Advice For Beginners

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Most people want to play the guitar, but they make these three main mistakes. One: They buy a cheap guitar. Two: They’re overconfident. Three: They try to learn on YouTube. I’m sort of ok with this. The less people that play guitar, the cooler it is that I play guitar. But… It’s also really sad to see people fail and give up. So, here’s some advice.

 “I’ll buy a cheap guitar between $200-$400. That way, if it doesn’t work out, I didn’t lose that much money”. If you think this way, then you’ve already quit. Giving yourself the option of quitting before you’ve even started is stupid. As humans, we are programmed to gravitate towards the simplest option, because, thousands of years ago, the simplest option for our ancestors was still really hard. Our brains have not evolved that much since then, but convenience has. 

Cheap guitars are hard to play, so it’s either fight the strings or watch Netflix. Cheap guitars sound awful, so it’s either sound terrible or go on Instagram. It’s common for people to choose the latter is both instances. 

Paying $800-$1200 for your first guitar will motivate you. Your mentality will change to: Practice a song for twenty-five minutes and reward yourself by watching a show for twenty-five minutes. Or, even better, just practice and don’t watch TV. This will keep you from quitting the guitar. 

Also, (I’m not excited to tell you this) if you still end up quitting (LOSER!), you can resell a more expensive guitar and only lose $200-$400 dollars. 

“I’m a quick learner, I’ll be good at the guitar in no time”. If you think this way, then you’ve already quit. Jimi Hendrix didn’t think he was good at the guitar, which is why he kept challenging himself to come up with new licks. Overconfidence clouds the mind and creates false assumptions. Beginners don’t realize that hand position and posture are the hardest part about starting. Some chords will be easy to play. Your arm will feel relaxed and you’ll think you’re a superstar. But then you’ll have to switch to another chord and all of a sudden you’re attempting to be a contortionist. This frustration will send you from cocky to quitter unless you go into practice knowing it’s a slow process. 

YouTube is badass for learning anything. I’ve learned so much about music, psychology, philosophy, business… But most beginners don’t know how to apply the information to their guitar. “Be wary of unearned knowledge,” said Carl Jung. You can watch five hundred YouTube lessons and retain some of the information, but if you can’t use it on your instrument, that information is useless. You’ll get cocky. When you pick up the guitar you will be overwhelmed. 

A teacher you can talk to will center you. You can ask them questions about a video you’ve watched. They can elaborate on the information and help you apply it to the guitar. Most teachers will know a lot of helpful YouTube lessons that they can recommend. This way you aren’t getting too ahead of yourself. Every video will leave you with questions. This is what weekly or bi-weekly lessons are for. 

Also, investing more money into the guitar by paying a teacher, will encourage you to keep going. 

There are a million other mistakes beginners and professionals make, but these are the ones that make people quit before they’ve even started. Mistakes are lame but overcoming them is the key to brilliance. The reason people want to play guitar is to feel good about themselves, but it’s impossible to feel good if you haven’t experienced the struggle. 

 

©2022, AcousticMusic.Org

Written by Dan Carrano

January 8, 2021

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