The Hardest Part Of Learning To Play Guitar Is the Beginning

by Maurice Richard
Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons

Unfortunately, guitar is not the easiest instrument to learn to play and the most difficult part is the beginning. You may have tried it before and struggled with it. You would not be alone.

Most people try and struggle to learn guitar and many quit because they think they it should come easy and the logical conclusion is they do not have the knack or the talent for it so can’t learn to play.

Half of that is true. You may not have the knack for it and it may not come easily or naturally but that does not mean you can’t learn to play guitar.

It certainly did not come naturally to me and to be honest it was very difficult but I managed to overcome that and learn anyway. Most of my students are in a similar boat.

So, do not sell yourself short. Chances are you can be successful if you know what to do.

hardest part of guitar is beginning

What Makes It So Hard?

When you first start to learn to play guitar you have to learn several new skills and integrate them all at the same time.

Unlike some other instruments like the piano where you can get around with one finger in the beginning, you need both hands to work together right away.

If that is not enough you have to be able to stretch your hand in an awkward and unusual way as you reach around the guitar neck to fret notes and play chords.

Then you have to place your fingertips on tiny strings in tiny frets and coordinate them. That requires fine motor skills you have not likely developed yet. I know I hadn’t!

Then to make music you have to change from one position to another and strum at the same time. It’s a lot and can be difficult for most people.

Why Do Some People Get It So Easily?

Good question! Why do some people seem to get it so easily? And why can’t you be one of them right?

My wife and my eldest son are those types of people. I’ve also taught a few students who got it quickly.

It did not come easily for me or my guitar teacher though. And it does not come easy for the vast majority of people who learn to play guitar.

I have a theory on why some people get it easier than others. I don’t have any science to back it up and is based on informal surveys with my students.

So far it seems that the people who are quick learners all have a good ear already and they developed it by listening to music differently than the rest of us.

The only other common thread I noticed is they listen to instruction and do what they are told in a relaxed fashion and do not try to be perfect. They just go with the flow.

The main point here is that whether it comes easy or not you can learn to play guitar if you really want to.

What Can You Do To Ensure Success?

Simply telling you why some people get it easier than others is not likely going to make it less difficult for you.

Hopefully it helps you to stop comparing yourself to them as some sort of universal standard that must be met. You can do this, it just won’t be as easy or as fast as they learned.

One thing you can do to make it easier and also speed up the learning process is to find a trained and certified guitar teacher.

Trained teachers are rare and certified teachers are even more rare. Most guitar teacher only do it on the side and have other jobs to pay the bills so there is no reason for them to get trained.

A trained and certified guitar teacher usually teaches full time and has invested a lot of time and money to learn how to teach you guitar in the best way possible.

They may be more expensive but they will save you a lot of time, effort and frustration.

They may be more expensive but they will save you a lot of time, effort and frustration.

new skills come quicker with more guitar training

Make It Easier By Doing More At The Start

Since the beginning is the hardest part when learning to play guitar then you need to be prepared for it.

Once way to make this part easier is to commit more time and energy to it. That may mean devoting more time to practice or more lessons with your guitar teacher.

I recommend doing both but the most important of the two are doing more lessons. Why?

Ideally you would want to only practice in front of your guitar teacher. That would be the quickest and easiest way to get through the initial difficult learning phase on guitar.

This way you will be getting more feedback and learning to do things the right way instead of wasting your time practicing incorrectly at home.

That may not be feasible for you so do what you can!