Beat is powered by Vocal creators. You support R.J Taynes by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Beat is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Play Guitar Like a Pro: Avoid These Common Mistakes

Commonly Made Mistakes and Easy Solutions to Become a Guitar God Before your Guitar Rots

Avoid making these common mistakes while playing the guitar. In this article we will discuss mistakes commonly made not only by beginners, but guitarists of all levels. 

These tips will help your playing become more musical, as well as form a strong base to build from, all while very simply and quickly taking your guitar playing to new levels. 

If you have any requests, questions, or comments feel free to contact me. I'll do my best to respond in a timely fashion. Rock on.

1: Strings

New strings can bring new life to an old instrument, not to mention being easier on your finger tips.

Whether you bought a new or used guitar, or got one from a friend or family member, the first thing you should always do is change the strings. Old strings sound bad, may be hard to get in tune, and can be really hard on your fingers. 

I recommend buying soft strings. New guitars are often strung with hard strings to make them louder when played in the store. No need for that as a beginner, or ever in this writer/musician's opinion. 

There are multiple outlets online for you to learn how to change them yourself, or simply go to your nearest music store. They will do it for an affordable price, giving you an opportunity to see it done in person, as well as get some free tips. Win-win, right?

2: Tuning

Tuning is mandatory every single time you play, even multiple times if you are playing for an extended period of time.

An out of tune guitar sounds terrible for everyone around. Your playing won't get better, and your ears won't be trained properly. So, again, mandatory. Not optional.

There are several different types of tuners, the most accessible obviously being mobile apps, although most accessible doesn't always mean most effective. Try them out and find what works best for you.

3: Posture

It might sound silly, but posture is your best friend when playing for a variety of reasons which we will now explore in depth.

- Strumming Hand Elbow

It is very important to always keep your strumming elbow over the guitar. The elbow being one of the pivot points, you want it to be free of obstructions. It is never a good idea to have your elbow movement restricted.

Furthermore you will find that your hand falls more over the sound hole (if playing acoustic) or over the pick ups (if playing electric) providing a fuller, cleaner sound.

- Guitar on Outer Thigh

Throughout my years as a musician, I have seen plenty of guitarists ignore this basic beginner rule. It may be easier to see the fretboard at first if you put the base between your legs, however I don't suggest getting into the habit of it. Let's face it, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. It also affects your leverage on the frets, affecting your overall performance.

It is possible to make it easy to see the frets and hold the guitar properly at the same time. Tilt the neck of the guitar up and towards you; problem solved. You will thank yourself later.

- Fret Hand Elbow

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, keep your elbow free of obstructions, free to move with your hand up and down the fretboard.

The worst thing you can do is sink into a sofa or lazy boy and/or rest this elbow on your hip, or arm of a chair. Doing that will drastically hinder your efforts.

I suggest sitting in an upright position, on a chair with no arms. Really focus on these posture tips and you will notice a difference right away in the sound quality of your playing.

4: Thumb Placement

Your thumb should be centered on the back of the fretboard (in relation to what your fret fingers are holding ). This will give you as much strength to your fret fingers as possible.

Doing this will also give you more reach. If you ever find that you're having a hard time reaching for notes, often all you have to do is lower your thumb placement. 

5: Imaginary Ball

When holding the strings, imagine you are holding a ball in your hand. You want to see this full circle. You do not want a V shape. 

This will help you to not touch any strings except for the ones you intend to, in the meantime allowing the other strings to ring while you are moving from fret to fret, allowing for a beautifully musical sound to ring out — which is what we all want.

That's All for Now

Follow these simple steps and include them as ritual every time you play. You will begin to hear a very real improvement very quickly. As I stated above, if you have any questions I'd be happy to help in any way possible. 

If this article is received well, I will continue to post more including advanced tips, strategies, songs to play, and video tutorials. Thanks for reading. 

Now Reading
Play Guitar Like a Pro: Avoid These Common Mistakes
Read Next
Hot SoundCloud Week 1