Learning from a variety of people can be great…
…But be aware of the advice others give to you.
It’s worth casting a sceptical eye on what people tell you.
Over the years, I’ve heard many horror stories from unsuspecting guitarists who assumed their teacher or guitar-playing friend/family members had some good advice for them
Here are a few examples of seemingly harmless advice which can be damaging:
#1 – “You can’t play it like that”
I once taught a student whose son also played the guitar.
After a few months of really good lessons, she came to me one day a little confused.
She told me her son, who was a pretty good player, told her that the way she was learning a G chord was wrong.
This naturally led her to feel a little confused.
What he didn’t tell her was that there are multiple ways to play a G chord (and any chord for that matter).
I reminded her of this fact.
Remember, there are multiple ways to play any chord, and on the guitar, with it being a versatile instrument, there are lots of ways to play most things.
Some people think that because they learnt something one way, that is how you should learn too.
That’s wrong and that can cause confusion.
There’s always more than one way to “skin a cat” as they say.
#2 – “The classical position doesn’t look cool”
I’ve heard two of the most popular guitar tutors on YouTube mock the classical guitar position over the years.
One said it doesn’t “look cool”.
The other laughed when talking about how dorky it looks (in his opinion).
Well, both are otherwise likeable characters and decent teachers, so it was a surprise to see them as close-minded as this.
The classical position has many benefits which outweigh looking “cool”.
It is not a position everyone likes (especially if you’ve played the “other” way for a long time).
…But it certainly shouldn’t be dismissed.
One of the key things for being a successful student of the guitar is having good “Core Fundamental Technique” (which makes playing less painful and much smoother).
The classical position can go a huge way to helping with this, and it can look cool.
I mean, your fingers flying around the fretboard effortlessly does look cool – and the classical position can make playing like this a fair bit easier!
#3 – “You have to learn lots of scales”
Another student of mine called Laura wanted to learn some strumming and fingerpicking tunes.
She had little interest in lead guitar.
Her previous teacher gave her multiple scales to learn quite early on.
He told her she needed to learn these scales and had to practise them, but he didn’t explain why.
So, she spent months learning them, and she politely asked him multiple times to show her how to play some songs.
In the end, she quit for a while and then came to me for lessons (naturally she had forgotten how to play those scales in that time).
It was like starting again for her, but this time I made sure she had fun, and I slotted in the technical stuff in more subtle ways while keeping it relevant.
I’m not saying don’t learn scales.
They are useful, of course, but there is a pecking order of things you should learn which depends on your goals.
Some people totally forget that.
If you want to play songs and have little interest in lead guitar, then learning lots of scales is an odd thing to do.
There’s plenty of other more relevant stuff to learn, and you can get a lot of mileage from just one scale in the early days anyway.
Definitely worth keeping that in mind.
Everyone has an opinion on how best to learn the guitar.
Yet most people will give you advice on learning guitar based upon how they learnt guitar.
…And as most people spend far too much time using “trial and error” trying to work out how to play, their advice isn’t always good advice.
If your teacher isn’t willing to teach you what you want to learn, then run for the hills.
Be polite, but stick to your guns, and go down the path you want to go down.
…And if you want a confidence-building way to learn and improve your playing…
…Not just for today but in the long term, then the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy is, in my opinion, that place.
It’s a clear plan, but one of the perks is that you get advice from me as and when you need it, and I always make sure that advice is open-minded and tailor-made for you.
Have a great day of practice…
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.