How Hard Is It To Learn Guitar in 2014?

Posted on 17 October 2014
By Carlton Whitfield
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There’s a lot of appeal in learning to play guitar. Heck, the entire genre of Rock ‘n’ Roll is based around the instrument. It’s an instrument that you can transport relatively easily, and it’s one of the more “glamorous” instruments.

The lead guitarist of the band is usually the known name, whereas the drummer or bassist might take the backseat. Back in the early guitar days, you’d be forced to learn the old fashioned way. Have things changed with time?

Some have, some haven’t. Still easy to learn & hard to master

If you spend just a couple of hours fiddling around with a guitar, then you’ll be able to play certain parts of your favorite songs. The beginning to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin isn’t exceptionally difficult, and yet it’s one of the most famous songs of all time.

Learning the basic chords on a guitar isn’t difficult. And depending on the song you’re playing, the individual notes might not be that difficult, either.

Guitar gets hard when you delve into complex songs or try to construct them on your own. Moving your hands up and down the frets quickly will lend itself to many, many errors. You get good at guitar by being able to do this quickly, accurately, and without thinking. It’s quite the challenge.

Many professionals go by the 10,000 hour rule. This rule says that if you practice something for 10,000 hours, then you’ll become an expert at it. 10,000 hours is 416 days of playing guitar – that’s over a year.

Time hasn’t changed how much practice we need to get good at something. Guitar is an art – just like writing or painting, you can’t take any shortcuts to skill.

What’s different in 2014

You still need a guitar – that much is obvious. Go to any local music store and ask the owner to recommend some basic guitars. Once you get one that feels right, it’s time to learn.

As far as learning, a lot has changed. You can always take the traditional route of getting a physical book or hiring a teacher to fast track your progress. You can also learn online, though, and we’re not just talking about reading books online – we’re talking about entire courses on how to play guitar.

The neat thing about learning online is that you can see a practice exercise and listen to what it should sound like. Many people need to hear something to be able to replicate it on guitar. Before, this was only possible by hiring a teacher, and you couldn’t do that for more than an hour or two per week without running up a significant bill. Online learning changes all of this, but some people still prefer the traditional approach.

Overall, times haven’t changed much. Guitar is still the instrument it always was, and Rock ‘n’ Roll is as popular as ever. You do have options when trying to learn, though, and with the advance of technology learning by listening has become substantially more affordable.