If you’re just getting started learning the guitar, there’s a good chance you’re making the most common beginner guitar practice mistake. And if you don’t catch yourself early on, it could lead to incredible frustration with your lack of progress later on.
You see, the problem with self-taught guitarists today is that they have too many options. There is more information today on how to learn the guitar than there ever was before in history. It’s overwhelming. And what ends up happening is people look at all that information and do one of two things:
1. Get paralyzed with indecision and do nothing.
2. Get overwhelmed with information and try to do everything.
In both cases, the end result is failure. Except that the second case usually leads to not only failure, but lots of wasted time spent practicing ineffectively before finally giving up in frustration. Neither is what we’re looking for, and both can be avoided.
It’s simply a matter of knowing what you want to do on the guitar, and then ignoring the 99% of the information that doesn’t fit into your goals. You need to get clarity on what it is you hope to achieve. Even if your goal is to eventually learn every style of guitar known to man — blues, rock, country, jazz, classical, you name it — you still need to pick one initially, and stick with it for a significant amount of time.
The biggest mistake made by beginners today is losing focus. Trying to learn one thing on guitar, then getting distracted by something new they see. And abandoning the initial thing they were trying to learn, before they have even gotten to the point where they can easily play it. This is what stops guitarists from growing. Because it’s the ongoing mastery of individual skills before moving on that leads to the accumulation of lots of techniques, licks, riffs, and songs. Without that constantly growing “bag of tricks” under your belt, you’ll always remain a mediocre guitar player. You’ll never know the freedom and joy of being able to create music, to express exactly what’s inside of you at any moment through the guitar.
Do yourself a favor. Don’t become another one of those guys who claims to play the guitar but only knows a bunch of song intros and can’t play a single song all the way through. The first step in getting there is to figure out what you want, then limit yourself to learning one song at a time related to that goal. If you focus on mastering that one song before moving on, you’ll learn 100 times faster than the guy who browses the tab sites, trying to play a new song every week. The results will blow you away.