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Common Bad Habits...

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(@clazon)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
Topic starter  

As commited as I am to the guitar, I just haven't been able to afford hiring a guitar teacher. Besides, I don't really like the idea of a hobby becoming a lesson beyond what I research myself. But there is one thing that worries me, having never had a teacher looking over me, I haven't had an bad habits corrected.

So if you could list some that you've come across or know of, then that'd be very helpful.

:wink:

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@total-13)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 50
 

i dont beleive in 'bad habits' as such I think any such things personalise your own playing style! why copy someone else style? music is an artform not a set of flatpack furniture instructions.

thats what i tell myself anyway ;)

Epiphone LP Standard trn blue ltd edition
fender squire strat (heavily modified and re painted with WOA festival logo)
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digtech RP3.


   
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(@clazon)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
Topic starter  

Haha.

I think that there are some "bad habits" that hinder your playing, though, which are obviously good to get rid of. Seeing as I'm almost starting a fresh for technique, I thought it'd be good to lay the foundation nice and solid so it's easier to build upon.

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@artlutherie)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1157
 

One man's bad habits are another man's style 8)

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!
ChuckNorrisFactsdotCom


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

I can only give you personal experience. I have been seeing the same teacher off and on, mostly on, for a little over a year. There are alot of times that he will correct a certain bad technique but he almost always states that it "might be better" if I do it his way and implies that it might be better to just keep doing it the way I am.

I guess I am saying that I dont think it is an exact science. Sometimes I use his way and it feels so much better. Other times I keep on doing what I am because its more comfortable.

I do prefer learning with an instructor but you have to shop around for the RIGHT instructor. I've had a few others and my experience with them was really bad.

Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@jimmy_kwtx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 115
 

In all my years of teaching/helping the most common "bad habit" is fret hand thumb placement.

We all start by wanting to hook the thumb over the neck. Over time this becomes a non-issue and can even help you play bass rhythms.

But when learning/beginning it can be a nasty habit that can hinder your basic chord playing and scales and can lead to decreased finger strentgh that can keep you from bending strings properly and --I hate to say this but--Your speed will be slow to develop.

Alot of players you know who have taken lessons can help by showing you the proer placement of your thumb (they were told so many times it made them sick I am sure).

Also look into proper posture when sitting or standing. It is trivial but you may be tiring yourself out quicker with out knowing it.

Thats my 2 cents.


   
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(@clazon)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
Topic starter  

Interesting.

Got any links to posture position?

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@jimmy_kwtx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 115
 

Unfortunately I do not have links handy that show Posture Position's (I could do a search and list them later).

But the best thing to do would be go to your local library, or music store and look at all of the beginner guitar books.

They usually have pictures at the front that show the "correct" postures and even thumb placement.

Things to remember:

This is one of those things that it is more helpful to have some one show the different ways to hold your guitar,

keeping your elbow towards your body and not away from your body.
Don't "wrap" yourself around your guitar.
Pick from the wrist not the arm/elbow.
Keep your back straight. Try raising your "body" foot (this is the leg that the body of the guitar rests on) using a foot rest or old phone books. If you are hunching over your guitar this can cause stress.
Keep the guitar level/parralell to the ground. Don't have the next at an upward or downward angle.
Raise your music to eye level when sitting down this will help keep your back and body straight.

The list goes on and on and on!!!!!

I strongly recommend finding a guitar teacher that you can go to at least for 4-6 lessons and have him show you these things.

When it comes to picking the instuctor--if this is something you choose--ask about him from his students. Tell him exactly what you want to learn from him not what he wants to teach you. YOU ARE PAYING FOR THESE LESSONS AND you should get exactly what you pay/want from them.

You may end up contunuing or get the information you wanted and hopefully some extras thrown in.

I haven't searched this entire forum but i'm sure that someone has possibly posted pics or it is mentioned in the lessons pages of the site.

Good Luck and Rock on!


   
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(@jimmy_kwtx)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 115

   
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(@clazon)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
Topic starter  

Thanks very much, you've been a great help.

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Gosh, that's a broad question. I could probably write a whole book on this topic. Off the top of my head, these are some things that I constantly correct for students:

- posture
- neck angle
- body angle (many beginners tip the guitar so they can see their fingers)
- thumb placement
- resting the neck on the palm of the hand
- pick position (anchoring at the bridge or with the pinky limits the tone; it's ok if you can move, I guess, but staying at the bridge makes you pretty 'twangy')
- finger angle... knuckles either collapsing, deadening the next higher string, or coming in from above - common on the 234 G fingering, which can make the high E slip under the nail
- finger position; too high or low on the string (deadening another string) or too far back from the fret
-sloppy timing... eighths that always sound like broken triplets, triplets that become dotted eighth/sixteeth, etc.
- moving the fingers too far from the fretboard
- moving the pick or picking fingers too far from the strings
- holding the pick too far back (this works for Pat Metheny, but probably nobody else)
- too much finger pressure
- bending strings inadvertantly, especially in chords
- inefficient chord changes (lifting fingers that don't need to move, etc.)
- inaccurate bends
- inaccurate damping... most commonly, cutting off notes that should ring, especially in cross-picked pieces, or playing everything slightly staccato in lead lines
- bad elbow/wrist position, limiting range

I'm sure if I thought about it for a while I could add a hundred more items. Everyone is built a little differently, too... so what works physically for some students doesn't work for others. That's why you'll see some people with 'bad' technique (Hendrix, Clapton, Metheny etc) who aren't hampered by it at all - and lots of folks who emulate them who are!

I've got one student who has great position, but last week we started working on a fingerpicking tune that didn't sound right. There aren't any visibly obvious flaws, but it's clearly a technique problem, so we're methodically diagnosing it through different exercises that bring out certain facets of technique. It's hampered by the fact that she's been playing a while (more than 10 years), so whatever the root cause is, she's found ways to compensate that work for most songs. We'll get to the bottom of it, though :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@ghost-rider)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 267
 

Another bad habit, that I find myself doing is holding my breath during difficult passages, or parts of a song. It's something I have to be constantly aware of. Probably, if I practiced singing concurrently with playing, this would help. :)

Ghost 8)

"Colour made the grass less green..." 3000 miles, Tracy Chapman


   
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(@jimmy_kwtx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 115
 

I beg to differ on the holding your breath. This is a common technique used for phrasing while playing. I would consider that a good habit :P


   
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(@thectrain)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 126
 

Biggest bad habit for me is getting tense. As soon as I remember to relax I can play the hard passages, if I forget I struggle. Its something I am always working on I hope someday it sticks.


   
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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

My biggest bad habit is rest my arm on the body. The shape my guitar is (Explorer) makes it easy and comfortable to do that.


   
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