Why Play Guitar? – 8 Reasons For Learning To Play The Guitar
The guitar is possibly the most popular instrument in the world, with new players taking it up every day. According to the TDA, the guitar is the most popular instrument taught in the UK’s schools, and millions of new and used guitars are sold annually.
There are many reasons for this popularity. If you’re undecided about taking up the guitar, or are wondering just what is so great about it, read on, and we’ll take a look at some of the main reasons why so many people are learning the guitar.
1. It’s very versatile
Perhaps the main reason why guitar playing is so popular, is the guitar’s enormous versatility. Whichever musical styles you like best, whether you into rock, metal, folk, country, classical, flamenco or anything else, chances are you’ll be able to play it on the guitar.
There’s also a variety of different types of guitar to choose from, such as electric and acoustic guitars, nylon string and steel string models, six and 12 string guitars, as well as more specialist varieties, such as the dobro. And then you can experiment with different tunings, as well as a huge variety of guitar effects.
There’s almost no limit to the variety of sounds and styles the guitar can achieve, which makes it an excellent instrument for those who have eclectic musical tastes, or who get bored easily.
2. You can sound decent in a relatively short time
Another advantage to the guitar is that even complete beginners can start to sound quite good relatively quickly. This is in contrast to some other instruments, such as the violin or the oboe, which almost always sound completely horrendous in the early stages.
Once you’ve mastered a few basic chords on the guitar, you’ll be able to strum along with many classic songs. It’s also relatively easy to learn to pick out individual notes and play simple tunes. This kind of early progress can be very encouraging, so you’re more likely to keep going and avoid becoming one of those many people who give up an instrument in the first few months.
3. It’s affordable
The guitar is also an affordable instrument for most people. While top of the range guitars are naturally very expensive, you can get started with a much more basic model which costs just a couple of hundred dollars less, and which still sounds good and plays well. You also have the option of buying a second-hand instrument, which can be a good way to get a better quality guitar at a reasonable price.
As with other instruments, you can also rent a guitar from your local music shop or various online instrument rental services. This can be a good option if you’re not yet sure if the guitar is for you and you don’t want to commit yourself to making a purchase.
4. It’s both social & individual
Unlike some other instruments, the guitar sounds equally good when played alone, and when played as part of a band or other ensemble. So whether you want strut your stuff on stage, or are happy to noodle away alone in your room, you can get just as much enjoyment from playing guitar.
5. It’s personally fulfilling
Another great reason to take up the guitar is the issue of personal fulfilment. In common with other musical instruments, the journey to becoming a truly skilled guitarist is a long one, but it’s also incredibly satisfying when you learn new skills and gradually master previously impossible-seeming techniques. And since there’s always room for improvement, there’s no limit to the amount of satisfaction can be gained from learning to play the guitar.
6. There’s plenty of support available
The guitar’s popularity means that there is an enormous community of guitar players out there. Wherever you live, chances are there are other guitarists living near you – and of course the internet makes it possible to connect with millions of other guitarists worldwide.
This huge amount of interest in the instrument means that there is an abundance of resources available for guitarists all levels, ranging from free online guitar lessons, tabs for just about every song ever written, a variety of specialist magazines, to the hundreds of message boards where you can connect with other guitarists at any time.
So there’s never any reason to feel alone on your guitar playing journey, even if you’re teaching yourself to play. And whatever problem you run into along the way, the solution is most likely only a few mouse clicks away.
7. There are some enticing career options
For those who are willing to put in the work it takes to really develop their abilities, it’s possible to make a decent living using your guitar skills. Playing in a popular band is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind here: although the chances of success if you decide to go this route are relatively slim, there’s no denying the fact that many elite guitarists have done very well from following their calling.
You don’t need to be a rock god to make a living from your guitar skills, however. Other careers open to guitarists includes teaching, playing in a covers band and session work, and those who are more technically inclined might be interested in guitar repair, design or construction.
While a career in any part of the music industry is never going to be the easiest option, the guitar’s wide popularity means that there are more opportunities for guitarists that might be the case with many other, less popular, instruments. Of course, there’s more competition too, but those who are truly skilled stand a better chance of reaping the rewards.
8. The status factor
I was hesitant to mention this last point, because it really is very silly and definitely not a good reason by itself for taking up the instrument, but there’s no denying that many guitarists enjoy a boost in their social status as a result of their skills. Among younger people especially, the guitar is seen as a ‘cool’ instrument, and the stereotype of the otherwise unattractive male who suddenly becomes magnetic to the opposite sex when he picks up a guitar is a stereotype for a reason. Many female guitarists have experienced the same thing.
So if you’re looking for an ego boost, or just want to be the life and soul of the party for a change, playing the guitar might help you in this respect too.
Ultimately though, there should be only one reason why anyone plays guitar, and that is for the love of the instrument. The external rewards may or may not arrive, and as with any challenging activity, those who enjoy playing the guitar for its own sake are those who will stay the course and learn to excel. If the guitar is really the instrument for you, you probably won’t need to ask ‘why learn guitar?’ You’ll just know!