Learning guitar can be discouraging and frustrating. Many beginners who think guitar will be a walk in the park are stunned by how difficult the instrument really is. Which begs the question, does learning guitar ever get easier?
The answer is yes, learning guitar does get easier. If you practice hard, you’ll gradually find every part of guitar playing to be a little bit easier over time. But you need to practice the right way
What Makes Guitar Hard to Learn?
We should probably address what makes guitar hard in the first place. I’ll list some of the key issues most guitarists face in the beginner-intermediate stages:
Lack of Guidance
Many guitarists start by trying to learn on their own. Although this is a legitimate approach, it’s much more difficult than learning from a devoted teacher.
Little Knowledge of the Instrument
If guitar is ever going to be easy for you, you’ll need to know your instrument. For instance, you should definitely be working to memorize the fretboard
, the string names
, key chord shapes
, and so forth.
The Complexity of Guitar Playing
That is, everything we do on the guitar, from a simple scale to strumming chords, is relatively awkward and uncomfortable at first. We need to coordinate our hands, hold high-tension barre chords
, and build up callouses in our fingers.
The worst and best thing about the guitar is that it’s everywhere. You can play classical, jazz, blues, rock, metal, punk, pop, flamenco, folk, country, funk, and countless other styles, each with its own musical and technical challenges.
When Does Guitar Get Easier?
As I said above, learning guitar does get easier in time, and in more than one way.
The first way guitar gets easier is on the level of individual skills. Basically, every time you practice a given technique, from barre chords to hammer-ons, you’ll find it slightly easier the next time (especially after you take a break
Fortunately, there are a limited amount of guitar skills to master, even if they have unlimited applications. Barre chords, for instance, you only have to learn once. You may feel while learning them that they’ll always be a nuisance, but trust that the struggle will end before you know it.
The second way guitar gets easier is purely mental. With enough devotion to the instrument, you begin to have a new perspective on it, as well as a new way of seeing yourself. The sorts of difficulties you once saw as obstacles now become an opportunity for success.
Most significantly, your attitude around practicing will change. Rather than something you force yourself to do, you’ll find practice to be a form of leisure. You’ll gravitate to the guitar like others gravitate to the fridge.
How Long Does It Take for Guitar to Get Easier?
That depends on you.
If you work hard and face the biggest challenges head-on, then learning guitar will get easier in a matter of weeks or months. Basically, the less you’re afraid of difficulty, the faster you’ll have a bunch of things that used to be difficult.
On the flip side, if you don’t take risks, work hard, or challenge yourself, guitar playing might never get easier. I know that’s hard to hear, but it’s the truth.
My advice is to figure out what’s holding you back from the next level (i.e. barre chords, reading guitar music
, ear training, scales, etc.) and tackle it as soon as possible.
You’ll be surprised to find that some of the most intimidating things to learn are actually fun when you start doing them, even in the early stages. There’s really nothing worse than the fear that’s holding you back!
Isn't Learning Guitar Supposed to Be Easy?
Many people think learning guitar is easy, and that’s why they pick it up over other instruments.
It all depends on what your goals, really. If you want to play a 3-chord song, you might be able to do so in a matter of days.
But if you want to be a lead guitarist for a metal band, you’ll need to put in a lot more time (and you’ll absolutely need Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar
The same goes for playing fingerstyle
. It’s not exactly easy, but it really pays you back for your time and effort!
Rather than easy, I’d argue that learning guitar is fun and rewarding. In a way, that’s the sort of peak experience many of us are looking for when we pursue something “easy.”
Do You Get Better At Guitar Just By Playing?
This is a hard question to answer. You do get better the more you play, but it’s not as simple as you might think.
The reason is that the quality of your practice matters more than the quantity of your practice. That is, 30 minutes of high-quality practice could easily yield more progress than 3 hours of mindless playing.
In fact, bad practice is actually somewhat detrimental to your progress. You’re essentially rehearsing the wrong movements instead of the right ones.
Think of it this way: if you spend a lot of time working with an inefficient, lazy technique, you’re going to have to unlearn it in the future, costing you extra time and energy.
The key is to adopt good technique and practice with a guitar method that’s well-structured and thoughtful.
Learning guitar does get easier, but you have to be smart and persistent. I know that you might be frustrated with your progress, and believe me, we’ve all been there.
However, be assured that a new approach can make a big difference. In a real way, most of what’s keeping you back is totally in your head
. Always try to maintain healthy attitudes around guitar playing to maximize progress.
Stay on course, and guitar playing be easier before you know it!
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