How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar?

How hard is it to learn guitar? This is a question that many beginners ask, however it often isn’t answered. In this epic guide we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the joys of learning the guitar.

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How Hard Is It to Learn Guitar?

When master guitarists talk about their learning process, they often speak of the time spent tirelessly practicing the same pieces of music over and over again. 

  • When we ask others “how hard is it to learn guitar?” they may often tell us that it is as easy or as difficult as you make it.
  • To be clear – all of that is true, but it’s far less terrifying than you think.

To start, let’s instead pose the question of “where do I want my guitar journey to begin? .

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The adventure that is learning a musical instrument is one that is filled from top to bottom with beautiful moments of clarity, triumph and self-analysis – not to mention the constant ‘lightbulb moments’ you will encounter every step of the way.

Let’s have a look at some of the principles of learning guitar that will help enhance our learning curve.

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The Basic Principles of Learning

Ask any famed musician the question of “how hard is it to learn guitar?” and they will usually tell you that if you want to make it easier on yourself, you should understand the basic principles of learning first.

There are many ways to break this down, but here are some essential elements that we recommend looking at when you start learning:

  • Practice.
  • Guitar Anatomy.
  • Chords.
  • Strumming.
  • Frequency.
  • Listening.
  • Theory.
  • Community.
  • Teachers.
  • Patience.

Each one of these components serves its own purpose when it comes to breaking down our learning process.

Let’s dive deep into the components listed above.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Start with Good Practice

NFL Coach Vince Lombardi once said “Practice does not make perfect – Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

  • In the context of American Football, he may have been right.
  • Where music is concerned however, he was only half right.
  • In sports, there are specific plays that can help achieve specific outcomes in the game itself. Pairing those plays with strategy helps lead a team to victory.

In music, we have a variety of approaches that can help us achieve a similar outcome.

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Skill Tip: One of the best things that we can do to respond to the question of ‘how hard is it to learn guitar’ is to develop a practice routine that helps us work on the things we want to work on.

Every guitarist’s journey is different, but a solid practice regime is the thing that brings all great players together and builds the most confidence.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Understanding Anatomy

Playing the guitar is only one component of learning the instrument.

  • Understanding and answering the question of “hard is it to learn guitar” takes a deeper understanding of the instrument itself and how it’s made up.
  • Knowing and identifying the individual parts of the guitar can help us greatly when something goes wrong.
  • It’s awesome to know how to play tons of songs, but what do you do when you break a string?

Learning things like how to string a guitar and how to call the individual parts by their names will help us take better care of our new favorite instrument.

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Knowing the parts of the guitar helps us take care of it, but having a well-functioning guitar helps us learn and play better.

If you want to know more about how to find the right guitar for you, click here for our article on the best beginner guitars.

How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Learning Guitar Chords

One of two major foundations of music, chords help to lay the groundwork for every great song ever written.

Chords teach us what lies beneath all of our favorite songs and help us train our ears more efficiently.

Chords are the foundation of 90% of all guitar music, this crucial concept provides ourselves with a solid foundation to work from.

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Learning chords early on in your guitar journey will not only help train your ears, but it will help you understand how guitar riffs and chords can interact with one another.

Chords give us a great base to practice another key element of our guitar education: strumming.

How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar –  Learning How To Strum

Chords can provide a great understanding of how music can function, but without strumming and rhythm, they do little more than sound pretty on their own.

Strumming is driven by rhythm and a sense of timing. There are a thousand ways that we can approach strumming a guitar, but we need to start slow in order to build this skill.

Rhythm Tip!

When learning how to play rhythm guitar, one of the best things you can do for your guitar playing is to watch Youtube videos of other guitarists. Watch their picking hand closely and see how smooth it is!

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To tackle the question of “how hard is it to learn guitar”, when it comes to rhythm guitar, a great way to start is to strum our favourite chord up and down equally.

  • Try to maintain a consistent pick attack, and start out softly.
  • We want to focus on consistency and develop a rhythmic “flow” with an even and clear sound.

If you’d like to learn more about strumming, go here: How To Strum A Guitar

Skill Tip: Don’t know what chord to start on? We’ve got some fun and easy ones for you here.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Creating a Regular Practice Routine

There’s a saying that floats around the music world: “Your playing will always show how often you practice”

  • Practice by itself doesn’t make a musician great – we have to practice well and often to hone our skills.
  • When we make a point to practice often, we leave our brains open to deeper analysis of what we are playing and what we can do to play better.
  • One of the best things that you can do (at any skill level) is to set a practice routine for yourself.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to practice for five hours a day every day.

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What you should do is put away a set amount of time each day (or each week, depending on your schedule) to do nothing but practice.

