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I always hear guitarists saying don't start playing with bad habits..
To me there are no bad habits.
Maybe Jimi Hendrix didn't start out playing behind his back or with his teeth, but
what is a bad habit?
Touching the guitar body with your strumming hand fingers for stability while picking has been referred to as a bad habit.  But I can play just as good doing that as without.

What do you concider a bad habit?

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When I took lessons from the late Jack McGann, he immediately pointed out incorrect fingerings like playing a G chord without using my pinky. I was reluctant to change what I had been doing for years, but very quickly learned he was right. You need correct fingering to play those licks.
hey ed jack was very right about proper fingering........if u dont start using a proper fingering technique it makes more difficult chords to play later on was u get better
Hunching over your guitar like Quasimoto for hours on end is a bad habit. My back tells me this after years of practicing this way. My certainty of this comes from taking measures to correct my bad posture which have included a custom stool which is adjusted to my exact specs and a neck up which will hold my guitar up to a level where I can do most of my playing without causing undue stress to back, shoulders, neck, wrists and fingers. Guitar playing should not ever hurt, unless of course that what you are going for.
This spot isnt big enough to list them all, but the biggest bad habit is not taking proper lessons and trying to learn on your own you develope some seriously bad mistakes that you have no idea you are making.And no Jimi didn't start off playing behind his back he learnt the old fashion way by playing for many different type players and mastering his tool of his trade and practising till it came out right every time he picked up his guitar.ship
Ship, you're probably right, but when I started playing back in '49, there was only one boy in the whole area that could pay the guitar. He asked me to learn to play with him teaching me. Learned some wrong ways, but learned a bunch of good stuff to. Proper lessons are better but when push comes to shove you learn the best way you can.
In regards to placing the the right hand fingers on the guitar body, it's generally considered a bad habit because it throws off the hand's balance and usually leads to tension in the hand, which limits your technique. This is why you don't see classical guitarists doing it.

But as with any "bad habit" you can still play and make great music while still doing it...and many people do. Still doesn't make it a good habit though :)
The only reason I can thin of that bracing your picking hand against the body of the guitar would be a bad habit is possibly damping the top's vibrations. It never occurred to me to do this so It's a habit, good or bad, that I've never developed.
One bad habit is not relaxing your fingers, hands and wrists enough while playing. Eventually this will hamper your progress on the guitar. Learning correct technique, like finger positioning as discussed by other posters, is very important. Technique is essentially a habit that you should make your highest priority when playing the guitar, especially when you're a beginner. When you first start out, learning correct technique like finger relaxation and proper positioning should be your highest priority as it enables you to progress a lot better in the long term.

Here is a link that describes what I'm talking about in more detail:

Hope this helps,
I agree with the relaxing your fingers and hands. I don't agree with finger positioning tho. I think for example if you use your third finger in place of your fourth is not a bad habit. Just a preference. But, properly placing the finger on a string is important.
hey steve hows life................the one thing about proper fingering techniques is that when chords or licks become more difficult the longer u play.your hands know automatically where to go and the dont stumble around like a drunk trying to find his next beer.............................take care and have a good day
I'd say anything that is likely to cause you pain and/or injury. Tendinitis is no fun....Neither is carpal tunnel. Learning the proper "embrochure" will help eliminate such problems.

As to "bad" technique... You can go on and on. Many very famous and very wealthy musicians who have recorded the great hits of our generation have "poor" technique. Poor position, inefficient picking technique, bad fingerings.... You gonna go up and tell Clapton or Santana that they're doing it all wrong?
(Related quote from bicycling..."I now know so much about cycling that I can tell all those people who pass me are doing it all wrong...")

Still, if you start out doing things right from the get-go, you'll likely be a more efficient and injury-free picker down the line.
My philosophy with most things is that if you are achieving what you want, then there is no bad habit. Everyone will have ideas and input on what constitutes a bad habit, but I would consider that there are no universal bad habits. What may be bad for one person might be good for you, and vice-versa. A good musician example is Dizzy Gillespie, one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. He has the "bad habit" of puffing his cheeks out when he blows into the trumpet. Seems to work just fine for him, in my opinion.


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