Learning Guitar as an Adult (12 Unique Tips)

Learning to play the guitar is a challenge, especially for adults. Taking up an instrument like this requires a lot of time and energy, which is something that we do not all have much of, and there are certain physical aspects of playing the guitar that are challenging for adults as well. However, the good news is that learning the guitar as an adult does not have to be as difficult as it seems. There are ways to make it easier!

It is crucial for adult guitar students to find the right guitar and teacher, make the time to practice, learn the music that inspires them, not get carried away with the process, take their time, go easy on themselves, to enjoy the guitar, to persevere, and to have fun with the instrument.

Learning the guitar is not simple, but there are ways to make it easier. Taking the time to explore some methods, tricks, and tips for learning the guitar as an adult may make the process far easier and encourage you to play and practice more, which in turn will translate to better results. Let’s look at a few ways to make learning the guitar as an adult a little less intense.

1. Get the Right Guitar

Learning to play the guitar is already difficult, but learning on a guitar that is hard to play makes the process far more challenging. One of the biggest and underrated issues when taking up the guitar as an adult is buying the wrong guitar for you.

The wrong guitar for you is not the wrong guitar for everyone, but it is important to take the time to find the guitar that suits your best and feels right in your hands. Playing guitar that is comfortable in your hands and feels good to play will make the process far easier.

If you go out and get the least expensive guitar, you can find out later that it feels uncomfortable, and getting clear notes from the instrument feels impossible, especially in the beginning.

The right guitar for you will fit the size of your hands and the size of your body and not feel cumbersome or unwieldy. The right guitar for you will feel comfortable when you press the strings, and it will not have any edges that jut out and cause discomfort.

Take the time to visit your local guitar shop and explore the range of guitars, even if you do not know how to play anything. Ask the staff for advice, and find something that feels right to you.

The perfect guitar for you does not need to break the bank. Buy something affordable, but do not go to the thrift store and find the cheapest guitar you can find.

Rather spend the money on something decent that will feel good, inspire you to play, be easier to play, and not cause you significant pain when playing. This will enable you to play more, to learn more quickly, and it will inspire you to practice more which will help you to progress more quickly and with seemingly less effort.

2. Find the Right Teacher

Learning the guitar as an adult can feel impossible. There is so much to learn, and the fact that you have access to everything all at once when looking online for lesson material can be overwhelming.

The easiest way to start the journey well is to find the right guitar teacher. Find a teacher who is easy to talk to, and can teach you the type of music that you want to play.

Explain what your goals are and what you want to be able to do on the guitar, and a good teacher will quickly point you in the right direction, saving you the trouble of becoming swamped in a sea of misinformation and overwhelming direction choices.

It is important to find a teacher that you get along with, and you do not have to stay with the teacher for long if you do not want to, but it is a good idea to begin the process with a teacher, even if it is only for some direction in the beginning.

3. Set aside Regular Time

Not everyone realizes how much time learning the guitar actually requires. This is a learned skill that does not come naturally to anyone, and cultivating the techniques and playing methods required to draw music from the instrument takes quite some time to learn.

Fortunately, the time spent on the instrument does compound, which means that you do not need to spend eight hours a day every day learning the instrument, and the time that you do spend on it will always be beneficial.

However, the key here is consistency. Consistent practice is far more beneficial than extended practice times, but the trick is to find the time that you need to practice consistently.

This is especially changing for adults, as everyone has jobs, commitments, responsibilities, and general life things to attend to, all of which require considerable time. However, without setting time aside to practice guitar, you will never make any progress.

If you want to learn to play the guitar well, be sure to set aside regular time, at least thirty minutes every two days or so, to give yourself the space that you need to practice consistently and diligently in order to see good results.

4. Play what you Enjoy

Something that many adult guitar students forget to do is learn the songs that inspired them to play in the first place. Everyone has to start with learning the fundamentals and the basics of the instrument, but there are plenty of interesting and inspiring guitar songs that are not difficult to play.

This is an excellent place to start and a great way to enjoy practicing the instrument rather than getting bored with learning simple melodies and children’s songs at the beginning of your playing journey.

Sometimes the best way to keep yourself interested in studying the guitar is to just play something cool. Pick your favorite guitar song of the moment, take it to your teacher to look up a lesson video, and try to learn it.

Even if you only learn the main riff, a few single notes, or even small parts of the song, it will be a fun experience, and you will find yourself enjoying the instrument far more than learning songs that you find to be boring to play or listen to.

5. Focus on Dexterity

Learning to play the guitar is a physically involved exercise. This instrument demands significant dexterity in the fingers and hands, and unfortunately, this is something that causes an issue with many adults learning to play the instrument.

