Common Beginner Problems & How To Fix Them

As a beginner guitarist you will encounter several common problems in your playing. These problems are faced by virtually everybody when they first start out so there is no need to worry or get frustrated. Most of these problems will naturally disappear over time as your fingers become more dexterous and attuned to guitar playing however, by being aware of what these common problems are and consciously practicing to remedy them, you can become a much better guitar playing in a
much shorter amount of time.

We’ve compiled a list of the 9 most common problems faced by all beginner guitar players with a comprehensive step by step guide to help you identify and solve the problems. You can download this guide on Common Beginner Guitar Problems and How to Fix Them for free here. This article will explore the three
most common problems we see beginners face.

The most important thing when it comes to solving problems is to first become aware of them. When you are a beginner your full attention is so focussed on getting yoru fingers in the right spot that you don’t always listen to what is going on. A great way to identify problems is to record yourself playing on your phone and then listen or watch back while trying to identify mistakes. Once you are aware that you are making a mistake, you can identify what is the cause and then start trying to fix it.

Beginner Guitarist Problem # 1 – Frets are buzzing when I play single notes.

This is the most common beginner guitar problem. Buzzing frets are caused by the following:

  1. You are not squeezing the string hard enough. (likely)
  2. You are not pressing close enough to the fret. (likely)
  3. The strings are too low and are touching other frets on the guitar. (likely if you have a low quality instrument)

The Solution

Having a your hand in the right position and using good technique is most likely to fix the first two problems. Make sure you are using the ‘can of coke’ grip with your thumb low behind the neck and your fingers curved so only the tip is pressing down the string right behind the fret. This will result in a clearer sound without having to exert too much pressure.

If you are doing everything right but are still getting a buzzing sound it may be due to your guitar needing a service. Either there is a raised fret touching the string at the wrong place on the neck or action is so low that you’re getting dead spots on the guitar. Brand new guitars rarely have this problem but if you’ve sourced a second hand guitar that’s been in a garage for 20 years or cheap instrument off of eBay your guitar may be in need of some TLC. If this is the problem take your guitar to a technician so that they can service it and fix the problem.

Beginner Guitarist Problem # 2 – Frets are buzzing when I play chords.

This is another common beginner guitar problem and one that will generally persist for the longest. Buzzing frets with chords are caused by the following:

  1. You are not squeezing the string hard enough.
  2. You are not pressing close enough to the fret.
  3. One of your fingers is accidentally touching the string below it and is muting the sound (most likely)

The Solution

As with our buzzing frets the first two problems can be fixed just by having the right hand grip and finger position. The 3rd problem which is the most likely whenever playing chords that use more than one finger, requires some specific attention to solve.

As you play the chord, instead of strumming, pluck the string individually one by one so you can hear which string isn’t ringing out. You may notice that your fingers aren’t near the frets and need to be moved or an awkward stretch is making it hard to squeeze with the right pressure. If the finger above is accidentally touching the string, you will need to bring your wrist forward and further curve your fingers so that you are only using the tip and are not touching either of the strings either side

Beginner Guitarist Problem # 3 – There Are Big Pauses Between Chords When I Play Songs

This problem is the one that causes the most frustration for students because you know how something should sound in your head but can’t get it to translate to the guitar. Fortunately you can solve relatively easily just by changing the way you practice.

The Solution

My first recommendation for solving this problem is to use simple 3 string triad voicings which use less fingers and require less co-ordination than traditional guitar chords. Going straight to open chords is like going to the gym for the first time and loading up the weights heavier than you are ready to lift. Download my guide to Beginner Guitar Chords here for some easier voicings

The second part of the solution comes from the way you practice. Most people strum the chord a few times, pause to change, and then strum the new chord before pausing again to change. Every time you pause to change you build this pause into your playing. The correct way to practice is to keep strumming no matter what so that you force your fretting hand to change quickly. Eventually the quick change will become muscle memory.

What To Do Next?

So now that you know how to identify the 3 most common beginner guitar problems you look to see how many of these are present in your playing and start fixing them. You can get a more comprehensive list of problems and solutions in my free Common Beginner Guitar Problems eBook. Of course if you’re looking for Guitar Lessons In Melbourneyou can always book a free lesson with me and I can help you fix the problems in person.

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