How hard is it to learn guitar? While the question is obviously a subjective one, all the same let’s begin with a short and sweet answer to this: Learning guitar is hard and it is fun.
In fact, some people may go further and say, the harder it is the more fun it is! After all, if it was all too easy, what would be the big deal about it, right?
Well, that’s all good, but to come down to a more pragmatic level (and a less rhetorical one), the answer to the query how difficult it is playing the guitar will depend on a few factors: your goal as a guitar player, your level of motivation, the resources you use, the time and effort you put into it and whether or not you go about it in the right manner.
Let us break these down further.
Why do you want to learn guitar? Or, what it is you want to achieve with your guitar playing?
Are you eyeing a career in guitar playing? If such is the case, of course you’ll have to work pretty hard, pretty consistently. Or do you want to pursue it as a hobby or a leisure activity? Like maybe you just want to play it well enough so you can use it as an accompaniment to your singing? If that is what you want, the difficulty level obviously comes down pretty drastically.
Using the right resources (the teacher, the right instrument, method) from the very onset of your guitar-playing career will help a great deal in making the task easier for you and we’ll discuss this in more detail in a minute.
No matter what your goal is and what resources you use, as a guitar beginner at least, you’ll have to put in a good bit of practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean five or eight hours a day (of course, if you can do that, that’s great!). But whatever time you have at your disposal, you must make sure to stick to a set daily (or weekly) schedule. And while you practice, try to stay RELAXED and FOCUSED, and this will help you gain so much more from the time you spend on developing and further honing your new guitar skill.
This may sound like a truism. Nonetheless, the necessity to stay motivated all along the different phases of your guitar learning journey cannot be overstated. Often the learning process (various drills, etc.) will come across as so many tiresome chores; there will be obstacles, momentary frustrations, apparent blocks or dead-ends when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau. However, if you can find ways to stay motivated (or even better, INSPIRED), you’ll overcome those moments without too much difficulties.
Tips to Make Your Guitar Journey a Smooth One
Now, most of the above points we’ve made will apply not only to learning guitar, but to pretty much all musical instruments. So, now’s a good time to be more specific about Guitar Learning as such.
One great thing about guitar is its pliability. The instrument lends itself to such varying styles of music and musical genres and this fact alone counts for its extreme popularity. Think about it, you may already have a good many friends who also play guitar. But exactly how many of your friends or acquaintances play or practice instruments such as violin or piano? Not too many, in all likelihood!
This is actually one great thing about learning guitar—that you have far more opportunities to share your experiences with others, way more than if you learned any other instrument. This helps you get valuable feedback; it also goads you on to improve your skills (motivation, you see?); and most important of all perhaps, it makes you feel part of a living community.
This huge popularity of the instrument also means you have access to great deal of learning resources—this includes individual teachers, guitar academies, online classes as well as learning materials such as tablatures for popular songs, software programs specially designed for guitar learning, etc.
However, PLEASE NOTE here that having access to too many resources can actually also ruin the party for you. So, you must take proper precautions as to what resources to use and what to stay clear of.
For example, those scores of Youtube video lessons (to cite but one). Many newbie guitarists feel tempted to ‘self-learn’ with the help of these guitar lessons. Now, there may be people who disagree with this, but we firmly believe that choosing to go this way can be greatly detrimental to your guitar learning career. You learn in bits and chunks and all in a rudimentary fashion and in the end, it all proves a gigantic waste of time!
Instead, our suggestion is (and we are certain that almost all serious musicians will concur with this) that you find a good teacher first of all. No matter whether you take one-to-one lessons, learn in a group or enroll in an online courses, having a teacher on whom you have enough faith is highly important.
With a good teacher who will make you follow a holistic approach towards learning the instrument, you’ll be able to build a strong and solid foundation. And it is upon this strong foundation that you’ll build the subsequent phases of your guitar journey.
We had earlier mentioned the importance of practice. However, note that while there is no substitute to practising, and practising hard, it is just as important to practice CORRECTLY. As one reputed guitar teacher puts it, if you learn the right way, then you can cut down your learning and practising time by at least half!
And a teacher can help you choose the right instrument (extremely important for any beginner); adopt the right body postures (how to hold the guitar properly, where and how to place your freight hand and your strumming hand, elbow position, and so on); learn strumming, picking and other basic techniques the RIGHT WAY from the very start. And it is these very things that will make your guitar learning easier.
On the other hand, incorrect postures and techniques will only lead to frustration and a huge waste of time. Moreover, the longer you continue with those incorrect forms, the longer it will take you to unlearn them.
So, to come back to our initial question: yes, learning guitar may be hard (or not, depending on how you look at it), but as long you learn it the right way and are able to enjoy the process, it is worth all your effort and perseverance.
The bottomline: stay Sincere, Relaxed and Focused and you’ll be able to reap rich rewards for all your guitar playing toil.