5 Tips to Have Great Guitar Playing Technique from the Beginning

These five expert tips will carry through the process of moving from a beginner to a pro.

Learn at your own pace

Trying to learn fast should not even cross your mind. To actually have good technique you must always hit the right notes and use your fingers accurately. That is something that can’t be rushed.

This is especially the case for tricky and more complicated bar chords and scales. If you learn to play correctly, the speed will increase naturally. Taking your time is essential and not a sign that you’re not making progress.

Avoid the death grip

The left-hand death grip is known by practically every guitarist because all beginners incur in this mistake. Pressing the strings against the board is not as simple as it seems.

It can make your fingers and your wrist hurt. A natural reaction is placing your thumb over the top of the fret. That hand position will make you press the strings with your fingerprints rather than the fingertips, which is the part of the finger that should always be used to press.

Although the death grip lets you hold the guitar better, it undermines the reach of the fingers. The correct grip is having your thumb on the back of the fretboard so that you can play with your fingertips.

Otherwise, you may end up muting other strings with the bigger and flatter part of your finger below the tip. Yes, it is hard at first and causes a bit of wrist and finger discomfort. But it is the way to play properly.

Use your fingers correctly

Playing with your fingers correctly refers to knowing which finger should play each note on the fretboard. This is actually something that has been the subject of various studies throughout the years. Nowadays, you can easily access the expert recommendations on this topic.

The fingering instructions are applied to chords, scales and variations. If you divert from these tips and try to play variations your own way, you can end up helping prove that the fingers you were trying to use are simply impossible to play with on those variations.

Use a metronome

The advantages of playing to a click track are many, although it can be very difficult at the beginning. You will get to train your rhythm and your timing. So, the sooner you start using a metronome after the initial steps, the better.

Start by setting the beats per minute to a very slow pace. The goal is not to learn to play fast, but steady and in time. The metronome is a step that you should take only when your technique is already relatively strong.

Play sitting down and standing up

Starting to play while standing up can be a huge challenge. But if you’re taking your practice seriously, you’ll have to do it eventually. When you’re sitting, it’s easy to look over and control your finger movements with your eyes.

But you should let go of that habit as soon as you feel more comfortable. Once you insist on playing standing up, your technique will improve and you will play much more naturally. A good strap is key. It must be padded on the shoulder and be adjusted to a proper length.

Focus on technique from day one. Being disciplined and avoiding mistakes will make your evolution more natural, stable, fast and enjoyable.

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