The best way to conquer this issue is to face it head-on. Take the time to find some simple yet effective dexterity exercises, and work on them a little every day. The lack of dexterity can be a severe hindrance for adult guitar students, and getting ahead of this issue before it begins to hold you back is an important part of learning the instrument.

6. Always Warm-up

Everyone wants to pick up their guitar and play, but something that most adult guitar students neglect is a good warm-up before a practice or jam session.

Warming up is the best way to get your muscles and tendons limber for playing, and it the among the best ways to prevent hurting yourself when learning new techniques and playing methods.

Take the time to warm up well before you play, and you quickly build the strength, stamina, and control that is necessary for playing more complicated guitar pieces.

7. Do not Get Carried away

Learning the guitar is exciting, especially when you begin learning the songs that excite you, but it is important to not become carried away and attempt pieces that are so complicated that they will discourage you.

Adult guitar students are very short on practice time, so be careful not to use the little time that you have attempting something that is way above your current skill level. Be realistic about what you choose to play and the amount of time that you have, and you will make better progress than by rushing into pieces that are way too difficult and taking months to learn them.

You will work your way up to more complicated pieces, but this takes time. Rather focus your efforts on learning new techniques, songs, and skills that will help your progress steadily, and you will be at a level to learn complicated pieces before you know it.

8. Take it Slowly

Taking it slowly goes along with not getting carried away. It is easy to become frustrated when learning the guitar, especially when you enter rough patches.

Take it slow. Do not rush. Do not get too ahead of yourself. Learning the instrument takes time, so settle it in your mind that you are in this for the long haul, and you will get to where you want to be in time with diligent practice.

Take your time when learning techniques, methods, and musical pieces, and you will be a better guitar player for it, rather than rushing through every step and missing important things along the way.

9. Go Easy on Yourself

The next tip on the list goes along with the previous two. It is easy to become frustrated with yourself when you feel like you are not progressing or you are not where you want to be as a guitar player.

The truth is that learning the guitar is very challenging, and it takes time to do. This is not a skill that can be cultivated in a week or two, but it requires significant time and effort to get it right.

When the learning process feels frustrating, remember to not be hard on yourself. A good way to measure your progress to remind yourself that you are improving is to record yourself playing the piece that you are learning and taking another recording a few weeks later.

Comparing the recordings will highlight the improvements that you have made, even those that you have not noticed, and will be a reminder that you will always improve, even if it is only a small amount at a time.

10. Enjoy the Instrument

For every adult learning to play the guitar, it can be easy to get caught up in the structure of lessons and the drive of practice, but it is always important to remember to enjoy the instrument.

You did not take up the guitar to take up a chore but rather to enjoy and develop a new creative outlet. Remember to enjoy the instrument as you go. Maybe buy some new and exciting gear from time to time, such as a guitar pedal or a new type of pick that you have never tried before.

Enjoying the instrument keeps things interesting and keeps you present in the reasons why you wanted to learn the guitar in the first place.

11. Stick with It

The best piece of advice that any adult guitar student can receive is to not give up. Stick with it. Learning the guitar is hard, and it can be frustrating; you will have times when you feel as if you are not making any progress at all, but the truth is that if you stick with it and are patient, you will see results sooner than you realize.

There are a lot of complicated components that go into learning the guitar, and they each require time and practice to develop. Playing the guitar is a combination of multiple tiny skills that add up to the major skill that is playing the instrument.

Once you have put in the time and practice, and these small skills begin making sense, you will experience something that music teachers call ’the click.’ The click is when every small skill that you have learned suddenly falls into place, and the guitar no longer seems like a daunting impossibility but an enjoyable challenge.

It is at this point that you will begin to make real progress and enjoy the instrument in a real way, but you have to stick with it to get there, so don’t give up!

12. Have Fun

The last piece of advice that you should remember is to have fun with it. Enjoy the instrument overall, do not take things too seriously, skip a day of practice if you just do not have it in you on that day, and do not be so hard on yourself.

You are ultimately learning an instrument to have fun with it, so enjoy the process, put together a band with buddies, learn to jam your favorite tracks, and enjoy the journey of learning to play the guitar in whatever way you choose to!


The guitar is an interesting and challenging instrument that is a lot of fun to play if you have the patience to enjoy it. Take your time when learning the instrument, do not be hard on yourself, and remember to enjoy the little things.

Learning the guitar is a process that can be challenging and time-consuming, but stick with it, learn to play the songs that inspire you, get the right guitar in your hands, and you will be well on your way to mastering the instrument sooner than you realize!