by Dhanesh Sarangadharan

Have you ever wondered whether you have it in you to actually learn and play Guitar like your favourite Guitarists?

I certainly did as a beginner, and I believe all Guitarists have been through these moments of self-doubts. 
So what is it that makes some people learn the Guitar better and faster than most other people?
There are a number of factors to focus on, for faster learning and progress on Guitar, whether you are an absolute beginner, an intermediate player or even an advanced Guitarist. But the most important of them all is timely identification of the mistakes we make during the learning process, and correcting them.Take a look at the Top 5 mistakes made, especially by Beginner to Intermediate Level Guitarists, that slows down or halts their Learning and Progress on Guitar.You'll be surprised to know that these mistakes are hardly related to your Guitar skill level motivation or aspirations.
It's not even nearly related to what you are trying to play or wanting to learn on Guitar.
You'll also learn how easy it is, to quickly identify and fix these mistakes and keep progressing faster on your Guitar learning journey. 


The TOP 5 Guitar Learning Mistakes

 Mistake # 1 - Underestimating your potential based on false assumptions.

 It's easy to think that people who learn and play Guitar effortlessly have special abilities. It's even easier to think that you are not fortunate enough to be blessed with the same special abilities. But what you fail to understand is that every Guitar player started his or her journey just like you.

This is the No. 1 reason holding back Guitarists from progressing at the rate that they want to. Another common assumption that brings the downfall of Guitarists is to think that they'll never be as good as somebody else that they have seen or heard playing.

Some more common assumptions include:

  • Fear of Failure in Learning. 
  • It takes years of time and dedication to progress on Guitar. 
  • It takes natural talent to play or progress on Guitar. 
  • It's impossible to accomplish, if not started at an early age. 
  • It'll take up too much of dedicated time and effort, that you can't afford to spend, because of other commitments and so on. 

How do you avoid or fix Mistake # 1?

As easy as you find to make the above mentioned assumptions, it's even easier to tell yourself and believe in just one thing

"I can do it"

Guitar Playing is no different. In fact, it's much easier and enjoyable than many other things you have already mastered in your lifetime. With the right help and guidance, you can certainly progress faster on Guitar and reach your Guitar Playing Dreams. 

Mistake # 2 - Trying too hard, without any direction.

If there's one thing that most people who want to learn guitar have in abundance, its PASSION. When you are passionate about something, you want to spend every ounce of your energy in doing that thing. Well, as good as it sounds, it doesn't work well for everything in life. Imagine that you are passionate about learning a sport that you are not very good at, and your passion makes you spend you 12 hours daily, 7 days straight, without specific focus on learning the skills required for that sport, and without the knowledge about the nutrition required to restore your energy already spent. 

What would be the result?
You guessed it right, you'll drain out because of over training, might end up being sick and realizing that you hardly made any progress on your skills.

Sometimes trying too hard to learn something, without any guidance and direction is a recipe for disaster. If you keep practicing Guitar continuously till you get things right, without knowing what and how much to focus on, you might end up in a similar situation with your fingers feeling too fatigued and on the verge of giving up. This will not only slow down your progress, but also build a reluctance in you to pick up the instrument and play again.  


How do you avoid or fix Mistake # 2?

Faster progress on Guitar needs a well thought out plan and strategy.

  • The plan or strategies you take must be aligned to your specific needs or goals from learning the instrument. 
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses and work on your skills, only as much as required for consistent progress. 
  • If you are unsure about what and how much to do, then seek help from an experienced individual who can guide you at every step of the way. 


Mistake # 3 - Over-Exploration of learning Materials 

In today's Internet world, information is available too easily and in abundance. It's virtually impossible to determine the authenticity or effectiveness of believing or following the information out there. Most people trying to learn or get better at Guitar, tend to spend a lot of time and energy on exploring learning materials in the form of Tabs or Charts, Online Videos and Forums etc. This results in waste of valuable time that can be otherwise utilized for improving your Guitar skills. You also end up having too much to handle and as a result you decide to quit. 


How do you avoid or fix Mistake # 3?

Utilize the time you spend on exploring learning materials, to actually focus on learning the instrument. The best way to do this is to find a teacher who has the knowledge and experience to guide you in getting started and consistently progress towards your Guitar Playing dreams. This will reduce your fears and doubts since you now will be having the right tools and directions to progress quickly and all you have to do is follow what’s being taught and measure your progress. 

Mistake # 4 - Unplanned Practice Strategies and Methods

One of the biggest challenges that Guitarists face is to understand what, when and how to practice to get better at playing Guitar. As a result, most people end up doing things randomly during their practice times, with little benefit. Suddenly you realize that, although your intentions and efforts in learning Guitar cannot be questioned, there is hardly any result to show for it. 

How do you avoid or fix Mistake # 4?

  • Create a Practice Schedule with the exact things you need to practice to get better at. 
  • Plan the Practice Items according to your Guitar Playing aspirations. 
  • g. For somebody who just wants to play popular songs on Guitar, spending a lot of time on playing single note tabs is not going to help. 
  • Decide when and how much to practice for maximum retention.
  • Create specific plans to enhance your strengths and counter your weaknesses.
  • Most of all, MAKE IT FUN so that you can stick to the plan.  

 If you are unsure about how to put these things in place, you can always ask for help from your Guitar Teacher or Instructor. 

Mistake # 5 - Giving up right when you were about to progress. 

I saved the best one for last and there are specific reasons for that. If you go back and think, giving up on anything in life has never been an instant move. There are many small things that compound and make you give up on something. Similarly, it's the compounding effect of all the other 4 mistakes that we discussed, that eventually makes one give up on their Guitar playing dreams. What people fail to realize is that the timing of giving up is the biggest problem here. Frustrations and doubts developed by making the first 4 mistakes leads most people into believing that they can never achieve what then want from their Guitar Playing. As a result, they quit right at the time when they were on the verge of progressing. Why does this happen?

  • Lack of required motivation to keep up with Guitar learning and progress.
  • Lack of knowledge or experience to measure their progress. 
  • Lack of right guidance and direction to keep progressing on the instrument. 
  • Too much information leading to feeling overwhelmed. 
  • All of the above leading to more self-doubts and frustration. 

How do you avoid or fix Mistake # 5?

  • Correcting the 4 mistakes we discussed before, will always keep you away from Mistake # 5. 
  • Keep yourself motivated to learn and measure your progress at regular intervals. 
  • Follow the right plan and strategies to get to where you want to with your Guitar Playing. 


About The Author:

Dhanesh Sarangadharan is a certified guitar teacher in Pune, Maharashtra India, who is passionate about helping students progress faster towards their guitar playing and musical ambitions.