Learning to play the guitar is something a lot of people have actually tried. And, most of them not successfully; well not at first anyway.
Maybe you are one of those people who tried to learn to play and it was much more difficult than you thought. You would not be alone. Most people find it difficult at first.
I struggled for many years because I took all the wrong approaches to learning how to play the guitar. It was frustrating and painful and thankfully I did not give up totally.
Here are 3 reasons why it took me so long to finally learn how to play the guitar and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Big mistake #1 was starting to learn how to play the guitar with a really cheap and crappy acoustic guitar.
Because it was not a good quality guitar it made it very difficult for me to learn. The strings were far away from the frets to start with so it took a lot of effort to simply push them far enough to contact them let alone make things sound good.
It was also a very wide-bodied guitar so that meant it was very difficult to reach around it and get comfortable holding it just so I could strum the strings with the other hand.
This is what they call a beginner guitar at the music store. It's the least expensive one you can find. The proper name should be changed because they are the worst guitars for beginners to use.
What you want to do instead is find a higher quality acoustic guitar, with a thinner body and strings that are lower to the frets. It will cost more money but it is worth the investment.
One huge problem with trying to learn to play the guitar is that you are not trained to know what is within your abilities or not. This brings up two different problems.
The first problem is finding easy things to play but never moving beyond them. In this scenario you tend to stick to the few things you know and never try to push beyond it. You end up stuck and likely frustrated.
The second problem, the most common one, is the trap I fell into. I wanted to learn certain songs that I liked right away and whenever I tried to learn them I quickly had to give up in frustration.
They were well beyond my abilities at that time and no matter how much I wanted to play them there was no way for me to be successful at the level of playing I was at. Had I known this I would have chosen things that fit me better and helped me progress instead of frustrating me.
This led me to frustration and putting down the guitar more than a few times for many months thinking I would never get it. You do not want that. The key is to find things that are just within your reach but not too far.
This is not as easy as it sounds.
This was the biggest of all the mistakes I made when I first started to learn to play the guitar.
For starters I was so clueless that I had no idea you could actually get guitar lessons! I thought learning on your own was the only way you could do it. So, I found some books and tried those but they were either boring or too difficult for me. Very frustrating.
Unlike people today I did not have the internet or other resources like DVDs until I got older. Not that they would have helped me reach my goals because the reality is they were just video versions of the books for the most part.
Most of my students today have tried online resources and they are just as frustrated and lost as I was without them and dare say some of them even more so because there is so much out there.
If I could only change one of the three things I am discussing in this article this would be it. I would seek and find a qualified, trained, professional guitar teacher to help me learn to play the right way the first time.
The 3 points above are all things I would change if I were to start learning to play the guitar again today.
You do not have to spend a fortune to find a good acoustic guitar to start with. The most important thing to look for is that it is easy to hold and play. Look until you find one that works for you.
The last two points are actually related. The reason I was trying to play things above my abilities was because I took learning into my own hands.
Over time, after much frustration, I finally did look for a teacher and unfortunately, he was not much better. I was asked what I wanted to learn and then given stuff that was above my head. He did not tell me it was too early for it, he just gave it to me hoping I would get it. Then kept doing this each class.
Frustrating! The solution for me was to find a teacher that knew what they were doing which I was finally able to do. You should do the same. A teacher that will know what to teach you without asking you what you want to learn each class, that creates a plan based on where you are and where you want to go.
When you find this teacher, you will have struck gold! Go for it!
Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play the guitar in less time!
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