10 Most Common Beginner Guitarist Mistakes

It's inevitable that when you set out on learning something new, you will make mistakes. This is true for learning guitar as well.

Being a live and online guitar teacher, I've helped a lot of beginner guitar students get through the initial hardships, and have observed several very common beginner mistakes newbies tend to make.

There is a Latin proverb which goes: "A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own."


In the spirit of proverbial Italy, why not be wise today? I've compiled the 10 most common problems beginner guitar students tend to have, so that you can learn from the mistakes of others.

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Barre Chord Tips and Tricks

One of the biggest challenges a beginner guitarist will face is learning how to play barre chords (bar chords). In all honesty, being able to play and use barre chords is guitar songs is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes practice and patience, but the good news is that it can be learned perfectly.

Barre chords

The secret ingredient to being able to play bar chords is practice and using the correct technique. If you haven't done so yet, have a look at our video guitar lesson on bar chords, than come back and read the rest of this article.

And now that you are back and have practiced bar chords a bit, let me give you some useful tips on how to hold down bar chords. You'll need to make sure you start learning them after you know the correct technique, otherwise you may need to relearn them altogether.

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The 5 Biggest Challenges of Learning the Guitar

Having a website that provides beginner guitar lessons means that I get a ton of mail from students telling me what they find most challenging and asking for advice on different aspects of how to learn the guitar. I get letters from by beginner students from every part of the globe and from all demographic groups, so I think it's safe to say that these problems will be universal amongst beginner guitar players.

School of Rock

School of Rock

There are many similarities found in the letters since most beginners run into the same problems, so I decided to do a quick post about the most common ones, as basically every novice guitar student will find something useful and relevant among them.

Here are the most asked questions and problems my online guitar students have, and what to do about them.

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Learning to use the minor pentatonic scale

Learning all 5 positions of the minor pentatonic scale is not required to learn how to solo. Using just a few notes from the scale is more than enough. In the beginning, you should concentrate on just using a few notes, for example the 1st scale shape, or the top 5 notes of the 2nd position minor pentatonic.

Learning how to connect the scale patterns might also be useful, but not required at first:

Connected minor pentatonic pattern in G


Now learning to solo is not just a matter of knowing the shapes and notes. Timing is very very important, as are the vibratos, slides and bends. That adds the style.

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Guitar String Name Mnemonic Acronyms

Learning the names of the guitar strings in standard tuning is easy when you have something to tie the letters to. This is exactly why people started making up memory aids: to remember the string names (EADGBE). Here are a couple of mnemonic acronyms you can use, but if you know other ones, than leave it as a comment at the bottom of the post.
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Free Basic Guitar Lessons for Beginners

Learning to play the guitar will be one of the best decisions you make in your life, and our free basic guitar lessons are here to help you get started. As with all good things in life, learning how to play the guitar takes perseverance, dedication and lots of practice. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to entertain yourself, your friends and family, causing yourself and your surroundings true joy. This sounds a bit tacky, but trust me, it is so very true.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

How should you get started? Learn the guitar online! Online guitar lessons are one of the most cost efficient, and flexible means to learning to play the guitar. Personal teachers cost upwards of $40 per hour, and lets say 2 lessons per week can really add up over time, and actually, the fact that online lessons come in video format nowadays, almost makes personal teachers obsolete.

If you are a complete beginner, sign up for a free membership at our website, and you'll get access to our high quality video guitar lessons tailored to meet the specific needs of absolute beginners.
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Steps to Learning to Play Guitar

Learning how to play an instrument is one of the greatest things that you can do in life. Research has revealed that musicians tend to be more extroverted, get better results in school, and tend to be more open to the world. The acoustic/electric guitar is a very popular instrument, for this reason lots of people choose to learn to play the guitar, rather than the piano for example.



Learning to be a guitar player without the help of a live instructor is very possible these days. Back when I learned, we had mainly publications and tapes to learn through. The Internet has actually revolutionized musical instruction, making it easy to learn guitar.

Nowadays, if you decide you want to learn to play electric or acoustic guitar the acoustic or electric guitar (or anything else for that matter), what do you do? Google it! You'll find an overwhelming amount of information, articles, videos and learn guitar products. In actual fact, you will find so much, it can turn out to be a burden, as you may find yourself moving from one resource to another without staying with one system persistently.

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10 Common Beginner Guitar Student Question and Answers

If you've ever contacted me on any guitar related question, you'll know that I answer all of my students' questions personally. I love doing so for people learning from our beginner guitar lessons. There are a lot of typical questions and problems that my online students encounter, so I thought a post on these would be useful for everyone to see.

Guitar Student Q&A

Guitar Student Q&A

Of course, if you have any other questions, get stuck somewhere, or just need a bit of motivation, feel free to contact me any time. But with that said, read through the below list of questions I get asked most often, you'll probably find answers to your problems as well.

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Guitar Tabs Reference Guide

Becoming familiar with guitar tab notation is an important step in becoming a guitarist. If you just want to learn and strum a couple of chords, than you won't need to know how to decipher tablature. BUT if you want to be able to play as many songs as you like, you will definitely need to learn how to read guitar tabs.

Learning tabs is easy!

Learning tabs is easy!

First of all, you need to know that reading tabs is very easy. It may seem complicated at first, but with just a little practice, you'll be able to effectively read guitar tablature, which is great, since you can download loads of tabs off of the Internet, not to mention the fact that our own Guitar Pro tabs database uses tabs as well.

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Easiest way to learn guitar

One of the most common questions I get from my students (both online and offline) is:

Tom, what's the easiest way to learn guitar?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that 🙂

So, my young Padawans, let's have a look at this question in detail.

simple-method-learn-guitarCan learning guitar be easy?

If you are looking for an easy way to learn to play guitar in 10 days, you just got to stop and ask yourself a few things.

  1. Can I really build a complex skill in a week?
  2. And if I could, wouldn't everyone be playing guitar like Slash?

Don't be silly now. There is no pill you take and wake up the next day and become awesome at guitar. Are you looking for a quick and simple way to learn chords, scales, and whatnot? Well, sorry, but there isn't any. You have to work for it, and it will take a while.

Guitar stars like Eric Clapton, Slash, BB King make it look so easy, right. Yeah, but they've been playing for decades. How long have you been playing?

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