Am I Too Old to Start Learning Guitar?
Is Anyone EVER Too Old?
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It’s a question I’ve heard asked in one shape or another several times: Am I too old to learn guitar? I’ve heard it from parents of young guitarists who “wish they could learn guitar” followed by “I’m too old now, what’s the point in learning?” Well, what makes you too old to learn guitar now? Who is stopping you from heading to your nearest guitar store and buying a beginner’s guitar and amp, or getting a cheap acoustic guitar from Amazon? No one! And here’s why you definitely should:
The guitar is one of the most satisfying hobbies you can have and it’s one of the most accessible. The Internet is full of wonderful resources. Ultimate Guitar Tabs has tabs of almost every song imaginable, or you can go onto Youtube and search for tutorials of your favorite songs. Not to mention that guitar is so widely practiced you will undoubtedly find a guitar teacher near you who can help you learn!
Just because your chances of becoming a famous rock star will be a little slimmer and you might not be able to hit the road full time as a guitarist shouldn’t dissuade you. Every young person has great dreams of being a rock star when they first start playing “Smoke on the Water.” But the realization soon comes that only a handful of people make a full time living from playing the guitar. Do they stop once they realize this?
They have discovered the deep joy that comes from sitting at home with the guitar, noodling away trying to play their favorite song. They have experienced the satisfaction of playing something for their friends for the first time. Besides, it is the most wonderful experience completely losing yourself in your playing on the weekend, only to move to go to the bathroom and realize it’s dark outside. Many people lose their creative outlets as they get older, learning something new becomes a chore, but it shouldn’t be that way.
I was reading a story not long ago about a 90-year-old woman who got asked what the best thing she ever learned was. She explained how she started learning about ancient Mesopotamia when she was 80 years old and it changed her life. She is now a leading scholar in the field and a highly regarded expert thanks to her life changing discovery. How crazy is that?!
If you’re a little older you’ll have gained a lot more life experience, so hopefully you can accept you won’t become Jimi Hendrix by the end of the month. But, with enough practice, you can still get yourself a band and start booking gigs–if that is what you want, of course. Playing at home can still be immensely satisfying too.
It’s never too late to learn guitar, and maybe even start a band!
I worked with a ship captain who worked for 7 days followed by 7 days off. On his days off he got together with a bunch of his friends and became a touring wedding band, and he loved it! Nobody who phoned to book the band laughed at them for being in a band in their 40s. They were just thrilled knowing their band were responsible adults, who were much less likely to get wasted and trash the place!
Besides, being ”too old” is a relative term. I started playing the guitar when I was around 14 and was looking up a few of my guitar idols when I saw that most of them had been playing the guitar since they were 6 years old. This made me wonder whether or not it was too late for me to get any good. In hindsight, this seems ridiculous! A 14-year-old who is still at school worrying about being too old to learn something new. But this was a relative measure. I knew if I’d started learning at 6 I’d already have 8 years under my belt and be cranking out licks beyond any of my dreams! I think this measure becomes even more apparent as you get older.
So maybe you are 30 years old and thinking about starting guitar, but you get put off because all the people in their 20s and younger have had way more experience so you don’t start. The chances are you are going to have that exact same thought again when you’re 40, at which point you could have had 10 years experience under your belt if you had just started!
If you don’t yet own a guitar, you may be wondering where you should start. What kind of guitar should you buy? I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t spend too much money on your first guitar–not until you’re sure you’re going to stick with it. At the same time, you don’t want to buy a cheap piece of junk. So, here are some entry-level guitars that are a perfect balance of low-cost and good quality.
Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag
Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Package
There’s a lot of free information out there on the internet, but it can be overwhelming for a beginner. It’s difficult to know what’s good and what’s not. I would recommend seeking out a guitar teacher or, if you prefer a more self paced approach, check out Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar DVD set. It’s an excellent step-by-step course that you can take at your own pace, in your own home. I’ve recommended it to many beginners over the years and still do.
Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar is something I’ve been recommending to beginners for years.
So I beg you, pick up a guitar, you won’t regret it. A musically filled creative life is one of the best you can have. And who knows where it could take you! All I know is that you are going to have a hell of a time once you start.
Are you struggling with this question right now, and wondering if you’re too old to learn guitar? If so, let me know in the “Leave a Reply” section down below, and let’s talk about it.
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