Have you just started playing the guitar, but it feels like you are never making any progress? Have no fear, you are by no means the only one experiencing this. Let’s discuss five common reasons why beginning guitarists stop playing the guitar. And … why they are not good reasons! We have also written an article about starting on an acoustic or electric guitar that you might like.
1. “It’s just too hard for me!”
First things first, learning to play the guitar may be more difficult than you thought.
But it seems so easy when you see famous guitarists playing in video clips.
This is simply due to the fact that most of them have trained very hard for a long time. They practiced and repeated their songs endlessly and eventually they truely master them.
What is mastery? When you close your eyes and have no trouble playing the whole song without ever taking a sneak-peak at the fretboard.
When you simply don’t have to think about it anymore, it may seem very easy to someone else. This is the control you strive for.
But when you’ve just started playing the guitar, what the experts are performing all looks overwhelming and that makes sense. Never underestimate their mastery of the instrument, but … never see it as unattainable.
If you keep practicing consistently every day, you will find that you will be progressing little by little.
2. “I have to do too many things at the same time and I can’t!”
What you may have experienced from the beginning is that it can be very difficult to pay attention to two hands at the same time. Unless you’re just a natural in multitasking, of course.
With one hand you press strings and the other hand strums, plays a beat rhythm or hits single notes. All while you are listening to what you are doing and whether you are pressing the strings properly… (does it sometimes crackle, or why is this sounding muted or wrong?) Try to hold the rhythm, strum the right strings and in the right order.
You are doing all those things while your brain also needs to think about future chords and notes. It IS quite a lot to process.
Here is our beginner’s guide to learning guitar chords.
Slow and steady does the job
Always start slowly, very slowly.
When you play slowly, you have more time to focus on what you are doing.
The faster you go, the more it should be an automatism.
You can also practice the parts of both hands separately. For example, you practice your rhythm on just one chord and you keep repeating over and over until you stop thinking about it.
Use a metronome in advance while practicing, as it helps you immediately train your sense of tempo. The sooner you start this, the better.
You can do the same with the hand on your fretboard. Practice the chord or note changes by repeating the same bits over and over.
Are you switching from a D to a G and do you have difficulty with that? Then repeat the switch from D to G for a while.
Eventually you will notice that it is getting easier and faster.
3. “I don’t know how to proceed!”
You may have started playing guitar using the internet. For example via YouTube videos and websites that focus on online teaching in guitar playing or tabs. These definitely aren’t bad tactics, but the catch is that there is no one to correct you when needed.
This allows you to learn habits that can later give you a pain in the ass. Examples of this are fingering positions that are not efficient, not ‘muting’ strings (muting the strings you don’t want to hear) and incorrect alternate picking.
Ask for tips
Now I do not want to say that if you want to learn to play the guitar well, you have to take lessons.
Guitar lessons are an excellent tool in your learning process, but in the end you are the boss. Prefer to use lessons and do everything at your own pace? Then Rock Guitar Mastery is probably the best online course for you.
If you have little motivation, spend little time practicing and don’t take advice from your teacher, the guitar lesson also loses its value.
In addition, not everyone has the financial means for this.
Do you know someone in your area who has experience playing the guitar? Ask for tips and show what you are having trouble with. This person has already experienced the initial phase and can possibly correct it. The more feedback you get on your playing, the better – as confrontational as that can be at times!
You can also ask for tips online. There are plenty of forums and Facebook groups where guitarists get together to chat. Quora is a great site for asking questions.
Ask for tips and wisdom from members who already have more experience. Or post a video in which you play a song. This way they can listen and watch how you are doing it and give feedback.
Most quality online courses will also offer you to ask questions to your digital teacher.
In conclusion, I would like to say that it all starts with yourself: you are the decisive factor in your success with the instrument.
Be aware of what you are doing, because then you will eventually learn to correct yourself.
4. “I’m not progressing fast enough!”
Do you feel like you are not progressing fast enough? Even though you work so hard? Wanting too much too fast is a pitfall for many beginning guitarists.
We want to play Sweet Child O ‘Mine, but we’ve only just mastered the intro to Smoke on the Water.
As the Eagles’ motto is: “Take it Easy!” Playing guitar is not easy! Casually performing some campfire songs is easier said than done.
Remember not to rush anything. Progress will really show if you persist. Learning the songs is more important than the end result.
The process from just getting started to mastering the entire song is incredibly valuable as you will learn many different skills.
With every song that you practice you are gaining more experience. So don’t rush it and enjoy the process.
- Shlomi has written an article about never stop practicing your instrument
5. “I don’t dare to play!”
Last but not least, uncertainty.
Being insecure about your playing can prevent you from sharing it with others.
For example, you do not dare to take guitar lessons, jam with others, ask for feedback from experienced players and start a first gig. I think that is very logical, because making music is something that is close to your heart.
It’s personal and you don’t want to be looked down on.
In my opinion there is no immediate solution to uncertainty.
However, failure does not exist, only things that didn’t quite go as planned do. No big deal! You will learn from those.
If you don’t make an effort, you’re actually cutting yourself short, because you won’t get a chance to have a joyous experience.
Often people react much more positively than you may fear, often coming up with a compliment or with feedback.
Feedback can feel negative, because they are areas for improvement, but at the same time it is the key to progress. You don’t always realize where things are going wrong and how things can be improved.
Make the music you love, show that you enjoy it and have confidence in yourself. Be bold!