How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar? An Honest Answer

When picking up a new instrument, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Learning anything new is sure to be a challenge, and you likely know this – but just how much of a challenge something will end up being is the most important question?

How Hard is it to Learn Guitar? An Honest Answer

Is it something that is going to consume your life, or will you just be able to practice a few hours a day and eventually get better? 

So you’ve just picked up a guitar, or perhaps you’re thinking of buying one. But one important question remains in your mind. Just how hard will it be to learn to play one of these things?

If the idea of spending years struggling without ever playing anything that sounds like the music is troubling you, you wouldn’t be the first! 

If you find yourself wanting to become a guitarist, but find yourself nervous and apprehensive about the journey ahead – don’t worry! We’re here to help you with that.

Below is a guide that will take you through everything you should expect when learning to play the guitar for the first time.

We’re going to give you the honest answer – we’re going to explain each stage of the process, including what parts of the learning process are the most difficult, as well as how you can deal with tackling these difficulties once you reach them.

But we’re not stopping there, this article will also act as a comprehensive guide to get you started so that you can play with confidence from your very first session. We’ll take you through some tips and tricks that will help ease the process. We’ve also added an extensive FAQ guide at the end of this article which will help to answer any additional questions you might have.

So let’s get into it! Just how difficult is it to learn guitar? Let’s explore this question in detail!

Expectations

Let’s first off consider our expectations going into this. The truth is that there is not a person alive who learned to play guitar in a day. Everything involving music takes time.

Of course, some musicians are already massively talented at other instruments, so find the transitions easier, but no person can learn guitar without some work. 

So first off, you should expect to have to work to learn the guitar. How hard you work is up to you, and how long it will take you to get a hang of it can be partly to do with your inherent talent and knack for music.

However, it’s important to remember that if you want to learn to play guitar, then you should put in the effort. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to it, you’ll see results. So it’s worth remembering that if you want to learn to play the guitar, then you need to make time for it.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to spend years on it to start making progress. Many people pick up their guitars after only a couple of months.

You may even find that you can pick up a guitar and start playing within days. This is because you’re starting with a blank slate. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re looking for a quick fix though, then you may struggle to achieve much more than picking random notes. The reason for this is that you’re starting from scratch.

Your brain has never had to deal with such complexity before. As such, it needs time to adapt to the new challenge.

And that means that it’s going to take some time to understand all the different aspects of guitar playing.

How Difficult Of An Instrument Is A Guitar Compared To Others?

In many ways, this question is subjective, though there is a consensus from musicians throughout the course of time. Generally, a guitar is considered one of the easier instruments to pick up.

Many beginners report having little trouble getting the basics down. They can usually hit simple chords and strum along with songs they know.

However, there are still some things that can trip people up. For example, some people find that they struggle with the fingerpicking style of the guitar.

It requires a completely different approach to playing that doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

Even those who have played other instruments before often find that they struggle to keep track of the various strings.

It’s also worth noting that while the guitar is generally considered easy to pick up, it does require a fair amount of practice. If you’re used to playing other instruments, then you’ll likely find that you need to dedicate quite a lot of time to practice.

But if you’ve got plenty of free time on your hands, then you might just find that you can fit it in easily enough.

The Piano, for example, is often seen as a much more complex instrument to pick up than a guitar, this is because the piano is a full-fledged musical instrument.

It includes the ability to play chords, melodies, rhythms, and so on. While these features aren’t required when learning guitar, they certainly help to add an extra dimension to what you’re doing.

What Is Harder, Acoustic Or Electric?

This is another very subjective question. Some people prefer acoustic guitars, while others enjoy electric ones. However, most people agree that both types of guitars offer similar benefits.

Both types of guitars allow you to play chords, which is something that no other type of stringed instrument allows.

You can use them to accompany yourself or others singing, and they can provide a great sound too. What matters most is that you choose the right model for you.

You can go for a cheaper option, or you could opt for a high-end model. Either way, you’ll be able to find a guitar that suits your budget and your needs.

