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Beginner Guitar Tips

6 Common Misconceptions About The Guitar

By: Will Mason

Are you thinking about learning how to play the guitar? Here are some misconceptions that we encounter often in our beginner guitar lessons. Read on to learn something new, get motivated to start today, and possibly even have a laugh along the way (sometimes I try to be funny…):

1. It’s easy to play.
Think you’ll be playing like Jimi Hendrix in a few weeks? Think again. There is a reason we admire people who have mastered any skill or art form. It’s because we recognize that they have done something that many others have not; something that seems impossible. With very few exceptions, excellence comes after hard work. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not shredding after your first month of lessons. Just remember: you’re climbing a mountain. When you get to the top, others will be looking up at you saying “that’s impossible!”

2. You have to start on an acoustic guitar.
We hear this one a lot at Mason Music. A new student’s parent assumes they need to start on an acoustic because it seems more ‘basic.’ The truth is, the electric guitar is actually easier to play. The strings are closer to the fretboard (lower action), and lighter gauge. This makes it easier to press down the frets and get a good sound out of the instrument. It is also less painful when building up your callouses. Additionally, if a beginner is interested in learning songs that were originally recorded on an electric guitar, they are likely to be disappointed to hear what “Crazy Train” sounds like on an acoustic. That being said, either option is fine for a beginner and there are affordable products in both categories. Visit our retail section to see our top picks for beginner acoustic and electric guitars.

3. Changing your guitar strings is optional.
It’s not. Change them. Today. Then again in 4-6 weeks (sooner if you play every day like you should).

4. “Smoke on the Water” has to be your first song on the guitar.
Nope. If you find the right teacher, you can communicate what your goals are and get started right away building a plan to reach them. We harp on this at Mason Music. See what I did there … harp? Ok, moving on.

5. You have to start when you’re young.
While it is certainly an advantage to start learning anything when you are young and your brain is still forming new connections faster than Kim Kardashian’s Instagram account, you are never too old to pick up the guitar. Unless you’re literally too old to pick up the guitar … in that case, sing. But for real, we have a lot of retired folks who come in for lessons because they have always wanted to learn how to play. Playing the guitar offers a great outlet for personal growth and expression, as well as the reward of getting better at something. Plus, it beats crossword puzzles.

6. Music theory isn’t important for guitar players.
Well, this one is sort of true and false… If you just want to be able to play the guitar, you really don’t have to know what’s really going on inside the music. However, there is a big difference between a ‘guitar player’ and a musician who plays the guitar. Learning about Music Theory is a great way to connect what you are doing with your hands to why you like the way it sounds. Leonardo Da Vinci once said “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” I used to be afraid that learning music theory would result in me losing my joy of playing. For me, it has had the opposite effect. Seek to understand music and your appreciation for it will only deepen.

Well, I hope that clears up a few things for you. Be sure to subscribe to our blog on the right side of this page for more helpful tips for how to play the guitar and other moderately helpful posts.

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