Common guitar mistakes

18 Most Common Beginner Guitar Mistakes [You Need To Avoid]

Learning to play the guitar isn’t as simple as remembering the chords and strumming the strings. There is a lot of technique to it. As a guitarist, I had to learn them all by myself through years of experience, trial, and failure.

A lot of mistakes were done during that time and this article is all about warning you of them.

In this article, I’ll be writing about some common beginner guitar mistakes that newbies like yourself tend to make.

Common Beginner Guitar Mistake And Bad Habits

Here are the details of some common mistakes that most beginners tend to make:

1. Buying A Cheap Guitar

This is probably the most common rookie mistake. Trust me. You don’t want to cheap out on the guitar. Cheap guitars are mostly poor-quality guitars that produce poor sound and rarely stay in tune.

So, cheeping out will not help you to learn well. Remember, when learning to play the guitar you don’t just train your hands, you train your hearing as well.

Buy the best one you possibly can. Go with a trusted and reliable brand like Fender or Yamaha for your first guitar.

2. Improper Grip

Pushing down on the guitar strings on the fret is pretty damn hard for beginners. So, a lot of them have the bright idea of placing their thumb on the top of the fret and using it as leverage. Which is really not a bright idea. Cause this makes you press down on the strings with the flat pad of your fingers which is not ideal.

Place your thumb on the back of the fret and then push down on the string using the tips of your fingers.

3. Not Holding Guitar Properly

One of the common mistakes that beginner guitarists make is not holding the guitar properly. This might seem like a small thing, but it can actually make a big difference in your playing.

For a right-handed player, the standard way to hold the guitar is with the left hand curled around the neck and the right hand over the strings. The thumb of your left hand should be behind the neck, and your fingers should be lightly touching the strings.

Rest your upper right hand on top of the guitar body to support the guitar and keep your forearm free to strum the strings. For a left-handed player, simply switch hands.

Proper posture is important for both comfort and performance. If you slouch while you play, it will be difficult to reach the strings, and you’ll probably end up with a lot of pain in your back and shoulders.

4. Too Many Breaks Or Too Few Breaks

In the beginning, playing the guitar can be a bit painful. Some people just can’t bare through it. Others, go a little too overboard and play till they damage their fingers. Both are bad ways of dealing with pain.

Try to practice every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Even if you feel your thumbs are a bit sore. This will allow the formation of calluses on your fingertips that eventually reduce the pain.

5. Irregularity

This is the most common beginner guitar mistake that happens to beginner guitar students. They think they can learn to play guitar by taking lessons once a week and playing at home sporadically. This just doesn’t work.

It’s easy to get disheartened at the beginning of the learning process. And many seem to take a break from their practice session from time to time. These off-and-on practice sessions will mess up your flow and lengthen the learning process.

My advice is to practice every day. Giving as low as 15 minutes of your day to practicing is enough for learning the guitar quickly and efficiently to build up your muscle memory.

6. Not Tuning Before Practicing

Minor Tuning Adjustments

Many beginner guitarists don’t know that their guitar will quickly fall out of tune as they use it. Every time you pluck a string, the delicate tension in the string changes just a little bit. It’s gonna happen, even if you don’t use it.

When you put your guitar away in its case, the different atmospheric pressure and temperature inside the case can cause the strings to change slightly in tension. This is why you should always tune your guitar before playing it.

7. Use too much force

Applying too much pressure to the strings is a common mistake of beginner guitarists. This can cause pain in the fingers, as well as make it difficult to fret the notes cleanly.

Instead of using a lot of force, try to use just enough pressure to make the note sound clear. It may take a little training to get the right amount of pressure, but it’s worth it in the end. Be sure that you’re using the tips of your fingers to fret the notes and not the pads of your fingers. This will help you to use less pressure overall.

In addition, strumming too hard can cause the strings to buzz and sound unclear. You want to use a light touch when strumming, and let the weight of your arm do the work.

8. Avoiding Hard Chords

Instead of learning and playing all the chords, a lot of guitarists will try to find ways around playing them. They don’t want to practice barre chords as it seems too hard, or even try to learn them at all.

But playing barre chords is a powerful knowledge that every guitarist should learn. The most difficult chords are not only those that help you develop your technique, but also open up a whole new world of songs that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Hard chords are worth the effort, so don’t be afraid to master barre chords but tackle them head-on!

9. Trying To Learn Too Many Things At Once

When you start for the first time, it is important to focus on learning the basics. Trying to learn too many things at once will only overwhelm you and make it difficult to progress.

Start learning how to hold the guitar, tune the strings and play simple chords. Once you have mastered these basics, you can start learning more complex techniques.

In the beginning, it is also tempting to try to learn as many songs as possible. However, this is not the best approach. It is better to focus on learning a few songs really well, rather than trying to learn a bunch of songs half-heartedly.

