Guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. You probably have friends who play, and it’s got you thinking that you would like to learn too.
However it doesn’t look easy, and can make you wonder if guitar is actually worth learning, or if it’s just a waste of your time?
From a players perspective guitar is definitely worth learning, but it’s a personal thing and to really answer the question you need to explore your inner reasons for wanting to learn. Learning guitar can be challenging at times, but if you persevere it can become extremely satisfying.
Every one of us is different, so don’t let anybody else tell you what instrument you should play.
I love playing guitars but understand that it’s not the right instrument for everyone, it really depends on what you enjoy listening to, what you want from music, and what you are naturally inclined toward.
So, rather than pushing you into learning guitar, let’s answer some questions you might have about learning to help you decide for yourself if it’s worth the effort.
Do You Love Listening To Guitar Music?
When you listen to music what type of music is it? What do you enjoy most about the music …is it the lyrics to the song, the singing, the bass line, the guitar, or maybe the way it’s mixed?
If you didn’t answer ‘guitar’ to the above question, then maybe guitar isn’t worth learning for you unless you want a way to compose songs, or you’d like to sing and be able to play an instrument that compliments your voice.
Do You Just Think Playing Guitar Looks Good?
There’s no doubt that guitar players look cool whether there are just a few people watching or they are on stage. But I can guarantee they didn’t learn because they wanted to see how great they looked playing in front of a mirror!
If you learn and become a good guitar player then there’s every chance other people will get inspiration from you and want to emulate what you do.
However, if looking good is your main motivation then you’re probably best doing something different with your time, as learning guitar takes genuine motivation.
What Do You Personally Want From Playing Music?
You really need to ask yourself what ultimate reason you have for learning an instrument, whether that is guitar or any other instrument.
Reaching new levels of experience with any instrument brings moments of deep satisfaction, but it will take perseverance and dedication to get to those new highs.
If you don’t really enjoy the instrument you choose to learn, then putting in that much effort will be a chore you soon give up on – and you will possibly have wasted your time.
So have a peek into your possible future and imagine where you would like music to take you.
Maybe that’s quietly playing or singing along to songs by yourself, forming a group or ensemble with a few friends, or mixing awesome tracks? It’s your life …there is no right or wrong.
When you imagine yourself in that place, what instrument are you playing?
Is Guitar Really The Right Instrument For Me?
Some people mistakenly think you need long slim fingers or some other physical attributes to play guitar, but it doesn’t matter who you are – if you really want to do something then you will find a way.
People of all shapes and sizes can play guitar, so it’s really more about what interest you have in music.
There are tons of sites on the web with quizzes to work out what instrument you are suited to, but honestly, they are just random music questions made up for fun – they won’t really give you a meaningful answer.
You are better off asking yourself if guitar genuinely interests you, and what exactly makes you consider playing it.
Maybe you just want an easy instrument to learn so you can sing and play, or you love contemporary music and want to learn an instrument that lets you re-create that sound?
We could list endless scenarios here, but the best thing you can do if you can’t make a final decision is to get a sheet of paper and write down a list of what you like about your top 2 – 3 instrument choices. Your top choice will soon become clearer.
Not sure if you should learn guitar, or if you’re better matched to another instrument? Discover if guitar is the right instrument for you
The Personal Benefits Of Learning Guitar
Learning guitar, like any musical instrument, has many great benefits that help you in everyday life.
The first thing you learn with guitar is to listen more carefully to music, and this leads you into an appreciation of other musical styles that you may have previously overlooked.
Music starts to be something you can break down into components, and how those different parts fit together to make the music you love listening to.
As you gain greater guitar skills the coordination between your hands improves, and you develop improved fine motor skills with your hands and fingers.
There are also many mental well-being aspects to learning instruments. It’s scientifically proven that your memory improves, and also your ability to deeply focus and concentrate.
What Else Will I Get Out Of Guitar Playing?
Guitar is often a lead instrument, either played by itself, or as an accompaniment to a singer.
The more you play in front of other people the more you build self-confidence, especially since others tend to focus on guitar players and singers.
As your playing ability improves, you often find people ask how you learnt guitar and how they can learn. Playing guitar places you in the focus of others, and often breaks down the barrier of meeting new people – most people love talking about guitar.
