The Hard Baroquer is a home musician that has pursued music as a hobby for nearly 20 years. An intermediate guitarist, beginner bassist and even sometimes dabbling on the harmonica, he is always learning something. In his free time, he runs The Hard Baroquer blog.
By The Hard Baroquer
The guitar in all its forms is probably the most popular instrument globally. It really needs no introduction. But you may be considering it as your first instrument, among other popular instruments. Maybe you’re mulling between the resonant notes of the guitar and the elegant tones of the piano? Or the sweet song of the violin?
While we’re not taking sides here at TBH (we’ll be covering reasons to learn other instruments in due course), here are six simple reasons to make your guitar your instrument of choice.
Low barrier to entry
By that, I mean, guitar is as cheap to learn as you can afford. You can find new and used budget instruments for any price point you can imagine, so cost is never the limitation is (budget does come with compromises, but don’t let that stop you learning a musical instrument).
Easy learning curve
The performing music world is filled with artist that are self-taught in guitar – and while getting self-taught to a professional level is a massive achievement as it takes the same hours and hours of dedication and practice that someone who has been coached will be putting in, guitar nevertheless has a simple learning curve. Pick it up and you’ll get the gist of how it works.
Mastering it, is a different story, but you should be able to play something fun and that sounds good in no good. (Teaching yourself songs)[ /learn-songs-by-ear] will come shortly after.
If you’re looking at getting lessons, that doesn’t mean you’ll sail through. You’ll still need to take it seriously and put in as many hours practice as you can.
Your ambition will be rewarded
Don’t mistake an easy learning curve with an easy instrument. Plenty of songs and pieces are written to be as challenging as possible for guitar, and many guitarists will spend all their available time mastering them.
Whether it’s a shredding solo that is long, fast and complicated or a slow classical piece that requires strength and dexterity to navigate the chords being used; if you’re after showcasing skill, this is an instrument that audiences everywhere will recognise and appreciate skill.
Guitar is relatable
One of the reasons for the instrument’s ubiquity is that it is the ‘everyman’ instrument. Regardless of background, a guitar will show up in every corner of the planet.
Its sound is one that people understand and is near-universally enjoyed. Offer to play someone a song on guitar and you won’t struggle to find an audience.
Portable and compact
Pack it in a bag and you’re set to travel the world, essentially. And while there are plenty of accessories (such as pedals, spare strings and tuners, as an example) you can add that can bulk up your instrument, these – more often than not – will fit into a carry bag.
It goes without saying, amplification gear doesn’t count, as that depends on where you’re playing.
Guitar is versatile
The music produced by your axe lends itself to infinite moods and can be utilised in multiple ways. From emotive rock music and atmospheric ambient music, to sincere acoustic ballads and many more, there’s countless ways to use your instrument.
Skills are transferrable to a range of stringed instruments
Once you’re confident of your ability on your guitar, you’ll likely want to expand your knowledge, and the class of instruments known as guitars have at least a dozen types that all sound different to one another. Knowing your way around one makes it almost seamless to learn to play a second member of the guitar family.
Reasons NOT to learn the guitar
I don’t think anyone’s ever regretted taking up the guitar, but every guitar expert will be keen to sell you a guitar, that they might forget one or two reasons that you might need to know in order to know that perhaps a guitar isn’t the right instrument for you, and something else is. If any of the below outweigh the reasons in favour of learning guitar, then you’ll much prefer learning another instrument…
- Guitar, in general, lends itself to commercial music heard on the radio. So, once you learn it, if you don’t learn it and make yourself musically literate (learn sheet music) you’ll struggle to learn a second instrument, if that’s your aim.
- If your intention is song-writing, piano/keyboard may look complicated, but it is designed for understanding notated music best, and likely suits song writing better (of course many great pieces of music were written on guitar, but my point is the palette is more limited).
- Guitar is an insanely popular instrument, so forming or joining a band is a struggle. Competition is high when you find bands looking for axe-men and most bands are formed by guitarists looking for band members. There’s no guarantee of forming or joining a band with any instrument, but it’s worth taking up instruments that have high demand and low supply – drums or bass, or an instrument that is well-liked but there’s few acts that make use of the instrument, such as the trumpet, saxophone or violin.
Overall, there are many more reasons to learn to play a guitar, and once ou go down the road of learning the instrument, there’s no doubt you’ll find it rewarding.