The author is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.
You Can Learn Guitar No Matter Your Age!
If you want to learn to play the guitar you are never too old to make it happen. In fact, as an older guitar student, you’ll have some definite advantages that you wouldn’t have enjoyed as a kid.
Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond, it is never too late to learn to play a new instrument. Here are ten good reasons why there is no time like the present to get started on the guitar.
1. Your Computer Makes Learning Guitar Easier than Ever!
If you are pondering whether or not it is too late for you to learn guitar, you were probably a teenager before this whole internet thing took off. Today, computers and the internet are far more powerful than even a decade ago, and there are countless resources available to help you learn to play guitar.
This is especially nice if you are a little nervous about getting out there and taking guitar lessons from someone who might be a lot younger than you. With the array of DVDs, guitar sites, and YouTube videos available you can learn anything you would have from a guitar instructor without ever leaving your house.
Thanks to the internet and powerful computer software, learning guitar today is way easier than when you were a kid.
2. You Know What Type of Music You Like
And what you don’t! For a kid learning the guitar, part of the journey involves exploring musical genres and figuring out what lights your fire. Country? Metal? Jazz? When you’re a kid, choosing the right road can be pretty confusing.
As an older guitar student, you’ve already straightened a lot of that out over the years. You’ve been exposed to different kinds of music, and your knowledge is much more advanced than when you were a kid. You know what you dig, and what you’d rather stay away from.
This awareness is super helpful when it comes to picking the right starter guitar and choosing lessons and music that will inspire you to practice. In this way, you’re a big step ahead of any teenager picking up the guitar for the first time.
3. You’re More Disciplined
So maybe you let the laundry pile up now and then, and you have trouble saying no to a piece of chocolate cake, but I’d guess you are still much more disciplined than the average teenager.
If you’ve managed to accomplish things like graduation from college, holding down a decent job, raising a kid, or maintaining a home you’ve proven you certainly have the discipline to learn guitar. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to it if it is something you really want to do.
The one common theme I hear from adults who say they want to learn guitar but never do seems to boil down to not really believing they can do it. Look around at the things you've accomplished in the rest of your life and you’ll see that’s not true! If you really want to learn to play guitar, you can!
4. You Have More Financial Resources
While most of us aren’t rolling in cash, it’s also true that our earning power is far greater than it was when we were kids. Most teenagers who learn guitar are stuck with low-budget instruments and amps, partly because their parents are not totally convinced they will stick with it. Problem is, crummy guitars aren’t very inspiring, and can even impair the learning process.
If you are an older guitar student you have no such issues. You’re in command of your cash flow, and you decide where your money goes. If you are in a good financial situation, the sky may be the limit. But even those of us on tighter budgets can find solid beginner’s gear for good prices.
Of course, you still have to reconcile your purchases with your spouse. I can’t help you there!
5. Realistic Expectations Can Save You From Misery
If you are over thirty and learning guitar for the first time, your head probably isn’t swimming with thoughts of becoming the next Jimi Hendrix. While you can certainly go on to become a semi-pro or even professional musician, it’s almost impossible for older, unknown musicians to make it big. That's just the culture we live in.
While this might sound a little depressing, from the right perspective it’s actually very liberating. As kids, many of us started out learning guitar with thoughts of becoming famous musicians and changing the world. As the years rolled by it became less and less likely this would happen until we eventually realized the ship has sailed. Now that’s depressing!
As an older guitar student, you can skip all that garbage and get straight to the place most of us eventually arrive at once we pass thirty. From the beginning, you can play guitar for the love of the instrument and the joy it brings you.
6. You Have Better Time Management Skills
Of course, there are adults out there who seem to never have a free moment, but most of us have way more free time than we did as kids. I think back to high school and between class, homework, a part-time job, sports practice, and spending required time with family I don’t know how I got anything else done.
The key today is the same as back then: Time management. If you want to find time to practice, you will. Maybe that means getting up early before work every day or skipping some television or internet time.
Kids have trouble buckling down and prioritizing. As an adult, you’ve already proven you can do this. If you are serious about learning guitar you know how to find a way to fit it into your schedule.
7. There Is No Pressure on an Older Guitar Student
Kids are hard on each other. Adults can be even tougher on kids. Remember the Twisted Sister video where the father berates the kid for wasting his time playing guitar in his room all day and demands to know what he is going to do with his life? The answer: I Wanna Rock!