Keeping a journal that logs what we’ve practiced will help give us a better perspective of what to work on.

Not only does routine practice make us a better player, it also gives us the benefit of solitude and alone-time, which is highly beneficial for the brain and results in better defense against mental ailments further on in life.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Develop Your Listening Skills

Practice is definitely one of the most key elements in conquering the guitar, but so is listening.

  • No matter how skilled we become, listening to our favorite guitarists and musicians tear it up will never cease to inspire us and teach us new concepts and skills.
  • Where learning is concerned, try not to limit yourself to only listening to guitarists.
  • Some of the most innovative approaches to guitar come from listening to other players and their respective instruments.

For example, electric guitar champion Donna Grantis (Prince/3rd Eye Girl/The Donna Grantis Electric Band) cites jazz trumpet master Miles Davis as a huge influence over her playing.

 

If you really want to conquer the question of ‘how hard is it to learn guitar?’, start by putting on your favorite record.

How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Learn Music Theory

When we pose the question “how hard is it to learn guitar?” many players can tend to see music theory as the biggest threat to their progress.

Music theory doesn’t have to be terrifying, though.

In fact, it can help us make more sense of the concepts that we learn rather than just practicing and playing them.

Theory is the glue that holds musical concepts together.

When you see a guitarist play a piece of classical piano music, it is the knowledge of music theory (and a well-trained ear) that helps the player transcribe the music from one instrument to another.

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Music theory is our unifying language, and it is what will help you communicate with every other musician you ever meet.

This isn’t to say that you must learn music theory to be a great player – this isn’t true at all.

Many famed musicians old and new have never read a piece of sheet music in their life.

  • For a guitarist that uses theory in his songwriting, listen to Plini here.
  • For a guitarist that doesn’t use theory in his songwriting, listen to Jimi Hendrix.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Find Your Community

Although we as guitarists are likely to spend the majority of our time in our rooms practicing, the experience of learning guitar doesn’t need to be had alone.

In fact, it shouldn’t be.

  • Injecting yourself into the guitar community (both locally and online) is a great way to advance your learning and make some new friends!
  • Open mics and local guitar jams are great ways to get involved with people in person.

Although learning from your peers online is amazing, the feeling of jamming with other people is unique to itself.

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Surround yourself with the musicians that inspire you, and don’t let negative self-criticism get in the way of associating with those that are better than you.

  • Negative self-talk is one of the greatest motivation-killers, and something every musician deals with.
  • It’s very easy to become self-conscious of our skill set when hanging out with players that are further along than us, but always remember: everybody started where you are now.
  • If you’re looking for a good place to start with online communities, head over to Reddit’s guitar forum (here).

They have a pinned post at the top called “No Stupid Questions” where you can ask any question you want and (often) get informed, logical answers.

Stay confident, stay curious, and always ask questions.

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Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

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How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – The Importance of a Good Teacher

One of the best resources we can invest in is one-on-one lessons.

  • When we are trying to conquer the question of “how hard is it to learn guitar?”, a teacher can help guide us through the initial darkness and shed plenty of light.
  • Many instructors offer lessons online as well as in person, making it easier for many aspiring guitarists to chase their passion.

Online articles and YouTube videos are great resources to help get us on the right track, but teachers can create lessons that are tailored to our strengths and weaknesses.

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Developing a personal relationship with a musician that plays above your level also helps maintain a constant level of inspiration and excitement.

Learning how to play any instrument is a challenging process, but surrounding yourself with talented musicians is one of the keys to constantly moving forward.

How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar – Patience Is A Virtue

We’ve all heard the saying, and we all know that it’s true.

  • The burning question that we have been asking has to be answered using many of these principles of learning – but patience is the most necessary component.
  • Taking the time to study and be with ourselves is not only crucial for learning, but for our mental health.

Patience doesn’t just answer our question of “how hard is it to learn guitar,” it answers many others as well. This is a skill that is developed through musical study, but benefits every part of our life.

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With patience we can see deeper into our learning and our passion, and it gives us the ability to hone in on components of our practice that need work.

The best thing that you can do is to take the time to get to know your instrument well.

Not only will you find yourself shredding up a storm in no time, but you might also find a sense of calm and peace in the process. That kind of thing can take you far.

Don’t be afraid to put a little zen in your practice regimen.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Feeling confident and ready to move forward? Good!

Here are some other ways to keep pushing forward on your musical adventures.

  • Don’t commit to the first guitar teacher you meet. Having the right connection is important.
  • Buy yourself some books to study with. Your local music store will have a great selection.
  • Go to concerts often and stay inspired.
  • Socialize online and meet new musicians to compare notes with.
  • Watch Youtube videos of your favorite musicians talking about their approach to their instrument.

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