1. Don’t Use The Left Hand Death Grip
When you begin playing the guitar, you’ll see that actually pressing the strings to the fret board is difficult and will cause your fingers and wrist to hurt. As a result, most people use their thumb and hook it around the top of the fret board to achieve some leverage and then use the flat of their fingers to press each string as opposed to their fingertips.
This is what is known as the left hand death grip since you’ll end up squeezing the neck of the guitar tightly which naturally restricts how easily your fingers can move. Instead, you should practice good technique where you place your thumb to the back of the guitar’s neck. This allows you to use your fingertips when pressing the string to the fret board. This will allow you to play notes more accurately and faster and you won’t mute other strings by accident. This will feel difficult and strange, especially if you have a weak wrist. However, once you persevere, you’ be able to enjoy the benefits later. Always keep in mind that your thumb needs to be on back of the guitar’s neck.
2. Rehearse In Different Positions – Both Sitting & Standing
Simply playing the guitar is difficult on its own without having to move around the room. However, if you truly want to be able to play professionally, you will have to be able to play while standing in front of any crowd. With that said, playing while you’re standing as opposed to while you’re sitting is quite different.
If you’re on a chair, you’ll likely hunch over quite a bit so you can easily see your hands. This is something you need to try to avoid. However, when you’re standing, this isn’t the case. Simply try out this position and you’ll easily find out. When you stand, it would be a lot more challenging to see your left hand. Additionally, you should have a good quality guitar strap that you can easily adjust to a suitable length. Then, practice playing while standing as much as you can.
3. Speed Isn’t Necessary
You don’t need to learn to play the guitar fast. If you want to have good technique, you need to work on accurately playing the correct notes and fingering properly when you need to play difficult bar chords and scales. Make sure to place an emphasis on learning how to do fingering accurately. When you focus on playing accurately, you will eventually speed up over time. The biggest issue when it comes to playing fast is bad technique. So, make sure you learn how to use good technique and you’ll eventually be able to go fast. You can use an app called Uberchord Guitar which is completely free and it will listen while you play and let you known when you’re playing inaccurately.
4. Accurate Fingering
Over many years and centuries, expert guitar players have discovered the best ways of playing particular chords and scales. This basically means the particular fingers that should play particular notes.
In some cases, you’ll figure out even better ways of playing them and this simply means you’re likely a musical genius. However, it is best to not be tempted to do so. Remember, accurate fingering isn’t just about playing the scale or chord as it should be played. There are variations that have to be considered like ninths and sevenths. As a result, your particular style of fingering may not allow for these variations to be easily played. This is certainly something I personally learned. So, make sure that you perform the accurate fingering of each chord and you can use Uberchord to see how to do each one. Take a look at our range of instruments at www.guitarguitar.co.uk/folk/ukuleles/.
5. Rehearse Quietly
If you want to look at your favorite movie or show but need to rehearse, don’t stress. You can actually practice by simply holding your guitar and play scales and chords without actually playing the strings. This will allow you to train your left hand and it still counts as practice. Remember, you need to have good habits when you’re playing to achieve good technique. Make sure and keep your thumb on the back of the guitar’s neck.
6. Utilize A Metronome
Playing using a click track is quite difficult when you now start, but the benefits of doing so are huge. You will achieve a great sense of timing and rhythm and you should definitely use a metronome as soon as you can. You can start off by setting the beats per minutes to a very slow pace. This will allow you to learn how to play at a good tempo and in time without having to sacrifice your technique while learning. There are even metronome apps you can find on the web.
7. Don’t Avoid The Challenging Chords
A couple weeks ago while in my studio, I was recording my friend who did everything she could to make sure she didn’t have to play the B minor chord. This was because she found it was difficult and avoided playing it by using capos etc. However, this is something you want to avoid doing and should instead look for chords that you find very difficult and take more time to perfect them. This will ensure you don’t create a mental barrier which would negatively affect your musical ability for the rest of your life.