When you’re a kid it’s really hard for other people to understand why you’re spending so much time with the guitar. Your classmates think you’re weird and adults think you’re headed for prison.
As an adult, you’ve already made your way in life. You don’t need to justify to anyone why you love the guitar, and nobody is going to judge you. For this reason alone, it’s a whole lot less pressure to learn guitar as an adult than as a teenager.
Which Side of This Discussion are You On Today?
8. Play Guitar and Reduce Stress
Everybody is stressed out these days. I know I am. When I have twenty minutes to close the door and plug in a guitar it is just as good as twenty minutes in a hot tub.
Music does great things for your brain, body, and soul. As an adult guitar student, approaching the instrument as a life-affirming recreational activity rather than some kind of mountain to conquer can make you more likely to practice, and will improve the quality of your practice sessions.
As an adult, you may find it easier to learn guitar once you realize how much it does for your mood and stress levels. When life seems to be trying to break you down, you’ll always have the guitar to get you through.
9. You Have More Support from Peers than You Realize
When you are a teenager, learning guitar often means you’ll find yourself with a group of like-minded peers who have similar goals. Once you get into your twenties many of those people have dropped out of music, but those who remain are serious, dedicated, and ready to conquer the world.
In your thirties things get rough. Even more people drop out and go off to live normal lives, and the only people left to jam with seem to be people who already have had some success or people who are a bit nuts. If you haven’t had success, you start to wonder if you are in the latter group.
But as you get older something interesting happens. People who love music, and gave up on it to pursue other careers, start to come back and relearn their instruments. In some cases, they even start performing again. Except this time they aren’t trying to conquer the world. They are just playing because they love it.
Life after thirty, for a guitarist, really is the golden years, and the perfect time to get into music.
10. You’re More Awesome than Ever Before!
So here it is, the tenth and best reason you are never too old to learn to play guitar. You are more awesome right now than you have been at any other period in your life! You have more experience, more knowledge, and more wisdom than you did when you were a kid. You know who you are and what you want. You’ve achieved so much in your life, and have been through a lot.
Maybe you’ve survived an illness, been through a divorce, beaten a bad habit or maybe you just feel like it’s time for a change. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell every adult who says they want to learn to play guitar: You can do it if you really want to, and you’ll never regret it.
If learning guitar is on your bucket list, do it now, because you are more prepared for the challenge than at any other point in your life.
What Are You Waiting For?
I started playing guitar when I was twelve years old. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’ve never regretted it. Over the years I’ve known many adults who said they wanted to learn, and I’ve always done my best to encourage them. I can’t imagine my life without the guitar, and I want them to have the same joy as I’ve been lucky enough to experience.
Some listen, and some don’t. I’ll never understand why some people are so reluctant to pursue their dreams, but then again I know some things they don’t. So, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that learning guitar, or any instrument that inspires you, will be one of the smartest choices of your life. You’ll never regret it, and it will benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine.
You’re never too old to learn to play guitar, so what are you waiting for?
Too Old for the Guitar?
Beginner Guitar Resources
- Acoustic Guitars for Beginners
Check out some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, all under $200 and from some of the top brands in the guitar world
- Electric Guitars for Beginners
Read this shortlist and discover the top ten guitars that are best for beginners, all under $200 and from big names in the guitar world.
- Guitar Amps for Beginners
Discover the best guitar amps under $100 for beginners, all from top brand names, plus learn what to look for in your very first guitar amp.
Guitar Gopher (author) on September 10, 2020:
That's awesome, Alice! Keep it up!
Alice Eskes on September 10, 2020:
Hi , I pick up my guitar on Jan.7th and I turned 80 in Feb. Here it is Sept 7th and I'm still at it Practice everyday and now I am at the point where I trying to change Chords with more speed and and smoother
Guitar Gopher (author) on August 18, 2020:
@ Sandra - Good for you! I'm glad you aren't letting anything slow you down! There are lots of great resources on the web. I'd start with YouTube and do a few searches of whatever you are interested in learning. Good luck!
Sandra D Steadman on August 17, 2020:
I never had a music lesson in my life. My brother bought me a guitar. So here I am at 65 learning . Right now, my in person classes are on hold so I am looking to the internet for help.
Guitar Gopher (author) on July 18, 2020:
Good luck, Beth! You can do it if you try!
Beth Hartshorn on July 18, 2020:
I am 70 and i have loved music all of my life with a passion! I should have learned the guitar tears Go but i am now going to give it a go ! Wish me luck please!
