    Are you Ready?
    strat0blaster wrote: I mean really is a guitarist going to take much info from a drummer? Probably not not so true, i jam around with a drummer all the time. the amount of info i get from him and the amount of help with rhythm, groove and just everything is just amazing.
    Ekim423
    NorCalLos wrote: Another big mistake is focusing too much on gear. Don't get caught up in "I need this piece of gear so I can play this particular song/riff. Just focus on the gear you have and do the best you can to get the sound you're looking for out of it.
    +1 and to add to that, doing so will actually allow you to better understand how your gear actually works and responds to your playing. I feel like there are a lot of people who buy tons of gear and don't truly understand what half of it does.
    NorCalLos
    Ekim423 wrote: NorCalLos wrote: Another big mistake is focusing too much on gear. Don't get caught up in "I need this piece of gear so I can play this particular song/riff. Just focus on the gear you have and do the best you can to get the sound you're looking for out of it. +1 and to add to that, doing so will actually allow you to better understand how your gear actually works and responds to your playing. I feel like there are a lot of people who buy tons of gear and don't truly understand what half of it does.
    Another thing about this is that when you do use effects, you have to listen to how the effect is changing the sound and incorporate that back into your playing. A lot of the time it seems like guys are just putting the effect on top of what they were already playing and making the effect not much more than an afterthought. It's kind of a subtle difference, but you can hear it in the playing of a guy like Hendrix or Tom Morello.
    axeslinger0u812
    ne14t wrote: strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering. Been playing for 12 years, never been in a live band nor do I want to be in one. I have not been hindered at all especially as technology advances. Now I pretty much just use FL Studio with a few purchased VST plugins and I can make my own jam tracks, loops, fills, program my own drums, its endless. You do not need to play with other people to be a good guitarist; however it does help with rhythm. I have jammed with friends and aside from sharing licks there is not much sharing going, especially if there is only one person there playing that particular instrument, I mean really is a guitarist going to take much info from a drummer? Probably not
    Maybe you were playing with the wrong people...
    Stratcat70
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    This is we're I'm struggling. I'm dying to just jam with some guys for fun, but everyone is looking for professional level for paid gigs. I can't find anyone with my goals. Maybe I should put an ad on Craigslist "lousy guitarist seeks band to jam in the basement and drink beer"
    guitar/bass95
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    I am not sure if you're talking about a band or a teacher, but I agree that both of them are important. You should never underestimate the impact other people have on you. I can imagine a guitarist who thinks of himself as a very talented musician, playing out of time and with horrible EQ settings because he has never played in a band. Also, the first, and so far only really helpful thing my teacher did to me was to correct my posture. If you read lessons here, you might learn a lot, but even after years you might be picking hovering your right hand on the fretboard. Which I did someday, now it's corrected thanks to a teacher.
    NoInnerKind
    Number 4 is a big one for me. I've been playing 8 years now, and I can play very little leads. I try to jump head first into some insane solos, only to get frustrated that I can't do them. I never try anything small. I'm just like ok, what scale is in this song? Slowly learn the scale, and then try to apply it in the song that plays the scale 100x faster than I can. I don't give myself enough credit for the skills I have now and just try to make myself better by leaps and bounds in a day. It doesn't work.
    luke_guitar
    Number 2 has always gotten me. Have to refresh every now and then and fall back into the blues.
    Sethis
    The best way to become a great guitarist is not trying to become a great guitarist. I mean for ****s sake it's just a f'in hobby you're supposed to have fun doing it not bitching about how bad you are. Even if that means playing that same fun riff again and again. Your penis will NOT grow 5 inches if you master that impossible solo. If you take your time I'm sure you'll soon become better and won't have even realized how.
    thechaostheory
    This was a big help for me!! I was having trouble progressing lately and this has pretty much just got me through that. Thanks and rock on dude \m/. .\m/
    DisarmGoliath
    This is basically "Don't be impatient" written out three times with different wording/emphasis, and the 'third' mistake is "not being in control of where you're heading"? No offence, and I'm sure those are two good points, but this article is far longer than it needs to be, given it pads out impatience as three separate mistakes!
