How To Avoid The Biggest Mistakes When Learning Guitar On Your Own

You might be stumbling on some of the biggest mistakes trying to learn guitar on your own. 

Knowing these big mistakes mean you can avoid these potholes yourself. It will save you time, energy and money in the future. It will make sure you enjoy the experience of learning guitar and don't give up!


1. You only learn songs on the guitar

Lots of guitarists try to learn how to play the guitar by only playing songs. 


The problems and challenges with only learning how to play songs are:

  • You end up with large gaps in your knowledge of playing the guitar. You will miss out on fundamentals and principles of playing the guitar. 
  • When you only practise the song itself, it produces poor techniques. This is because the fundamentals are not practised or understood all over the guitar. We have had many students come in with these problems. Including bad posture, incorrect picking technique, poor positioning of the fretting hand. And many other challenges.
  • You have a lack of music theory understanding of how the guitar works. Making it near impossible to jam with other people or improvise on the guitar.

The reasons why people only learn songs are because: 

  • They learn to play the guitar by learning how to read tab. They use downloaded tab online to learn songs note by note.
  • They follow many YouTube videos based on "How To Play This Great Song".
  • Use games and apps to play through songs by matching the guitar to the game's interface. Popular options include Rocksmith and Yusician.


Some persistent students can make progress on the guitar for playing specific songs. But students that have come to us using these methods have suffered from the challenges mentioned above. 


They often get frustrated because they can only play certain parts of a song. They don't have the technique and skill to master harder solos. 


They also get annoyed with not being able to improvise or create their music. Students feel like they lack the ability to express themselves on the guitar. They often feel stuck in a box. 


I would recommend learning the theory behind the guitar. And also learning how the fretboard works so that you can be creative with your guitar playing. Other recommendations include improving your ear training on the guitar. You can then use these skills to play and jam with other people.


2. Learning from many different sources

There are so many places you can learn guitar. From different guitar teachers' YouTube videos to friends and family.


The guitar is a prevalent instrument. What you will find is that everyone has an opinion about the guitar. Whether it's how to play the guitar; what the best guitar music is; what's the best way to learn how to play the guitar.


Getting information from a credible and trusted source is the most important thing.


Even if your best friend can play the guitar. This does not mean he knows the best way to get you to your goal. And because a video online has one million views, that does not mean what they are teaching is helpful for you. 


What you need is the correct information that has been tested and proven to work. That you can digest in manageable amounts for learning the guitar. The information should challenge you enough to engage you and for you to still have fun.  When you get information from many different sources, it's like trying to make an ice cream sundae. Chocolate ice cream and banana flavour is your favourite. But one person tells you that you should put strawberries in it. Sparkles by someone else. And another person suggests you pour some lemonade on the sundae to make a coke float.


And that's not what you are after!


You will end up having to remove these items that you don't want to get your simple chocolate sundae with banana. Or in guitar terms. You are having to cut out these bad habits and knowledge that you've picked up. Before being able to work towards what you want to achieve on the guitar.


Otherwise, you end up getting confused. Don't know which direction to go. You get annoyed and think you are not good enough to learn how to play.


Or worse, you give up altogether!


We have had to unwind a lot of hot tangled spaghetti mess students have picked up from various sources. We see a lot of wasted effort and energy from very persistent guitar students.


We don't want that to happen to you.


Some tools like games can be a fun accompaniment to learning in lessons. Unfortunately, it can't replace the whole guitar learning experience.


Focus on learning from a couple of good, reputable sources that you trust who will be there for you long term.


3. Learning guitar on your own

The final big mistake is trying to learn guitar all by yourself. Not asking questions or getting help with what you want to do on the guitar.


We've met many frustrated guitar players who have spent years learning guitar. They go through books, forums, articles. Even playing with friends hoping by osmosis that they will pick up some guitar skills.


The number one thing that will help you get further and progress much faster on the guitar is feedback.


Feedback to make sure what you are doing is correct. Feedback for providing you with the right information and guidance, one step at a time.


Having a guide to help you is so much easier and faster than figuring it all out by yourself!


It saves you so much energy and time to have someone there for you.


The person guiding you can be a friend. But you want someone who is reliable who can answer your questions and lay out a path for you long term. A guitar teacher who has an excellent track record of helping people learn guitar would be a good option.


Some people will always name "a famous guitar player" who taught themselves guitar. They picture themselves having the same success when learning. But do you want to spend 15 hours a day practising and playing the guitar to get good?


Jimmi Hendrix took his guitar with him to the toilet. He was obsessed with it and spent every waking moment playing it. No wonder he made significant progress!


Remember, these people are the exception. And no one is going to think less of you because you have someone teaching you how to get better quicker on the guitar.


And that's it! The top three countdowns of:

The biggest mistakes guitar players make when learning guitar on their own.


To recap so that you avoid these mistakes yourself:

  • Make sure you learn more than songs and work out other fundamentals on the guitar.
  • Learn from a couple of valid sources rather than multitudes of sources that do not line up together.
  • And get someone great to help you! And you will get there quicker and have more fun along the way.


If you want a guitar teacher to help you get to your goal quicker, give you more direction. then get in touch with us.


About Guitar Teacher in London:

Darryl Powis is a guitar teacher in London helping local guitar players improve their guitar playing. Whether they are an acoustic or electric guitar player.

To Top