David on July 14, 2020:
I'm 52 and never had a music lesson in my life. However, I am inspired by you all. I want to do something during this pandemic that will make me happy going forward. Thanks y'all
Frankie on June 16, 2020:
I've always wanted to play the guitar since I was in my early teen. We were too poor and I couldn't afford one. Over the years I borrowed my friends guitars and practice strumming and learning chords. Never gave up the idea through my adult years but could never find the time to take it up seriously. 10 years ago bought my very first guitar. Sadly the guitar collected dust in the loft. A year ago after retirement I took it up again and resurrected an old friend. I have now improved quite a fair bit. Thanks for your very useful advise.
otto on November 30, 2019:
Guitar Gopher (author) on November 29, 2019:
Good luck, Marge! Set aside a small amount of time for practice every day. You can do it!
Marge on November 28, 2019:
Im 18 n I've always loved music, I bought my own guitar acouple months ago but got discouraged n didnt seem to have the time to practice, today I took it out of the case n practiced for awhile, I made up my mind I will learn to play no matter what, and not get discouraged this time, thank you for all the tips, I really need to practice more.
Guitar Gopher (author) on September 22, 2019:
@Danny - If you have been trying for 45 years there is no point in giving up now! Seriously. We all have limitations, but if you really want to play guitar don't stop trying.
Danny on September 21, 2019:
I have been trying to play a guitar since 30 years old, now at 75 I still can't, short sausage fingers I suppose
햄봉이 on August 26, 2019:
thank you. actually I bought guitar last year, but I tried only 2-3 times. Now it is time to practice.
Guitar Gopher (author) on July 23, 2019:
@Beth - Thank you so much for the kind words, and I'm really happy to hear you have made the decision to learn guitar. It's great that you have a network of advanced guitarists around you so you can ask questions and get advice from more experienced players. Of course do not ever hesitate to ask a question in the comments section of one of my articles and I will help as best I can.
Good luck! You have an exciting future ahead of you and I feel honored to have played a small part in it.
Beth from Jersey on July 22, 2019:
Loved this article! My father was a sound engineer in the 70s and 80s and I spent a huge chunk of my childhood and teens in a support role on stage with my dad (I could probably still mic a drum kit if I had to, even though it has been 30 years, LOL). When my father left the life, I did, too, for reasons that don't make sense to me now. Music is and always has been a major constant in my life and I've decided to learn how to play guitar at the age of 53. Your articles have been super informative (I've read quite a few) and you helped me decide which guitar to get - a Squier Affinity Strat. Picked it up today and can't wait to start. I have 3 guitarist friends with decades of experience that are unbelievably supportive and excited that I've finally decided to dive in. Thanks so much for your excellent advice and I will be watching your posts in the future.
Guitar Gopher (author) on July 19, 2019:
@Kellygirl1225 - Congratulations on making the decision to get back into guitar! A good instructor should be able to teach any age student, and I hope you find one. If not, there are plenty of ways to learn guitar without one, including books, online videos on YouTube and computer-based systems like RockSmith.
Good luck, and don't let anyone stand in your way! You are an inspiration!
Kellygirl1225 on July 18, 2019:
I’m a septuagenarian if you want to figure that out. Took some lessons more than 50 years ago. Brought a guitar home from Goodwill. No brand but it said ‘buy me’. Don’t even have a pick but I looked online for ideas to learn online. I’d love to have an instructor who believes a senior can learn. I’m looking locally and hope I find someone. Meantime I’m trying to practice the 3 chords I remember, C G7 and D. I want to play for my own enjoyment and used to love picking through melodies. I want that back.
Guitar Gopher (author) on June 27, 2019:
Thank you, Robert! Good luck and don't give up!
Robert on June 26, 2019:
I'm 60 going to restart , I must say , you are an inspiration. TY
Guitar Gopher (author) on April 18, 2019:
@Kimberly - What a great story! You are surely an inspiration for your children, and I hope for everyone who reads your comment here as well.
Kimberley on April 17, 2019:
I am astounded at how easily I am learning.
Mother of 3 under six.
Busy and whirlwind of a life, but time to learn something I always wanted to but never had the willingness to do.
Some chords are a real bugger to get because I have a small hand span. And I find bar chords something i am not keen on tackling as of yet, however I have already learned a number of songs and two in particular, finger picking ones, I mastered in about a week.
I am beyond thrilled. I truly never thought I could do this. I also expected a really hard and long slog before I felt any reward. And its only been 4months.
