This is yet another one of the many popular questions I get all the time: Is it hard to learn the guitar, or alternatively, how hard is it to learn the guitar? Of course, as always, it’s a matter of how you look at things. In addition to that, there is a whole set of factors that contribute to give an answer to this question. While other guitarists may disagree, I’m inclined to give this response: Learning to play the guitar is probably harder than you think it is. The reason why I’m saying this based on my observations from a guitar player’s and guitar teacher’s perspective. I can think of many friends and relatives who at some point had interest to learn how to play, but quickly gave up after they realized that it requires actual work – or in the context of learning how to play the guitar, I should use the more adequate term “PRACTICE”. Also, looking back at the students I taught, I think it’s fair to say that most of them underestimated the situation and sooner or later encountered major challenges. My job as a teacher was it to get them over these hurdles, because the fact of the matter is, things get easier if you stick to it.
How hard is it to learn to play the guitar?
You need to have the right mindset and realistic expectations if you plan on learning how to play the guitar. Like learning a new language it doesn’t happen over night. It is a process and dependent on your level of commitment and the effort you are willing to put in. The more time and focus you dedicate to your new endeavor the faster you will learn. There is no easy way out. I know there are many advertisers out there who make promises such as “Learn how to play guitar in four weeks”, etc. It is not my intention to critique or badmouth other people’s products, however, I think you need to approach these offers with a healthy amount of caution. In my opinion, learning to play an instrument requires dedication and commitment, and the only way to make things “easier” is by actually investing more time and effort. In blunt terms, if you are not willing to spend a certain amount of time practicing your guitar, it is probably not even worth starting the process in the first place.
How much practice do I need?
It is a matter of fact that people learn things at a different pace. I once had a student who was close to eighty years old. She had the right mindset and was eager to learn. While she made steady progress, it took her much longer to get from point A to B when compared to my other students. Like the one guy I taught, who had the luxury of having plenty of time at his disposal, realistic expectations, excellent hearing and a good portion of talent for the guitar in general. I was really challenged to make sure that he didn’t get bored.
But if you would ask me for a general rule of thumb, a minimum amount of effort I would expect from a beginner, I usually say: 20-30 minutes, for days a week. Now again, we are talking about the bare minimum here. In addition to that, while you practice, you must stay focused on the task and not be busy on Facebook, your cell or watching TV. If you want to learn to play the guitar quickly, or I should say reasonably fast, then you need to practice with focus and rigor.
Is it hard to learn guitar?
When people ask me “How hard is it to learn the guitar?”, I always tell them that it really depends on what they are willing to commit to. Yes, as I just described, some people are more talented than others, however, I know for a fact that talent is not the most important factor when it comes to learning guitar. I think most guitarist would agree with me that you can absolutely compensate a lack of talent with dedication and practice. For instance, I know that I am not talented; I had to work harder than many of my friends who also play and to whom the whole thing came so much easier.
Is is hard to learn guitar by yourself?
For most people, I would say the answer is “Yes”. Because in my experience, the vast majority of people that I know learn much better if given guidance by a teacher of following a program/course vs. just trying to figure things out by yourself. I’m not saying that this is impossible. But it is definitely harder and requires an additional amount of effort, because you won’t have the benefit of someone helping you navigating through the learning process. Most people though do need that in order to make meaningful progress in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise they get discouraged and give up.
You may want to check out this article I wrote on going about evaluating the best method to learn guitar. Which, of course, strongly depends on your individual situation (money, schedule, etc.) and preferred learning method.
So, my usual response to someone asking whether it is hard to learn guitar own your own is to rather take advantage of a Free Beginners Guitar Course. Just make sure it’s really free and not just an offer to lure you in just to find out that it’s actually not free. For instance, check out my absolutely free beginners course below. There’s no money involved, no membership, no email sign-up.
In sum, you will have to find it out for yourself. Why don’t you do the following: if you don’t own your own guitar, borrow one from a friend of relative. Maybe he or she can show you a couple of things and then just give it a try. Alternatively, take an authentic and professional guitar course for beginners with an experienced teacher who will help you getting started and show you how to get over all these little hurdles you will encounter when you start your guitar journey. And keep in mind what I said in the video: Learning guitar is not hard – or it doesn’t have to be hard – if you are committed to put in a consistent amount of effort and don’t expect unrealistic offers such as “Learn To Play Guitar In 2 Days” to be true.
I you have any questions, I’m here to help you – just send me an email through the contact form.