Why is guitar hard to learn? Many beginner guitarists will ask. You are not alone, you aren't the only one wondering, almost every and each one of us guitarists has felt this frustration at some point in our journey of learning and practicing the guitar.
The guitar is one of the most beloved musical instruments in the world. It is popular worldwide and in many cultures. Playing ANY musical instrument can be a challenge, especially when one have no musical background or any experience in playing on any musical instruments before.
Some people will find one instrument more difficult to learn than all other instruments, while others might view it as extremely easy.
While it is true that it's a subjective matter whether you find the guitar easy or hard to learn, interesting or boring, I'm going to highlight some of the things that might present a challenge to the guitar student, generally speaking.
Reason 1: Strings
Being a stringed instrument is already an issue. Some people look at the guitar and wonder how one can possibly learn to play on that thing! Maybe you were one of those people, but you've realized that with practice and a little bit of willpower, nothing is impossible.
Some people have fear of strings, they get intimidated when they look at a stringed musical instrument. That point on its own is an obstacle already before even touching or trying to play on the guitar.
Reason 2: Memory
Yes, playing the guitar requires having or developing a good memory. The guitar is not like the piano or the drums, where the instrument is right before your eyes. While it's true that you can peek and look at your fingers and at the fretboard while you're playing, this should not be a regular habit and you should teach yourself how to play without peeking, because by doing this you will allow your muscle memory to learn the locations of the notes on the fretboard and get used to them, and believe it or not this is one of the best secrets to improving your guitar playing speed and accuracy.
Don't believe me? Good thing we have an easily accessible internet today with abundant information and videos on guitar playing. Search Youtube for any of the professional guitar experts and watch them shred the guitar with their eyes closed.
Reason 3: Coordination
Almost every musical instrument requires coordination, whether it's the guitar, the piano, the drums, or even the flute. However, coordinating between the right and the left hand while playing the guitar with both speed and accuracy, is one of the most challenging among all musical instruments, along with the piano. This is my opinion, do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below!
Reason 4: Physical Difficulties
Playing the guitar at the higher levels requires intensive training of the fingers, wrists, hands and even the whole arm starting from the shoulders. This is because the guitar demands a strict hands and body posture to be played correctly and comfortably.
Perhaps the hardest physical challenge facing beginner guitarists is getting the fretboard hand to fret the strings correctly, and keeping a steady and relaxed grip of the neck.
Reason 5: Guitar, Two Instruments. Not One.
What I mean by this is, if you're planning to learn the electric guitar, some guitarists, experts, and guitar teachers will advise you to start on the acoustic or the classical guitar first. Some of the reasons are:
- Learning the guitar on its basic form
- Cleaner and more natural sound will require you to be more accurate in your practice time, which is what beginners should focus on primarily
- Better development of the musical ear
- Better practice for your hands and fingers since the fretboard is wider on these guitars and bigger spacing between the strings
- and more.
My opinion is that both options are viable and acceptable, and it is up to you only to decide if you want to start straight ahead on the electric guitar, or take up the acoustic guitar challenge first.
If you choose to learn the acoustic first, then really you end up learning two instruments and not only one.
I summarized the most important points of why the guitar can be a difficult instrument to learn in general. Of course, there are aspects of playing the guitar that are very simple, such as in the case of tablature where in most other instruments you must learn to read the musical notes and music theory, but this post was all about the difficulties and the challenges that one can face with learning the guitar.
If you've had other difficulties and challenges, or are aware of any regarding the whole process of learning to play the guitar that I didn't mention above, please let me know by dropping a comment below.
Important: Remember, everything good in life does not come easy, but instead, it comes with difficulties and even sometimes frustrations. Don't let the difficulties in learning the guitar be an obstacle to you and prevent you from aspiring to excel in playing it, but rather let it be a source of motivation for you, to challenge yourself and prove to yourself that you can do it. You can't imagine the amount of satisfaction and self-esteem boost that you can get out of it.
Good luck to all of you!