Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by AG
Playing the guitar is a rewarding experience that brings joy to both the player and the listener. However, achieving a clean, accurate sound and avoiding injuries requires proper technique.
Bad habits related to technique can hinder progress, lead to sloppy playing, and increase the risk of injury. And once a bad habit has crept in, it’s very hard to get rid of it.
That’s why we’ve collected 7 common bad habits concerning playing technique that every guitarist should get rid of as soon as possible or avoid in the first place. You will see it makes a huge difference. So let’s get started.
1. Holding the Guitar Improperly
Holding the guitar at the wrong angle or using improper hand placement can make it difficult to play and increase the risk of injury. The guitar should be held at a comfortable angle, we have an article with more information, if you are unsure about holding a guitar correctly.
The left-hand thumb should be placed behind the neck, and the fingers should be arched and pressed down on the strings.
The right-hand wrist should be straight and the fingers should be resting lightly on the strings. Monitor your body position, are your shoulders relaxed, and your elbows? Too much tension will make playing difficult for you.
2. Neglecting Proper Posture While Playing Guitar
Poor posture can lead to back pain, neck pain, and other health issues. Many guitarists tend to slump forward. Not only will poor posture put unnecessary strain on your back and neck, but in a slumped posture you’ll have shallow breathing, which can lead to you feeling tired.
Maintaining a good posture while playing guitar is crucial. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and the guitar resting comfortably on your lap. Avoid slouching or leaning forward while playing.
3. Playing Too Fast Without Mastering the Technique
Trying to play too fast before mastering the necessary techniques can lead to sloppy playing and poor tone quality. It’s essential to take the time to master each technique before increasing your speed. Patience isn’t easy, but taking time, in the beginning, will pay back tenfold in the end. So, focus on playing cleanly and accurately before trying to play fast.
4. Neglecting Rhythm While Practicing
Rhythm is a crucial component of guitar playing, but many guitarists neglect it in favor of focusing solely on melody. But rhythm isn’t just important for a fluent result in the end, it is crucial if you are playing with others. Believe me, it does make a difference if a guitarist can hold the rhythm and tempo or not! Make sure you’re practicing with a metronome and pay attention to rhythm. It’s important to develop a sense of timing and groove to enhance your playing. Especially if you want to play in a band or accompany someone.
5. Not Focusing On Accuracy
Sloppy playing can be frustrating for both you and your audience. Make accuracy a priority when practicing. Slow down and focus on playing each note cleanly and precisely. It’s better to play slowly and accurately than to play fast and sloppily. Once you have got the pattern down you can start picking up speed.
6. Using Too Much Or Too Little Pressure On the Frets
Applying too much or too little pressure on the frets can result in buzzing or dead notes. Experiment with different pressure levels until you find the sweet spot. The goal is to apply enough pressure to produce a clean, clear note without straining your fingers.
7. Neglecting to Train Your Non-Dominant Hand
Many guitarists focus solely on their dominant hand, but neglecting to train your non-dominant hand can result in uneven playing. Make sure you’re practicing both hands. Pressure is one thing you can improve by training your non-dominant hand, but there is so much more. Develop your hand’s dexterity and strength by practicing scales, chords, and all exercises where you are changing the position of your left (or right if you are left-handed) hand a lot.
7+ Not Using a Guitar Pick Correctly
Using the wrong grip or holding the pick too tightly can make it difficult to play cleanly. Experiment with different grips and find what works best for you. Hold the pick between your thumb and index finger and use a relaxed grip. Avoid gripping the pick too tightly, as this can lead to tension in your hand and wrist.
Take your time to figure out how to hold a guitar pick correctly, it will pay off in the end.
Avoiding these bad habits while playing guitar is essential for developing a clean, accurate sound and avoiding injuries or discomfort over time.
The proper technique takes time and practice to develop, but it’s worth the effort. Pay attention to your posture, hold the guitar correctly, focus on accuracy and rhythm, and experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. With dedication and practice, you can improve your guitar playing and enjoy it fully.