Pieces Of Music And Difficulty

One big factor that you need to keep in mind when trying to work out how hard it is to learn guitar, is the question of specific pieces.

Almost anyone can learn ‘Smoke On The Water’ in a few hours, days, or weeks depending on their competency level, but other pieces of music can be extremely complex and take years to master.

For example, it takes a long time to learn how to play blues scales, and even longer to learn jazz improvisation techniques.

This means that you should consider whether you want to learn a particular piece of music first, before deciding whether it will be difficult or not.

If you decide that you do want to learn a particular song, then you’ll need to think about how much time you have available to devote to practicing.

Learning a song like ‘Stairway To Heaven’ may only take a couple of hours, but learning a complicated piece like ‘Nocturne In C Minor’ may take months.

So, if you want to learn a song quickly, then you’ll probably be better off picking something simpler. If you want to learn a complicated piece, then you’ll need more time. 

Is Learning How To Play Songs Easier Than Playing By Ear?

Learning how to play by ear is harder than learning to play by reading sheet music. This is because it requires you to learn how to read music first. Once you’ve mastered that skill, you’ll be able to start working out how to interpret the music.

While you don’t necessarily need to master the skills of reading music to become a proficient guitarist, it will make your life easier. You won’t have to worry about memorizing chord progressions and scales. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on developing your unique style.

How Hard Is It To Read Music?

This is an issue that can be cut up into two different ideas. As a guitarist, the first thing you’ll need to learn about is the guitar tab.

Guitar Tab

What is a guitar tab? A guitar tab is a written form of notation that shows you what notes are played on each fretboard position. For example, if you’re playing a D major scale, then you’d see the note names D E F G A B C.

To understand this notation, you’ll also need to know some basic musical theory. So, before you can learn how to read tabs, you’ll need to learn how to read sheet music.

Reading Sheet Music

Next up let’s consider the concept of sheet music. Sheet music is the traditional way in which musicians can learn pieces of music.

It comes in many forms, from full songs to simple piano arrangements. There are also many different types of sheet music. Some are written with lyrics, while others are just instrumental.

The best way to get started is to pick a piece of music that you enjoy listening to and try to figure out how it works. Then, once you’ve figured out how the piece is structured, you’ll be able to study the sheet music and learn it.

There are several ways to learn sheet music. One of the simplest methods is to look at the score, and simply follow along as the musician plays through the piece.

Another method is to listen to the recording and then transcribe the parts that you hear onto paper.

Both these methods work well for beginners, but they aren’t very efficient when you’re trying to learn a complex piece. The reason for this is that you’re not hearing the whole piece. Instead, you’re focusing on one part of the song.

When you’re studying sheet music, you should always try to practice the entire piece. This means that you shouldn’t stop until you’ve learned every single note.

First Steps That Will Make Learning Guitar Easier 

If you want to learn quickly, then you need to approach it differently. Instead of trying to learn everything at once, you need to break down the process into smaller chunks. Each chunk represents a different skill set. For example:

1) Learning Scales

These are the building blocks of almost every song. They’re used to create melodies, chords, and bass lines.

2) Playing Chords

This involves using notes from multiple scales together to make new sounds.

3) Playing Solos

Solos are the main part of any song. They involve playing specific patterns over a chord progression.

4) Improving Skills

Once you get comfortable with the basic concepts, you should start working on improving your skills. This means practicing techniques like note bending, vibrato, and arpeggios.

5) Writing Your Music

After you’ve mastered all of the above, you can move on to writing your original material.

6) Mastering The Art Of Improvisation

The final step is to become a master improviser. This involves being able to improvise over any chord progression.

Learning Guitar Tips To Help You Get Started

How Hard is it to Learn Guitar? An Honest Answer

There are many ways to learn how to play the guitar. Many of these methods will work well for beginners.

Others, however, may not be suitable for someone who has never picked up a guitar before. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1) Find A Teacher 

A good teacher can help you improve your skills. They’ll teach you about technique, theory, and performance.

