Why You Should Ignore Anyone Who Says You Can’t Play Guitar





How does one go about learning to play guitar?  I am asked this many times and was shocked to hear the answers that came from numerous "authorities" on the subject. 

  1. You can’t learn to play the guitar, you're too (old, young, busy...).

  2. Good guitarists are born not trained

  3. You just pick it up and it either comes to you or it doesn’t

  4. And so on…..

These responses ignore the data, experiences of tens of thousands of guitarists, and have been proven wrong again and again.   The persistence of the myths seems to point to a belief that experiences that move us emotively are assumed to be innate.  Could you say the same about acting?   Good actors aren’t trained, they are born.  How about airline pilots?  Good pilots are born not trained.   Or doctors…..

You get the idea.  The base issue is true—you have genetic limits on many things.  You can only run so fast.  You can only jump so high.  Your nerves only fire so fast.  And there are some genetic advantages that make it more likely that IF you apply yourself with the same intensity as someone else to learning the guitar that you will surpass that other person to the extent that your genetics allows it.  This ignores one thing though.  While someone may have longer fingers, or a faster nervous system, ability, especially ability that involves repeated training indicates that individual ability tends to be plastic.  In that regard, if you have more fast twitch fibers than your neighbor, it may be because you trained in something that requires fast twitch fibers. 


Humans are enormously adaptable.  With this in mind it is foolish to ignore a dream of playing guitar, or any other instrument, on the advice of any expert….unless they’ve got overwhelming data to the contrary.  And I’m here to tell you that they don’t.  Most people try to convince you to accept the same limitations that they have accepted.  If they don’t play guitar, you shouldn’t either.  Or if you do, you shouldn’t become better than they have.  I encourage you to do both.  Show those who don’t, that it is possible.  And show those that would rather tear you down, than pull their ability to a higher level, that they are wrong. 


Become that which you dream.  If you dream it, it will come, with enough effort, just about anything is possible.


Jeff Moore is a long time musician and guitarist.  He teaches electric guitar lessons in Cohoes, NY  He is a staunch advocate of learning at any age.  You’re never to old, or too young, to Rock and Roll.

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