Why Is Guitar So Hard? (11 Revealing Reasons) (2023)

Playing the guitar can be a gratifying experience, but it can also be hard – especially if you’re not used to it.

The guitar is one of the most difficult instruments to learn to play. This article will explore 11 reasons why playing the guitar is so hard.

Why Is Guitar So Hard?

1. Physical Complexity

You are doing things with your hands and fingers that you’re not used to. The main reason the guitar is so hard is that it is a complex instrument.

It has multiple strings, each with its note, and each string needs to be pressed in the right spot on the fretboard to produce the correct sound.

Additionally, various techniques and hand-eye coordination are needed to play the guitar effectively.

If playing the guitar is something you’re interested in exploring, be sure to give it a try – there’s no doubt it can be a challenging but rewarding experience.

2. Practice Is Painful

The guitar is hard because you build up calluses on your fingers when you first start. As a result, the strings can be painful.

As you practice more, your fingers will become more used to the feeling of the strings, but practicing can be very painful in the beginning.

Many people give up on guitar during this time because they can’t overcome the pain. However, working through the pain can help you successfully learn guitar.

It would be best if you built up calluses on your fingers to endure the rough strings, and you also need to build strength in your fingers.

This is a painful but rewarding process, one reason why the guitar is so hard. Musicians who keep at it will improve over time.

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3. Mental Complexity

Reading music is like learning a new language. For example, many people find it hard to learn how to play the guitar because of the mental complexity involved in reading and playing music.

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Playing music is an abstract concept, and the guitar does not have straightforward notes like a piano or other instrument with keys.

A guitarist must be able to move their hands and fingers independently of one another and read music simultaneously. This requires a lot of mental effort.

Some people do not have the coordination or mental capacity to play the guitar. The guitar is so hard because it is a complex instrument.

4. Memorizing Chords Is Hard

Remembering frets and finger positions can be hard. Memorizing chords on the guitar is difficult because of the complexity of the instrument.

There are many different strings, fret, and finger positions to memorize, in conjunction with various combinations of notes and chords, which makes the guitar so hard.

The good thing is that the more you play, the easier it will become to remember chords. But unfortunately, memorizing chords is hard, which is why playing guitar is so hard.

5. Scales Are Intimidating

Playing the guitar is tricky because the scale system is so intimidating. In addition, every time you pick up the instrument, you must remember a bunch of new notes.

Along with chords, learning different scales on the guitar can be challenging to memorize. You also have to practice transitioning between chords and scales.

This can be daunting for beginner guitar players. However, with some practice, you’ll be able to learn and play these scales without any trouble.

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6. Theory Is Boring

Why Is Guitar So Hard? (11 Revealing Reasons) (1)

Foundational lessons like music theory are often dull. So the approach is learning about music theory, which can be incredibly helpful when playing the guitar.

Understanding music theory can teach you how to read music, craft your melodies, and play chords correctly.

If you’re not interested in learning theory, that’s okay. But don’t discount its importance – it can help you improve as a guitarist.

7. Playing Songs Is Hard

Just getting to the point of playing a song is difficult. Playing songs is problematic because it takes a lot of practice and skill to be able to play the guitar like a professional.

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A challenge that you will face when you start playing songs is learning how to fingerpick. This skill involves holding each string with one finger and picking it up with the other hand.

Fingerpicking can be difficult at first, but it will become easier with enough practice. If you want to become a better guitarist, then you need to invest in quality lessons.

8. Keeping A Beat Is Hard

Learning how to keep time with the music is difficult. There are a lot of different techniques that a guitarist needs to know to keep a beat and play along with other musicians.

If you’re not used to playing by ear, then learning how to keep a beat can be difficult. Some people don’t realize how hard it is to stay in rhythm.

One way to help improve your timing is to use a metronome. This device will help you stay on time by providing a consistent beat.

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When you’re practicing, set the metronome at a slow speed and gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the song.

9. Guitar Is Different

The guitar is hard because it is different from other instruments.One of the main reasons why it is so hard to play guitar is that it is a string instrument.

Unlike a piano or even a trumpet or saxophone, a guitar relies on the player holding the right string on the right fret and strumming with the correct technique.

Piano and other instruments have one key and one place for a note to come from. In addition, guitars have a variety of combinations to hit a note or chord.

The abstract placement of fingers and technique in strumming makes the guitar so hard. There’s not a set key to press. Instead, it’s a combination of factors to hit a note.

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10. Tuning The Guitar

Playing the guitar is hard for many reasons. One of the most common problems is that guitars are not tuned properly.

To keep your guitar in tune, you need to tune it regularly. Tuning can be a pain, but it’s essential for keeping the sound quality.

The guitar is hard because sometimes you don’t know when it’s out of tune. Beginners can’t hear how “off” the notes sound. This can lead to inconsistent sounds coming from the guitar.

Guitars constantly need to be tuned, which is why it’s a hard instrument to learn. You’re not just learning how to play but also how to keep it sound good.

11. Consistent Practice

Playing the guitar is hard because it requires consistent practice. Very few people can pick up a guitar and play right away.

