Getting Past Four Common Myths About Learning Guitar

If you would love to learn how to play guitar but have convinced yourself you simply don’t have what it takes, it’s time to take another look at things and overcome the obstacles that may be keeping you from getting started.

Myth One: You need to be musically gifted and talented to learn guitar

This myth is the most common. While it may be true that you need an amazing amount of natural talent to be the next Eric Clapton or Leo Kottke, for the rest of us, a little diligence and knowing how to get off to the right start is all you need to get rolling. The first step is learning on a guitar that is easy to play and one that fits your age and body type.

Beyond finding the right guitar, it’s important to understand that learning guitar is a process that develops or unearths a certain degree of musical talent. Almost every guitar player will tell you that they struggled along for a while before everything just clicked and it was clear sailing from then on. Patience is a true virtue when learning guitar.

Myth Two: You need to take lessons to really learn how to play

The best way to address this myth is to say that some people do need one-on-one, personal guitar lessons. But the vast majority can get great results from books, DVD lessons, online videos and jamming with friends.

The most important thing before you get started is to understand your learning style. In other words, do you need visual cues (seeing someone else play the material first) specific text instruction (a step-by-step guide) or audio cues such as hearing the song then working on it until you get it right? Give some thought about how you learn the best.

Myth Three: You need to practice every day

It’s unfortunate, but many who want to learn to play a musical instrument have a vision of the strict and cranky piano teacher demanding the student “practice, practice, practice.” It’s important to realize that you don’t need a strict and regimented approach to learning to play (or an instructor hitting your knuckles with a ruler!). If you focus on learning guitar as a way to relax and entertain yourself and others, you’ll put in the time it takes to really get going.

Myth Four: You have to know how to read music to learn guitar

Again, this is not the case. While it may help to know how to read music notation (if you’ve played piano, trumpet or the violin for example) guitar tablature is easy to learn and use. Tablature shows you what string to play at what fret so there’s no interpretation of signs and symbols needed. A lot of guitar music is in tablature only form and most of it is written in both tab and regular music notation. This means that you can learn guitar right away and then learn music notation down the line if you wish.

Playing guitar has a number of advantages including feeling a great sense of accomplishment, being part of something special and putting a little more music in your life. And, if you are still in school, learning the guitar will help with your math and science scores. So forget these four silly myths and get started!