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Learning how to play the guitar can be extremely frustrating, and every guitarist has experienced it in one way or another. But that does not mean that you should give up! In fact, learning guitar is a long process that relies on constant effort.
It is just like learning how to walk! Babies don’t simply start walking after one day of crawling, and this is what you have to keep in mind.
Why learning guitar is so frustrating?
There are a few reasons that make learning guitar so frustrating:
- It is painful
- You need to practice consistently
- In the beginning, progress is slow
- Your expectations may be higher than reality
- It requires a lot of coordination
- You need to develop hand and finger strength
- Music theory can be complicated
- You compare yourself with other guitar players
- You practice the same thing
- Not following a structured practice routine
Here are a few tips to overcome these sources of frustration:
It is painful
One of the reasons learning guitar can be so frustrating is that it is painful. At least in the first few months when you are still developing your finger strength, it can be painful to pressure the strings. Until you develop what is commonly called guitar calluses, you will keep struggling.
You can’t give up just because of this! You have to remember what the end goal is, and in order to become good at guitar, you need to experience some initial pain.
Tip #1: Remember that a lot of things in life are painful in the beginning, but the pain is just a reflection of progress happening in real-time.
Another common mistake and one of the reasons for a lot of guitar frustration is that some students do not practice consistently. When you are learning a new instrument or anything for that matter you need to be consistent with the effort you put into it. You can’t expect to practice 3 hours a week and get good at playing guitar.
Tip #2: Try to practice every day, even if it is for just a few minutes. It should be enough to get develop your playing. Remember that consistency is the most important thing, and you will start to notice you will become a better player when you start practicing frequently.
Set achievable expectations
Expectations are probably the key driver of the guitar frustration most people feel when they start learning. You can’t expect to play like Jimi Hendrix in the first few months, it will simply not happen.
Playing the guitar and being good at it takes years of practice and dedication. Instead of having expectations of playing like someone, set your expectations around learning a new song. This will make your objectives clearer and easier to achieve. It will give you a motivational boost to keep practicing and improving.
Tip #3: Instead of trying to play like a guitar player you admire, set more realistic goals. Instead, try to learn a new song in a week. Try to learn this chord, from a song you really like in a day. Learning guitar is a long process, and the first few months will seem like baby steps, but you have to keep going.
Not all of us are extremely coordinated, and guitar demands you to have great coordination between both of your hands. This takes time to develop and to start controlling your hand movements, in a certain way. The more you practice the better your coordination will be.
Tip #4: One of the best ways to improve your coordination is to have exercises exclusively dedicated to it. Instead of playing that riff, you like or that chord you just learned, focus on improving your coordination. It will allow you to learn faster.
Finger and hand strength
In the beginning, it will be difficult for you to apply pressure to the strings since you are not that experienced and you do not have the hand strength required. However, there are guitar exercises that focus on developing finger and hand strength. This can be a good way for you to develop early on.
Tip #5: Ask your guitar teacher for exercises specifically for developing finger and hand strength. This along with coordination will be important for you to learn faster after the first initial months.
Music theory is complicated
One of the challenges of learning guitar is that you are also trying to learn about music. Not only do you have to master your own instrument but also music theory. This can be overwhelming, and frustrating. You end up needing more time and dedication, to study not only guitar but also music theory.
Tip #6: Music theory might be complicated, but it should not be disregarded. Just make sure you incorporate learning it while practicing. It will seem easier if both the playing and the theory are combined, instead of studying each topic separately.
Don’t compare yourself with others
It is important to not compare yourself with others! It does not matter if they started learning guitar around the same time as you, or you are comparing yourself with some of the best guitarists out there. Don’t do it, because it will only bring you frustration. Instead remember that everyone has their own learning path, and for some people, it may take more time to achieve their goals.
Tip #7: Do not compare yourself with any other guitar player under any circumstance. Instead today, you can compare yourself with yesterday. Seeing the your own improvement will be far more motivating, than comparing yourself with experienced guitarists.
Don’t practice only the same thing
One of the most common mistakes guitar students make is that they tend to practice the same thing over and over again. This makes it difficult to develop your playing. You might become good at a certain exercise, but in order to be a great player, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and practice things you are not used to. Even if they require more time and effort.
Tip#8: Make sure you mix your practice routine with different exercises that improve different areas of your playing. Avoid practicing the same things over and over again.
Set your practice routine and follow it
Not only is it important to practice consistently, and if possible on a daily basis but to also have a practice routine. Every professional guitarist has their own practice routine, where they go over some exercises and warm-ups. Even if you are not a professional, you should have your own practice routine with plenty of exercises. Make sure you follow it thoruhohgly.
Tip #9: Ask your teacher, or look online for a few exercises that should form your practice routine. When you pick your guitar, warm up and start going through that practice routine. Not having a well-defined practice template can make you waste time, and it will be more challenging to learn how to play guitar.
Why is learning guitar so hard?
Learning guitar is hard because it requires a combination of different skills. You need to have good coordination, finger and hand strength while keeping your tempo and hitting the right notes. Since our hands are not used to this kind of movement and precision, it takes time to learn guitar, and it is hard to do it.
Is guitar very hard to learn?
Learning guitar is just like any other instrument, or any other thing. The learning curve is steep, and so in the beginning you will need a lot of effort and time to start playing your first chords and songs. However, as time goes by it becomes easier to learn new songs, tricks, and even melodies.
How do you not get frustrated on the guitar?
The best way to not let frustration get to you while you are learning to play the guitar is to keep your mind on the prize. Ultimately, you want to be a good guitar player, and unless you follow the necessary steps you won’t achieve it. Just embrace the frustration, which is just a reflection of your struggle.
Remember that in everything we do in life we all struggle, and get frustrated in the beginning. As time goes on, and we keep putting our effort into it, we become better.
How long does it take to learn guitar?
The time it takes to learn the guitar depends on the effort, dedication, and time you want to put in, as well as the goals you have. In order to play some regular chords, it might take you a month or so, to become good at chord changes.
It is also dependent if you start learning on an acoustic or electric.
If you want to play more complex pieces of music, or even some complicated solos it might take as much as 6 months. Don’t give up during this process.
Overcoming guitar frustration
Learning how to play guitar may seem frustrating at first, but if you keep pushing and dedicating yourself you will be able to achieve your goals and become good at it. Remember to not give up, and keep practicing.
It may seem hard at first, but over time you will be able to achieve your goals.
I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.