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If You've Picked Up Bad Habits Learning To Play The Guitar, Here's How To Undo Them

Dec 13, 2007
If you've picked up bad habits when you've learned how to play the guitar (most likely informally rather than through formal lessons), they can be detrimental to your playing and sometimes can bother listeners as well. However, you can easily undo them once you know you have them and learn how to play the guitar properly. Here are some easy things you can do that will help you to relearn good habits when you play the guitar.

First, you have to realize what your bad habits are. This will help you determine what might be causing you difficulty when you play the guitar.

Second, you should stop playing music (at least temporarily) where they always show up, such as in bad picking habits, for example. It may help you to go all the way back to basic guitar playing, as though you were just learning. Even though it may take several months to remove them, you can do this by going all the way back to your foundations and practicing correctly. Once you do this, it's easy to learn how to play properly.

Third, once you realize that you've developed bad habits, try to determine exactly how you got them. Once you do this, it's relatively easy to learn the proper way to do something.

Fourth, if you've picked up bad habits for a particular reason, it can help to know exactly why you did this. Once you know, it's much easier to undo them. You can then relearn proper habits and once again enjoy playing the guitar.

Fifth, once you've relearn proper habits, make sure you always practice them when you play. It may seem strange or unnatural to do this at first, but as you become used to your new habits, they will become as much a habit as your previously improper playing techniques were before.

If you're consistent with the above steps, you will be rid of any bad habits very shortly. Once these new habits are as much second nature to you as your previously "bad" habits were, you can go back to playing the songs you temporarily stopped playing when you were relearning your new habits. You'll see that you consistently practice your new habits even with these songs that were previously rife with bad habits.

Even though it may be a bit of a struggle at first, it's relatively easy to change them into good ones. Most people say that it takes roughly 30 days of practicing a new behavior before you supplant the old one. Therefore, it's not so much a matter of getting rid of bad habits as it is simply replacing them with good ones. Once you learn to play the guitar with proper technique, you will no longer have these bad habits. New guitar players need never have them in the first place if proper technique is used right from the start.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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