If you can give yourself at least 30 minutes a day.... you will feel the benefit
The best part is, my 3 little people are watching. Eager to learn. My 6yr old is now learning piano. Her younger sister is itching to learn drums. The whole experience is a serious achievement.
You just need to have a willingness.
I was gifted a cute blue Classical Nylon string guitar at Christmas. Was great to get started.
In March I decided to buy a steel string acoustic Cort guitar to help improve my form. As i said, my finger span seems limited due to small hands, so moving to the steel string was a good choice as frets are closer together.
I also chose a guitar with a pick up should i fancy plugging her in one day! haha
All in all, my callouses are well and truly formed and here to stay
And the number of songs I am desperate to learn... well it's endless.
Please, if you want to try learning, believe its worth the effort.
And Good Luck! You only live once
Binh Duong on December 27, 2018:
I am 58 year old but still play , i think that's help me to relax my mind, event i am not a great player just teach myself how to play my own way, but i'm very happy with it.
Guitar Gopher (author) on November 16, 2018:
That's awesome, Kim! Just have patience and don't quit. You'll never regret it learning to play guitar.
Kim on November 15, 2018:
I’m going for it!
Been thinking about it for a while now. 58 years old
Guitar Gopher (author) on September 21, 2018:
Congratulations, Louie, and good luck learning guitar. There are a couple of articles on beginner guitars linked at the bottom of this article.
I have many more articles about guitars for different genres and skill levels. This ought to get your started.
louie on September 20, 2018:
so i am 30 years old, and it has been my dream to play an instrument. I'm always jealous of those people who can play guitar. now, my next step is to buy a guitar, any suggestions?
anandam on September 08, 2018:
what an inspiring post. I just turned 59 and have never played a instrument but am going to start now. thank you.
String along on January 17, 2017:
Fretting about my brain losing stuff as I'm now over 70. Thanks to this article I will dust off my old acoustic languishing in the loft! Thanks!
Guitar Gopher (author) on December 22, 2016:
Hi ridestuff. Congrats on starting an amazing journey! The first thing you need to do is learn to tune the thing. Then, start learning some basic chords. There is a ton of info around the internet that can help you out. Here's an article I wrote on getting started. Since you already have a guitar you can skip ahead to the parts about learning to play, etc. Good luck!
ridestuff on December 21, 2016:
Turned 45 recently, and today my wife bought me a beautiful blue guitar. I can't wait to start some lessons. Any tips in the mean time? I can't read a lick of music... Thanks for this article!
Guitar Gopher (author) on August 10, 2015:
That's awesome, Tony! Keep up the great work! (But I'm sure I don't have to tell you that!)
TonyD79 on August 09, 2015:
Thanks for the encouraging article, I'm over 50, picked up playing guitar after a 27 year lapse and been playing straight now for nearly 4 years. I'm working almost entirely on the road and could not find a better thing to do with my spare time. I do online lessons with Guitartricks, join Meetup guitar groups when I can and catch some private lessons when home in the Philadelphia area. I hope one day to be part of a small band for fun or volunteer with another guitar friend for the disabled and seniors. I now don't look back but look ahead!
Guitar Gopher (author) on July 30, 2015:
Good for you ,Greg! You won't regret it!
Greg on July 29, 2015:
57 gunna go for it
Prasana on January 21, 2015:
I am an adult learner.I love practicing guitar.This article is very good and informative.I love to play guitar.thanks for sharing.
Guitar Gopher (author) on September 21, 2014:
Good luck, Rusty. You definitely won't regret learning a few chords.
Rusty Quill on September 20, 2014:
Hey good news I've always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I bought one in college but my sister borrowed it and I never saw it again. Now I bought one for my daughter but it just sits in her room... time for this old dog to learn a new trick. :)
Guitar Gopher (author) on September 13, 2014:
Thanks Eric! I appreciate the kind words.
Eric Mikols from New England on September 13, 2014:
Voted way up. This is great and exactly what I need to hear. Thanks for writing this!
Guitar Gopher (author) on August 19, 2014:
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on August 18, 2014:
Hi, Liked this I have taught many older students and I think they try harder and practice more. I have a lens on Seniors Have There Own Guitar Class. Like your style, well I love reading about guitars
Guitar Gopher (author) on April 21, 2014:
Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on April 19, 2014:
Big thumbs up!!!!!!!!!! Yep, and also, learning new things always expands the capabilities of the human brain; and playing some music can be very stress relieving!