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This is because guitar practice also requires you to get calluses on your fingers to play properly. You only get calluses from practice.

Playing the guitar is one of the most rewarding activities, but it can be hard work if you don’t practice consistently.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Stairway to Heaven is the forbidden riff, why singing is so hard, and why music is so powerful.


These 11 reasons explain why the guitar is so hard. However, with a little bit of practice, you can improve your skills on the guitar.

Learning to play the guitar requires patience and perseverance. If you want to become a better guitarist, start by practicing regularly and working hard to perfect your skills.

  • Why Is Guitar So Hard? (11 Revealing Reasons) (2)

    Freya Crawford

    Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

    (Video) Marshmello x Jonas Brothers - Leave Before You Love Me (Official Music Video)

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Why is it so hard for me to play the guitar? ›

Learning to play the guitar is so difficult because it requires muscle memory and knowledge that cannot be obtained in a short period of time. It requires repeated, disciplined practice that can feel discouraging and overwhelming to the person attempting to learn how to play.

What percentage of people quit guitar? ›

Ninety percent of people trying to learn guitar quit in the first year. That's a big problem for the musical instrument industry, but also a big opportunity for one of the top guitar makers — Fender.

Why do so many people give up guitar? ›

It's Not Fun: Probably the main reason so many people quit guitar shortly after they begin is because they aren't having fun. Perhaps they are getting discouraged, frustrated, or just finding practice to be grueling and uninteresting.

What is the hardest part about guitar? ›

Changing Between Chords - This is definitely the first problem beginners run into. They learn to sort of hold down a couple of chords (which takes a considerable amount of getting used to in itself), then they realize that they'll need to change in between all of these chords.

Can everyone get good at guitar? ›

Fact is, nothing about learning to play guitar is “all that hard” - anyone can do it. The real problem (that keeps most guitarists from achieving true greatness) is not being committed enough to doing what needs to be done to reach your musical goals.

Can guitar be self taught? ›

So, yes, you can successfully learn guitar by yourself. However, it will go faster for you and save you some trouble if you use good resources. And some things about learning guitar will go smoother with a skilled teacher. But it is entirely achievable to learn guitar on your own!

What guitarist never took lessons? ›

Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Prince – three of the all-time greats – all claim to be self-taught guitarists. Even John Lennon and Paul McCartney were largely self-taught musicians.

How many years does it take to get really good at guitar? ›

More Arbitrary Ratings of Proficiency
LevelHours NeededDaily Practice Investment
Advanced25001.8 years
Expert50003.5 years
Professional100006.9 years
Master2000013.9 years
5 more rows

Is guitar losing popularity? ›

Guitar sales have been steadily increasing since the 2009 recession, but they exploded in popularity in 2020 and the post covid times. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting global lockdown are largely responsible for this increase in demand.

Why do guitarists get all the girls? ›

Men who play guitar are sort of a perfectionist. They are very particular about things in their life in general. The right chord, the right pitch, the right music, the right rhythm etc. They may not know something about everything, but they will definitely know everything about something.

How many guitars is it normal to own? ›

Short answer: If you're not a professional or if you only play one style of music then you can easily get by with only one guitar. Whether or not you want to is an entirely separate question. You could say that the optimal number of guitars is 3 – an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar.

Are some people naturally gifted at guitar? ›

Anyone can become an excellent player without being awesomely musically gifted. It is true that the more natural musical talent you have, the quicker and farther you are likely to progress, but everyone can learn to play the guitar well with the proper effort and practice consistency!

What is the hardest chord on guitar ever? ›

The six-string F chord is one of the hardest standard chord shape to play on the guitar. When many people try to play the F chord on guitar (and often succeed), it's with far too much struggle and effort than is actually necessary.

What is the hardest thing to do on a guitar? ›

Sweeping is probably the most intimidating guitar technique, virtually a byword for shred. There are two misconceptions there. First, it was invented by jazz guitarists and has more applications than playing reams of arpeggios at lightning speed.

What is the hardest chord to learn on the guitar? ›

However, the barred C chord is one of the hardest guitar chords for beginners. Although it involves the same notes but is rearranged (in a different order), this chord is more challenging to play. That is because we also need a bar in order to play it.

How do I force myself to play guitar? ›

How To Stay Motivated To Practice Guitar | 10 Our Favorite...
  1. Set Short-Term Goals & Stay Organized.
  2. Recognize When You Make Progress.
  3. Reward Yourself When Achieving Goals. ...
  4. Be Aware of Your Mindset & Stay Curious! ...
  5. Connect with People Who Are Also Learning Guitar. ...
  6. Watch Great Musician Play Live.
Jan 19, 2021

How long does it take to get good enough at guitar? ›

Answer: For most guitar players, you'll likely be comfortable enough to play live after a year. This means if you practice for four hours a day, you'll be close to advanced at that point. At the very least, you'll be at an intermediate level.

Does guitar ever get easier? ›

Generally, guitar chords get easier. As a person develops increased strength and coordination in their fingers, as well as calluses, playing guitar chords becomes easier and a person can play them with ease without thinking about it.


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