Tips for Learning the Guitar as an Adult

If you’d ever imagined yourself strumming away at the guitar to receive raging applause by friends and strangers, you’re not alone.

Millions of people rediscover the guitar in their 30s, 40s, or even later when their lives and careers have settled down a bit.

And despite myths festering around beginner adult guitar players, many are able to conquer the guitar to reap mental benefits, motor coordination benefits, and all the social benefits from playing a sweet solo.

Unlike running a six minute mile or competing in the Olympics, playing the guitar is something anyone can easily carry onwards into old age.

The best time to learn guitar may have been years ago, but the second best time to learn is today.

Here’s the best tips for adult learners. You can always hire a professional guitar teacher near you too!

All or something, not all or nothing

You doubtlessly have career and family obligations you can’t wriggle out of.

You have limited time compared to someone younger but all it requires is 10 minutes a day to get good eventually.

Learn to love fingering the strings, and you’ll find yourself craving your practice sessions in a way that young’uns never would. Any practice is fantastic stress relief.

Cram a session in around breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Take baby steps every single day, and you’ll find yourself sounding better in no time.

Hit the common chords

The most common chords are G, C, D, Em, and Am.

If you’re wondering which song to pick, pick any song with these.

Hitting the most frequent chords will teach your proper fingering, positioning, and transitions in a flash.

Make the most of your short sessions to get the most value for your time.

Set the right goals

Maybe you’re not interested in absolute mastery of the guitar.

Maybe you’d just like to learn a few songs you treasure and you’d like to be able to bust them out anytime you want.

Most people that pick up a guitar don’t know what exactly what they want.

By establishing what you want out of the guitar in the first place, you save yourself a lot of time and unwanted effort.

Age brings with it efficiency and wisdom to make up for lack of youth.

Focus on finger strength

Pressing the strings can be painful for tender young hands, but less so for hardened aged hands.

You can purchase special strings such as steel silk, the Martin M130, M1400 that come with nylon fibers to pad your fingers from constant contact.

These cushions are excellent in the beginner stage and let you practice without wearing your fingers out.

Keep half your training with these strings, the remaining with regular strings to let yourself develop technique and calluses that build your hand.

Training is about efficiency, not youth.

Use your superior motor skills

As an adult, you physical development is complete. Your motor skills are already adapted to the world and you can easily compensate for any shortcoming in age with a well-built network of motor skills.

Be persistent and you’ll fret chords¬†with ease in no time. Kids normally struggle here, but you won’t.

Augment your learning with technology

Most folk didn’t have Youtube or a million apps to teach them guitar when they were kids.

They’re not a substitute for learning from professionals, but you should make use of all the latest technology to download chord charts of your favorite songs, and there are dozens of professionals providing online courses in beginner guitar.

Rehearse silently

Air guitar is the most fun you’ll ever have. Sit back in your office chair to stretch your back and run your fingers through the air to get some practice in.

Once you’re familiar with the guitar, you’ll be able to hone your hand eye coordination with some imaginary chords and scales to keep your muscle memory fresh.

You can easily sneak in a few sessions during lunch or even in the bathroom break.

Use your age to motivate yourself

A true lover of guitar would rebel if anyone told them they couldn’t learn guitar just because they’re old.

As an adult, you have the drive, self motivation, and a proper respect for healthy coping mechanisms and talent that kids will never understand.

Incentivize yourself with rewards for successfully learning songs with adult rewards you never could afford as a kid.

The guitar is a fantastic coping mechanism that can carry you through the hardships of life and strumming a little tune can lift the spirits of those around you.

You are self accountable and accomplished in a way that younger you could never understand.

Show him/her what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

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