    Root Beer
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    This all the way. I remember the first time I played with a band, I was overwhelmed by how different it was, how much I still had to learn.
    hbarrett1989
    ne14t wrote: strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering. Been playing for 12 years, never been in a live band nor do I want to be in one. I have not been hindered at all especially as technology advances. Now I pretty much just use FL Studio with a few purchased VST plugins and I can make my own jam tracks, loops, fills, program my own drums, its endless. You do not need to play with other people to be a good guitarist; however it does help with rhythm. I have jammed with friends and aside from sharing licks there is not much sharing going, especially if there is only one person there playing that particular instrument, I mean really is a guitarist going to take much info from a drummer? Probably not
    Forever alone.
    limpidgreen345
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    Well said! You have to play with other people, especially early on. And the more unfamiliar you are with the songs, the better. You learn to PLAY GUITAR rather than trying to sound like your favorite songs. One thing my dad always told me was DON'T STOP if you screw up while playing a song. Unless you're just practicing one specific part of a song, keep going and don't stop when you screw up, and don't try to catch up if you fall behind. You'll ALWAYS make mistakes. As you get better you'll make fewer mistakes, but the mark of a truly good guitar player isn't that he never screws up, it's that he recovers so quickly you never even notice it happened.
    Your Name Here1
    i definitley need to be more patient on guitar I think, i skip between songs far too easily, theres only 1 or 2 songs i know i could play all the way through
    niiadjei
    Hey how's ur playing now? Improving? You got the key man..patience will birth glorious masterpieces in your play. One step at a time.
    jinsu2301
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    'nuff said
    xHellbound
    First glance I read "Mistake 4: Being Impotent." Not sleeping with 4,000 women like Mick Jagger makes you a bad musician! Trolol. :3
    Splinter2101
    I didn't read the entire article to don't kill me if this was said somewhere, but not playing to a metronome is a huge mistake as well.
    IAmCool123
    Iakov wrote: strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering. bull
    What even?
    DarkHorse9825
    Patients, practice and time. I have only been playing a year and a half and the my biggest problem is trying to rush myself past what my capabilities are. Practice Practice Practice. Be open to new ideas and don't restrict yourself to one concept.
    swave75
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    Not to mention it is a ton of fun.
    MrDo0m
    But then again at the end of the day we're just talking about technique here, not actual "songwriting" ability.
    anakngfoo
    I'm 35 years Old. Been studying guitar again for 10 days now since I learned play (but not properly)during my teenage years. Bought a book "Basics of Strumming". And I been doing the first few practice lessons over and over for about 30 mins - 1 hour per day before I try new lessons from the book. I like not to rush things up. By the way guys, do you think it's too late for my age learn this instrument and be a good player of it. I always have passion for guitar but it took me years to pursue it.
    Kueller917
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    Agreed 100% If only I wasn't so shy to talk to people ;_;
    Leather Sleeves
    at least attempt to think through your problems before asking for help. Doing this will help you to achieve a much needed level of balance between feeling in control of your own musical progress and seeking outside help when it is truly needed
    That's a good point, good job on the article.
    SiKh22
    Great article, I remember when I first started, I had trouble doing basic chords, picking, and thinking Why can't I get this. When I slowed it down to days, weeks, and months to learn, the result is internally very nice.
    nido
    It all comes down to practice and eliminating bad habits and getting more efficient movements out of our hands. I've always used this Paul Gilbert picking exercise religiously
    Iakov
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    bull
    ne14t
    strat0blaster wrote: The biggest mistake you can make that will impede your progress as a musician - both technically and as a songwriter - is not playing with other people as soon as possible. There is absolutely zero substitute for getting in a room with other musicians and playing, and the amount you can learn from that is staggering.
    Been playing for 12 years, never been in a live band nor do I want to be in one. I have not been hindered at all especially as technology advances. Now I pretty much just use FL Studio with a few purchased VST plugins and I can make my own jam tracks, loops, fills, program my own drums, its endless. You do not need to play with other people to be a good guitarist; however it does help with rhythm. I have jammed with friends and aside from sharing licks there is not much sharing going, especially if there is only one person there playing that particular instrument, I mean really is a guitarist going to take much info from a drummer? Probably not
    baneofmorgoth
    In my personal experience, I respectably disagree...to a point. While playing to tracks is a great way to keep you up on your rhythm and timing, it lacks the personal element that only playing with people can give you. There is something that happens when you're making music with other musicians that is beyond words. As for a guitarist taking bits from a drummer, it CAN happen. Listen to the way that the drummer (whether good or bad) accents his strikes or phrases a fill. Though they may seem monotonal, the drums aren't.
    INSULIN
    LEARN CHORDS NOT THIS PLAY ON THE E AND A STRING 2 STRING CRAP.LEARN PIANO-IT DIDN'T HURT EDDIE VAN HALEN HA HA .REALLY VERSE A VERSA IF YOU CAN PLAY KEYBOARD IT HELPS.