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5 Easy Tips for Learning Guitar After 50: You’re Never Too Old To Rock

If you’re thinking about learning guitar at your age, then you’re in luck! Some of the greatest living guitar players are over the age of 50, and it’s time for you to join their ranks. Maybe you’ve dreamt of playing the guitar for years, and you just weren’t able to find the time. Or perhaps your interest in learning to be a musician is a big step in a new phase of life for you. Either way, learning guitar is a truly rewarding experience that will open up possibilities that you may have never thought possible.

5 Tips For Learning Guitar

1. Follow Your Inspirations To Find Your Sound

Musicians aren’t just makers of music, but they’re also fans of music. Think back to the first album you remember really listening to. Can you hear it playing in your mind? There must have been something magical in those sounds that has stayed with you throughout your life. The sounds you heard resonated with the Sound inside of you, and learning to play the guitar is going to help you find your own Sound and get it out for the world to hear! 

Let’s brainstorm! Get a blank sheet of paper and write “Musical Inspirations” at the top. Now, list as many of your favorite musicians, bands, or singers as you can.  If you aren’t good with names, then write down some of your favorite songs. This will be a musical springboard for the sorts of directions you’ll be taking your guitar learning and playing.

Your Musical Inspirations will not only determine the types of styles and skills you will learn, but they will also guide you in picking out your first guitar. (And if you already own a guitar or two, that’s great! You’re already a step ahead of the absolute beginner!)

2. Set Realistic Goals

learning guitar

Don’t let any young gunslingers get you discouraged by their seemingly quick progress or impressive chops. Anyone can play guitar! Of course, hands and fingers do lose some range of motion over the years. Add this any arthritis or permanent hand injuries you may have, and you’ll realize that there are a few physical hurdles to playing the guitar at age 50 or after. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and depending on your musical influences and goals, your hands may not give you any trouble outside of what all guitar players experience as they learn.

Looking at your Musical Inspirations list, you (hopefully) have a wide range of artists and songs to choose from as you begin your studies. If you are brand new to music, it may be difficult to tell just from listening which songs are good “beginner” songs and which songs are going to take a bit more practice.

Starting out with plucking a few simple melodies is a great way to begin training your hands to become “guitar hands.” Your fingers will have a period of adjustment as they develop the calluses necessary to make a good sound on the strings. Once you make it past this first hurdle, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great guitar player.

3. Enjoy the Journey

Music, just like life, is best enjoyed when you can live in the moment. As humans, it’s hard for us to exist in the present sometimes, but enjoying music is a fantastic way to increase your mindfulness and invite positivity and growth into your daily routine. Often, beginning adult guitar players are experts in their chosen professions, and the feeling of being a “beginner” again can be overwhelming or discouraging.

Remember, your reasons for playing the guitar can help you keep your focus on steady progress and pure enjoyment. Learning the guitar has peaks and valleys just like life – moments of triumphs by learning to play a new song as well as periods of doubt when progress feels slow-going. I may be a bit biased, but I think playing guitar is one of the coolest things you can do as a human being, and in my experience, the payoff is well worth the investment of time and energy. You don’t have to be the best guitar player in the world to experience the “cool vibes” of being a musician. You just have to pick up the guitar and play.

4. Pick the Right Guitar For You

So, this all sounds great and you’re ready to get started. What will you need? Obviously, you’ll need a guitar, but which one is the right one for you? Depending on your Musical Inspirations and the kind of sounds you’re wanting to make, you’ve got choices. If you’re wanting to strum like Bob Dylan, James Taylor, or Johnny Cash, an Acoustic guitar will be a good bet. If the rocking sounds of Tom Petty, AC/DC, or Bon Jovi are more your taste, then an Electric guitar will get you the sound you’re looking to make.

And if you’re a fan of lots of different styles, you’re certainly allowed to get both! (For the record, beginning to learn on an electric guitar will be quite a bit easier on your fingertips during the first few stages of playing. The good news? Your skills will transfer to an Acoustic guitar with very little adjustment needed other than pressing down your fingertips with a bit more force.)

5. Find a Guide For Your Journey

When setting out on a trip, what’s the one thing you can’t forget? The answer used to be a map, but nowadays isn’t GPS so much easier? Without it, you probably won’t reach your destination. Even if you do, you will probably have taken a lot of wrong turns along the way, and maybe only reached your destination by random chance or luck. And let’s face it, who’s got any time to waste on the way to becoming a good guitar player?

There are so many pitfalls along the way, such as the trial-and-error method of learning, scouring Youtube for random tips, or thumbing through music books with no personal guidance. That’s why receiving regular guidance from a proven professional guitar teacher is an integral part of your musical success story. 

Finding a person who has experience teaching people your age and in your chosen styles of music is crucial for saving yourself years of trouble and frustration, and perhaps saving you from deciding that guitar just isn’t for you. The number of used guitars for sale around the country on any given day is a testament to the dropout rate of learning guitar. But if you find the right instrument for your musical tastes and find a teacher who can help you reach your goals, then you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a life of music, creativity, self-expression, and fun!

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About The Author
Jony McCammon
Jony McCammon
Jony McCammon was born and raised in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. He began playing guitar at 13 years old and performed in middle and high school talent shows both solo and with a band. After frustratingly dropping out of a post-bachelorette program to become a high school English teacher, Jony realized his true passion for music and opened his first guitar teaching business. Since then, he's taught hundreds of people just like you to become better guitar players, performers, band members, songwriters, and recording artists. He's played guitar, bass, drums, and sang with his students for countless live events over the years. Jony has also mentored several young bands to get their music careers started by booking their own gigs and playing their own shows. With his production skills and songwriting training, he has released two albums of his students' compositions – for many of them, their first attempt at recording and releasing their own original music. By expanding his teaching beyond the local level, Jony wishes to help anyone who wants to play guitar take their first steps or make greater strides than ever on their musical journeys, guitars in hand. Find out how he can help you at Positivelyguitar.com
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