2) Practice Regularly 

Don’t wait until you feel ready to start practicing. Start now!

3) Choose A Method That Works Best For You. 

There are lots of different approaches available. Try out several different ones to see which one feels most natural to you.

4) Have Fun!

If you don’t have fun, then you won’t progress. So keep things light-hearted and relaxed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute questions answered below!

What’s The Difference Between Scales And Modes?

Scales are the easiest way to learn guitar. Modes are essentially just scales but arranged differently. For example, if you were to take the C Major scale and rearrange it so that the second and third degrees (the 7th and 8th notes) were swapped around, you’d end up with the D Dorian mode.

Is A Ukulele Easier Than A Guitar?

Yes, absolutely. Although the strings on a ukulele aren’t as strong as those on a standard guitar, they’re usually easier to manage and less expensive.

Plus, ukuleles are great for picking out simple songs or strumming along to other people’s music.

Can I Use My Computer To Learn Guitar?

Absolutely! Learning guitar online is becoming increasingly popular. It allows you to practice at home without having to spend hours commuting to lessons.

However, make sure that the site you use offers quality content and is safe to use.

Are There Any Free Sites Where I Can Learn Guitar?

Of course! There are tons of free resources out there. Some of them include YouTube videos, websites, and apps. These are great places to start learning guitar!

Do I Need To Buy A Guitar To Learn Guitar?

No, you do not need to buy a guitar. You could even try using a ukulele instead! But, if you want to get serious about learning guitar, then you should invest in a good quality acoustic guitar.

This will allow you to develop your technique and improve your ability to read music.

What’s The Best Way To Learn Guitar?

There are many ways to learn guitar. You could either learn from books, online tutorials, or live lessons. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

The important thing is to find what suits you best.

How Long Does It Take To Become Proficient At Guitar?

This depends on how much time you dedicate to practicing. Most people who are new to guitar say that it takes months before they feel like they’ve mastered their instrument.

Others claim that after only a few weeks of dedicated practice, they feel like they’ve made huge strides. So, the answer to this question depends on you.

What Equipment Do I Need To Learn Guitar?

You don’t necessarily need any special equipment to learn guitar. All you need is a guitar and a set of headphones.

Of course, if you want to go beyond basic chords, you may also need a metronome, tuner, and chord chart.

How Long Does a Guitar Take To Master?

This all depends on you. Everyone learns at different rates. What works for one person might be completely useless to another.

It’s important to remember that everyone is unique and has their strengths and weaknesses.

What’s The Difference Between Classical And Electric Guitars?

Electric guitars have been around since the 1950s. They consist of an amplifier that generates sound waves that vibrate the string.

Electric guitars are typically used by musicians when performing live. Classical guitars, however, date back hundreds of years. They have no amplification system and rely solely on the musician’s skill to produce sounds.

What’s The Biggest Mistake Beginners Make While Learning Guitar?

Most beginner guitarists make the same mistakes over and over again. They focus more on playing fast rather than slow passages. They tend to play too loudly and often forget to use proper technique.

How Can I Improve My Tone?

The tone is a difficult subject to talk about because it varies so much depending on the type of guitar player you are. However, there are some things you can do to improve your tone.

First, you should always warm up properly before playing. Secondly, you should avoid strumming hard on the strings. Lastly, you should never pick your fingers too tightly.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! To link back to our ultimate question about how hard it is to learn guitar – the answer is that it depends!

Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact answer we can give you. How difficult guitar is to learn depends on how much effort you put in, your skills, natural talent, and the methods in which you choose to go about learning!

We hope that this article has given you some insight into how difficult it will be to learn to play the guitar. More than anything, we hope that you are now motivated to learn an instrument, as playing music can be an incredible addition to your life.

If you still have some questions, check below for our Frequently Asked Questions section, which will outline some of the more technical terms and deeper questions posed by this article!

Best of luck in your musical journey, we’re sure you’ll be playing amazingly sometime soon! 

Howard Matthews