10. Not Using a Metronome

A metronome is a tool that produces a regular, clicking sound. It’s used to help musicians keep a steady tempo while they’re playing. It is one of the important practice tools for a musician, especially for a guitar player.

When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to play with a consistent tempo. This is where a metronome comes in handy.

If you want to improve your sense of timing and rhythm, I strongly recommend that you start using a metronome. It will help you internalize the tempo of a piece of music, and make it easier to play with other musicians.

Not using a metronome is one of the common guitar mistakes that beginner guitarists make. Not only does a metronome help you keep time, but it also forces you to play in time, which is an essential skill for any musician.

11. Not Learning Music Theory

Basic Open Chords And Basic Chords

Music theory is the language of music. It helps you to understand how music works and how to create your own songs with new chords and progressions. It will make you a better musician, and it will help you communicate with other musicians.

A lot of beginning guitar players make the mistake of avoiding music theory and they end up playing the same old licks and riffs they know. To advance in your guitar playing, you need to learn some basic music theory.

I know it sounds daunting, but trust me, if you learn music theory it will pay off in the long run.

12. Not Having a Guitar Teacher

A guitar teacher can help you learn the basics faster and point out any mistakes you might make. They can also introduce you to new techniques and concepts that you may not have encountered yourself.

Having a professional teacher is particularly important if you want to improve your guitar skills and learn proper strumming techniques, proper picking techniques like alternate picking, or even chord changes. It is all the things that are best learned with the help of a guitar instructor.

Of course, you can learn how to play guitar without a teacher. But if you have a chance to take guitar lessons, it is worth considering.

13. Not Stretching Or Warming Up

Just like any physical activity, playing guitar can put a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints. It’s important to do warm-up exercises before you start playing and to stretch afterward. If you don’t warm up or stretch, you could end up with cramps, pain in your wrists or fingers, or even joint pain.

There are some simple exercises you can do to warm up your fingers and prepare them for guitar playing. For example, you can try making some finger curls, or lightly massaging your hands and wrists.

Once you’re done playing guitar, it’s also important to stretch your fingers. A simple way to do this is by making a fist and then spreading your fingers out as wide as possible.

14. Not Tracking Your Progress

If you’re not tracking your progress, it can be hard to see how far you have come as a guitarist. I recommend you keep a journal, in which you write down what you have practiced every day.

You could also make a video or audio recording of yourself playing so you can listen back and see how your skills have improved over time.

Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and continue to progress as a guitarist.

15. Being Impatient

Beginners tend to develop bad habits very quickly when they start playing guitar. And one of the worst habits is getting impatient.

There is no need to try to learn everything at once. It takes time and practice to learn how to play guitar. Mistakes and errors are part of the learning process. Embrace them and take advantage of them as an opportunity to learn and improve your guitar playing.

If you’re patient, you’ll be able to learn at a more stable pace and avoid making mistakes. Practicing regularly is the best way to improve your guitar-playing skills. Set aside some time each day to practice, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes.

16. Learning From Too Many Sources

Nowadays, there are many different sources you can learn from when it comes to playing guitar. You can find online lessons, video lessons, books, magazines, and much more.

While it’s great to have all these resources available, they can also be confusing and overwhelming. If you’re just starting, it’s best to focus on one or two sources of information.

For example, you can find a guitar teacher you like and take lessons from them. Or, you can watch video lessons online and follow along with them. Once you have a good foundation of knowledge, you can start branching out and exploring other resources.

17. Practicing With Too Many Effects

For beginner electric guitar players, it’s tempting to try to make your guitar sound as cool as possible by using a bunch of different effects. However, this can actually make it harder to learn how to play.

When you’re just starting out, it’s best to keep things simple. Try to play with a clean tone, or maybe with a little bit of overdrive or distortion. As you become more comfortable playing, you can start experimenting with different effects. But don’t get too carried away!

18. Not Playing In Front Of Other People

Playing guitar in front of other people can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re just starting out. But it’s important to get used to playing in front of an audience, even if it’s just a few friends or family members.

One of the best ways to improve your guitar playing is to perform before people as often as possible. Playing in front of others will help you get over any stage fright that you might have.

It will also force you to concentrate and focus on your playing. When you’re more comfortable, you’ll see that your guitar-playing skills are improving.


These are the most common guitar mistakes that beginners made. Now you can avoid these and make your learning process much easier. Practice hard and you’ll become an expert in no time. Good luck!

If you are willing to avoid these mistakes and learn guitar from a professional, please contact us for support at Guitar Lesson Dublin.

1 thought on “18 Most Common Beginner Guitar Mistakes [You Need To Avoid]”

  1. Deangelo Aguillard

    There are several other considerations when choosing a good beginner guitar. For starters, it is important to choose one that is easy to learn to play. Most of the guitars in the world are quite expensive and are not always easy to master, so it is important to find one that can easily fit your needs.

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