Like all instruments, guitar allows you to ‘switch off’ the world for a while, helping you feel calm and increasing happiness, and can be a great way to de-stress.
Guitarists tend to learn by listening and copying other players, and this means they develop great listening skills to analyze rhythms and timing in music.
Is It Too Hard To Learn Guitar?
There are a few instruments that are relatively easy to start learning on, and the level you want to attain is entirely up to you.
Some instruments like the violin, saxophone, or oboe take a concerted effort to even get to a basic level. The guitar is much easier to get started on, and the best thing is you don’t need to know how to read music.
If you want to ascend to higher levels of playing then guitar becomes more difficult, but at advanced levels all instruments require dedication to keep improving.
Read this post to Find out if Guitar is the Hardest Instrument
Piano rivals guitar in popularity, and while it looks easy to press the keys, you will need to learn some music theory to start playing music.
The early advantage with guitar is that you only need to learn some finger patterns for a few chords, and listen to the rhythm of an easy song to get started.
Guitarists commonly learn music by watching and listening, and there are many famous artists who can’t read music.
So an advantage for new guitarists is that learning to read music can be a choice you make, and when you start learning makes it easier.
Learner guitarists usually find they can play a few easy songs in just a few weeks.
Is Learning Electric Guitar Worth It?
Most guitarists love playing both electric and acoustic guitar, as there’s something different in the way they feel and the types of music they inspire you to play.
If you’re on a guitar journey then you should totally learn electric guitar as part of your musical arsenal, as you’ll find so much more than acoustic alone.
Electric guitar can be great for beginners for a few reasons:
- The body is thinner than acoustic guitar, so it’s easier than acoustic to get your arm around it.
- The strings are thinner than acoustic. Thinner strings means they have less tension and are easier to hold down, being much easier on your fingertips.
- The neck is thinner. Since the strings are thin the neck doesn’t need to be as ‘fat’ as an acoustic guitar neck, making it easier for children and people with small hands to play.
- You can play it quietly. This is great if you’re learning in your bedroom or late at night, as you can turn the volume down, or play through headphones.
Electric guitar lets you get almost any sound you want with sound effects, and if you love the idea of playing with different sounds then electric guitar may be right up your alley.
Is Learning to Read Guitar TAB Worth It?
Tablature (TAB) is a guitarists best friend (apart from their guitar!), and makes music written specifically for guitar much easier to read than traditional music notation.
Most people think TAB is just an easy (and dumber) way to write music and was invented not that long ago. In actual fact, early TAB written for the lute, baroque guitar, and medieval organ can be traced back to the 15th century!
You can get simple versions of TAB where you are just shown what strings to hold, and what chords are played, and this is a great benefit to all learner guitarists.
As you slowly become more advanced TAB can advance with you too, as timing notation is added as well as telling you if there is a bend or slide, tremolo, or anything else.
If you combine your listening skills with reading TAB you can learn to play almost everything – so yes learning to read TAB is not only easy but is also worth spending time on.
Once you can read basic TAB, you can easily find out where to hold your fingers to make different chords without having to know any music theory.
Is It Worth Learning Guitar Scales?
Once you get beyond the beginner stages of guitar you’ll probably want to start branching out into playing single-note melodies, blues licks, and eventually solos.
All these things rely on you knowing what notes belong with the key of the music you are playing.
This is where a knowledge of scales comes in, as this becomes your roadmap to finding the right notes.
The difference between guitar and many other instruments is that you can just remember the patterns on the fretboard without needing to learn music theory.
Learning the five basic pentatonic positions is both easier than you think, and let’s you play melodies over a vast amount of pop and rock music – plus they are easier to learn than you think!
Learning Any Instrument Is Time Well Spent
If you choose the journey of learning guitar, then you’ll never regret the time you spent learning, as it’s like riding a bike – you never fully forget what to do, the skill stays with you.
If you’re interested in guitar but it’s 50/50 with another instrument, then get a cheap second-hand guitar and have a noodle about on it once in a while and learn another instrument at the same time.
You will soon work out what you like best simply by trying some instruments most interesting to you, either you’ll like one more than the others, or maybe you will like them all!
The important thing is to not look back in many years and wish you had started learning ANY instrument, as many older people do.
So don’t wait too long, jump in and start learning an instrument!