When it comes to playing the guitar, there are lots of opinions to listen to and facts to check. Sometimes the hardest thing about getting started or sticking with the guitar is just figuring out what is myth and what is fact. In this short article, I break down some common myths and misconceptions about playing the guitar.
Myth #1 : You are too old to learn guitar.
Fact: Simply not true. If you think you are too old then you probably are. But the fact is learning guitar has to do more with consistency, follow through, desire and practice than anything else. You have more time to yourself now. You are more mature, patient and more disciplined. You are ready to learn. If you want to learn to play the guitar, just make it your business to do it!
Myth #2: You have to study music theory to be a good guitar player.
Fact: Some of the greatest guitar players in the world never studied music theory. In fact, many never even took lessons. You will need some basics, but nothing too outrageous. If you want to learn more theory because you enjoy it, by all means learn more. But to be perfectly happy, you are just going to need a good basic foundation.
Myth #3 : You have to practice scales over and over and over to be able to play lead guitar.
Fact: Playing scales up and down the neck is not as important as some basic knowledge of patterns and understanding how they fit together in music.
Myth #4: You have to play really really fast to be really good.
Fact: I don’t understand this one. If it sounds good, it is good. Speed has nothing to do with it. It is more about being creative and saying something musically.
Myth #5: Playing guitar is all about hours of repetitive drills and exercises to teach your fingers how to play.
Fact: Mundane exercises might make you a pretty good robot on the guitar, but they won’t make you a better player. Being successful at guitar can be done with consistent practice everyday for about 15 minutes.
Myth #6: Some people don’t have the “right” hands for the guitar.
Fact: It does not matter if your fingers are short and stubby or long and skinny. When you first start out you will have a little trouble fretting chords and notes. This is normal and your fingers will touch the wrong strings. It takes some practice and a little while to figure out your own technique. The guitar was made to fit our hands perfectly.
Myth #7: You need to spend a lot of money to get a good guitar.
Fact: Really not true. A top of the line guitar is not going to make you play better or learn faster. You do want a decent guitar to start out with. Something with low action and a solid top if possible. You can get by with about $300 for a great starter acoustic. Check out this video for more information on how to choose the perfect guitar.
Myth #8: You can learn everything you need to know online.
Fact: While you can find everything you need to know, actually sifting through the massive amounts of content and then working with someone one on one for accountability is your best bet at making progress on the guitar. . Even better is finding the information you need all in one place and learning with a group of people like the RLG community.
Myth #9: You have to be a born natural to be good at guitar.
Fact: Not everyone can be a virtuoso. But practice enough and you will be good enough. Play and learn with others and you will be even better. The important thing is that you enjoy playing, that music brings you joy, helps you relax and keeps you active.
Myth #10: You have to be able to read music to play guitar.
Fact: The guitar is the perfect instrument to learn without having to read music. The strings and frets and the theory are all set up in a way that you can learn simply using numbers. Really.
So whether your goal is to:
Jam with friends
Write a song
Learn your favorite songs
Play for your family and friends
Play for fun
Play to relax
Play to stay young
Hang out with like minded folks online
or just spend some of your free time on a rewarding hobby