He always made this mistake when I first started teaching him. He had played for years and this consistent mistake had become an ingrained habit. It took me a little while to drill it out of him but we got there in the end.
It's such a simple mistake, but it is critical to your success as a guitarist. The mistake is: Trying to play what you are learning at full or near full speed.
Yes, it's so simple. I always tell a student you must live by the "10 x rule". That rule means, whenever you learn anything new: You must play it 10 times in a row at half the speed and with 100% accuracy.
"Why?" I hear you ask. Because you will learn it infinitely better, you will play it with better technique, and you will remember it far quicker than if you try it at full speed.
Here is a common scenario and it's the one I noticed Chris doing. He would learn something new. As soon as he had learned the first note, he would be attempting the part at full speed. Then, he would make a mistake. Stop. Start again. Another mistake. A big sigh. Stop. Start again. And again and again until the guitar would nearly be thrown out the window. (by him, not me).
I would then go over and reinforce the "10 x rule". Chris would then slow down, play everything with precision, digest the notes and pretty soon after be playing the piece at full speed. The thing is, playing it 10 x slowly is far faster in the long run that attempting it 100 times fast and getting nowhere. Your technique will improve so much more doing it this way too.
Remember, the "10 x rule" and breathe nice and deeply while performing it. It actually is a nice way to practice - particularly if you are prone to going through life at a million miles an hour or get frustrated easily.
About the Author:
Dan Thorpe. You can view more of his tutorials at his website Guitar Domination. You can also download two of his eBooks here.