YES – the guitar is difficult to learn. While difficulty is a matter of opinion, compared to other instruments guitar is more difficult. But that does not mean it is not worth learning!
What makes the guitar difficult to learn?
There are a number of things that make the guitar difficult to learn when compared to other instruments. Here are they are:
- You are often playing more than one note.
The ability to play more than one night at a time makes the guitar a polyphonic instrument. Think about a high school band, the tubas, saxophones, trumpets – why they may all be challenging in their own right, they are only playing one note at a time. Keyboards, stringed instruments and percussion are basically the only instruments that are polyphonic.
- Making a sound is a challenge.
In the very beginning playing a sound is pretty hard. With a piano you simply press down on a note. It’s so easy a cat running across the piano can play multiple notes. (I thought my house was haunted the first time my cat did this at night!)
With guitar, you have to put your finger down close to the fret, but not on the fret, but not too far from the fret and press really, really hard. And while your finger on the string is struggling to hold it down, you have to figure out how to pick that string with the other hand. This makes the learning process slow going.
- Your hands are doing two different different things.
If you are right handed, your left hand is holding the strings down, while your right hand is holding a pick that is plucking the strings. A saxophone player is doing the same thing with both hands, a trumpet player plays with one hand while his other hand holds the instrument. A piano player may be playing chords on hand and melody on the other but they are still doing the same motion. For the record, I won’t make the argument that guitar is harder than piano!
- Metal strings hurt!
Every new guitarist will suffer pain on their fingertips until they develop calluses. To develop calluses you have to keep playing with those sore fingertips