Hi guys, my name’s Andy from AndyGuitar.co.uk and in this video I’m talking you through my top 5 mistakes and bad habits that you want to be sure to avoid if you’re learning guitar through YouTube – especially as a beginner. Now number 1, top of that list is definitely wrist strumming. Or what I call wrist strumming. which is essentially, no matter what chord you’re strumming – moving or tilting or pivoting the wrist. Like this (strums showing example of what not to do) Ok. Rather than strumming from the elbow which is what we want to be doing. So when we’re playing rhythm guitar we’re strumming chords that strumming needs to be a movement pivoting from the elbow with the guitar nice and close into your body not slipping down your leg like this, not leaning over to see your chords Into your body and moving from the elbow. This allows a way more accurate strumming action and also for you not to hurt the little muscles in the wrist and hand by doing a big motion with little muscles. We’re going to use the big muscles of the arm and moving from the elbow in this sort of fashion. (strums showing correct movement) This brings me on to mistake number 2 which is for single string playing. So, as a guitarist we need to treat strumming chords, which is rhythm guitar, and picking single notes, which is essentially lead guitar, we need to treat them as two separate things for now as beginners, okay? Strumming is a movement of your arm from the elbow ok? Gives a nice consistent action and means that we’re always strumming all the strings evenly when we want to When you’re picking a single note what you need to do is rest your wrist of your picking hand above the strings and above the sound hole or above your pick-ups if you’re on an electric guitar and have that contact with the guitar and it is actually a movement from the wrist for single note playing (plays single notes) You want to have that wrist in contact with the guitar at all times when doing single string playing and if you’re playing the thinnest couple of strings you actually want to rest your wrist on the thickest strings themselves. So we want the wrist itself on these thickest strings when we’re picking, for example (repeatedly plays single note) That thinnest string (picks string) Those two techniques are so crucial and they’re the foundation of your rhythm playing, so your strumming and/or your lead playing which is your single string playing The 3rd biggest mistake that people commonly do is concerning the chord hand. We all have to start at some point learning our basic open chord shapes like E, A, and D. What can commonly happen when we start to learn some of the harder chord shapes Like a G and a C is a definite one finger at a time motion happens when we’re changing chords and when we’re placing our chords. So basically what you are possibly doing at the moment and what you want to avoid is placing one finger down at a time. That is how we learn these chords, it is not how you want to be practicing them. What we want to practice is being able to place your fingers in the correct place strum your chord, but then lift off of that chord and have that shape memorized in your fingers. so that your hand memorizes the position it’s in and the position of each chord rather than you memorizing, and this is where the old neck stretch comes in, rather than you memorizing exactly where to put your fingers by placing them one at a time like this So I’ll go through that again, this is particularly evident on the C chord but it can happen with a whole other host of chords as well, it’s just really evident on the C chord. A lot of people play the C (placing fingers) 1-2-3 every time. In a song that’s just not going to happen if you’re changing from G and C and trying to go (placing fingers) 1-2-3, it’s going to take an age. What you need to do is simply have your hand remember that shape so what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna strum that C chord, and you can strum along with me now Strum it normally. Have your hand stay as still as possible but it wants to rise from the fretboard by about a centimeter, so half an inch or so and freeze in that position that your fingers are in. Therefore your hand is memorizing this shape and we’re really getting these chords into your muscle memory. The small muscle memory of your fingers. and then we want to place that chord back down and then strum it again as a C chord. It can really help at this point to notice that my hand is on quite an angle rather than being straight like this The C chord in particular is a really nasty stretch. It was the first chord I was taught when I was first learning. and it’s very difficult to do when your fingers are placed in line with the frets. What you want to do is have your fingers on an angle and have them touching at certain points and that can really help to memorize the position that your hand’s in and memorize these chords. You can even extend that towards rising from the chord that you’re on and then going to another chord for example the G, freezing and hovering just above that chord and then placing your hand down and that really makes sure that your hands have memorized these chord shapes. The 4th most common mistake is, what I’ve summarized as not getting the rhythm down. This is basically being too preoccupied with which downs and ups to use rather than getting the underlying beat to it and being able to tap your foot to a song as you’re playing it to really internalize the rhythm and be able to do the correct down and up strumming naturally. So, for example, if you have a strumming pattern which I call the most common strumming pattern ever If we do it on a G chord, for example, so this is gonna be down down up up down. (plays strumming pattern) There’s one of those beats that are underlying from that strumming pattern that we’re not playing on we’re not playing on beat 3 so if you are tapping your foot there’s 1 beat there which you’re tapping on and not strumming on and this basically throws people right off. What can all too commonly happen with this strumming pattern and many others is people just look at the D’s and U’s for example and go down, down, up, up, down and they’ve completely lost the rhythm even though you’re doing the correct downs and ups what you’re following The big concept here is that when you’re doing downs and ups patterns the down strums with 8 strumming patterns always happen on the beat and the up strums always happen off the beat so if you’re doing 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and the downs always happen on the beat. 1, 2 and in between are the and’s – 1 and 2 and and from there it doesn’t matter what combination of downs and ups are happening that is still prevalent so if we demonstrate down, down, up, up, down again (demonstrates pattern) 1, 2, and, and, 4. 1, 2, and, and, 4 (demonstrates pattern) The down strums are always on the beat and the up strums are off the beat and if you miss any strums you need to keep your hand moving and of course move it from the elbow. The 5th and final mistake is a more general comment about what people choose to practice it is simply that people tend not to master the basics before moving on to the harder stuff It sounds obvious but this is mainly to do with the songs that people choose so, all too often, people are drawn to the songs that they know or recognize and that ends up being these classic guitar songs like “Wonderwall” for the last 10 or 20 years has been the song to play on acoustic guitar and before that “House of the Rising Sun” was very popular as a first beginner’s song and it’s just not where you want to start especially if you haven’t ever done anything musical before You may, after many hours of practice be able to play that song to a somewhat recognizable version of it but you’re not going to be training yourself with the right techniques and fundamentals that are gonna see you your many years, hopefully many years of guitar playing So you need a whole bunch, you know 10s and 20s and 30 songs that are dead dead easy for you to spot the pattern in these songs. For you to spot the ingredients and be able to fully master these ingredients such as the basic open chords and strumming patterns and how songs are structured. Get playing real songs as soon as possible but make sure those songs are way easy. Other things I really recommend are having a repertoire of songs that you’re building so that whenever it comes to actually performing for someone, when someone says, “Hey, you’ve been learning guitar for a couple of months now, play us something.” you’ve actually got a couple of songs that you’ve played for that few months that are there ready for you to play in front of people and you’ll do a great job at it. So there are the top 5 mistakes that people learning guitar online commonly make make sure you don’t fall fouls to them but they can take a little while to train yourself after when they’ve become a habit If you want loads of easy songs to play make sure you check out my website andyguitar.co.uk where we’ve got a full free beginner’s course and loads of easy songs to take you from being an absolute beginner up to having a massive repertoire full of songs that you’d be proud to play in front of your friends.