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Best Way to Learn Guitar for Adults: Essential Tips for Older Learners

Whether you’re in your mid-life or pushing seventy, you (like many others) may have wished you knew how to play an instrument like the guitar. Because of its simplicity and personal vibe, the guitar can become a great companion for you as you begin cultivating more musicality in your life. If you’re wondering about the best way to learn guitar for adults, then you’ve come to the right place.

Well, let’s just get the elephant out of the room: yes, you can still learn the guitar as an older adult! Though your hands may have gotten stiffer than they were in their teenage years, the human body and mind can adapt very well to new circumstances.

With the right know-how, you can begin your guitar learning journey with more ease. So, here are some of the crucial things to keep in mind.

Get a Guitar and Set the Action Right

There are essentially three types of guitars you can choose from: electric, acoustic or classical.

Electric guitars are easier to play because of lighter steel strings that aren’t too difficult to push down. What’s more, you can rock to some of your old school heavy metal or hard rock favorites. The only catch is that you’ll need to pay extra for an amp.

Acoustic guitars, on the other hand, don’t need an amp. These are great for playing simple songs that people can all sing along to. They are also the best option for bluegrass and singer-songwriter types.

Last but not least, there is the classical guitar. It has a wider neck and softer nylon strings, which makes it easier to play than an acoustic guitar. The sound will be somewhat mellower and softer than an acoustic guitar, which is why this is the option to choose for aspiring classical guitarists in the vein of Paco de Lucia or Andrés Segovia.

Once you choose the right guitar according to your interests and preferences, make sure that the action is set upright. This basically means that the height of the strings is low enough to make it easy to play and high enough that it doesn’t buzz. This will save you hours of frustration!

Practice 10 Minutes a Day

Biting off more than one can chew is a pitfall of human psychology. This makes our goals seem more daunting and difficult to attain. Start off slow and steady: just put in 10 minutes every single day.

Perhaps, on some days, you’ll want to play and learn more, while on others, just those 10 minutes will be enough. The point is, the consistency of even 10 minutes a day will start developing your muscle memory and hand dexterity.

Learn Songs and Sing-Along

Practice sessions can get boring quickly if all you do is learn random scales and chords. The most effective (and fun) method of learning any instrument is to learn some easy songs first.

For this reason and many others, is a great resource to use. They have over 1,000 songs with in-depth, quality instruction. What’s more, the site will guide you along from your very first songs to high-level, genre-specific playing.

Besides, with only 4 chords on the guitar, you can play a ton of different popular songs.

If you start singing along while you play the guitar, this will help you with rhythm and timing, and (most of all) it’s fun as heck! Not to mention, it’s also a great way to entertain small audiences at parties. Singing and playing simultaneously is a bit difficult at first, but soon you’ll get the hang of it!

Develop Callouses and Flexibility

Every guitarist knows the initial pains at the fingertips, especially while playing steel-string acoustic guitars. This is all the better because the faster you develop callouses, the more rapidly you’ll push through the initial learning stages.

Start cherishing those toughened up fingertips on your fretting hand. The initial learning pains will also be a period where you will loosen up those fingers and make them nimble. Developing flexibility and speed in your fingers will be a sure foundation for attaining your guitar learning goal.

Use a Capo to Shorten Fret Distances

This is one of the more obscure tips: buy a capo and attach it at the 4th or 5th fret. This will shorten the distances between frets as you learn chords or scales. As you get better and better, start moving the capo behind to the 2nd or 3rd fret.

This will increase distances as you gradually improve your hand stretching. In a month or two, you will be able to hold chord shapes on all frets, from the first to the last. Besides, a capo is necessary to play many popular songs like The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel and several Beatles songs.

We hope that these tips will help you figure out the best way to learn guitar for adults. By following this advice, your guitar journey will be very enjoyable as it should be. Remember to keep things simple and be patient with yourself. In no time, you’ll get to experience the joy of the guitar!

We have put together an article on basic guitar chords, Do check it out here

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.