Do I need Musical talent to learn to play Guitar?

Talented woman playing Guitar

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question! Do I need musical talent to learn to play the guitar?

Because it comes from someone who really dreams of playing but has doubts.

But you don’t need musical talent to play the guitar, it’s a learned skill, you build it one step at a time.

Music is a tribal drive for most people. We love to share music with our family and friends. It can bond two strangers together in one night. Indeed, even cross social barriers in our ever-shrinking world.

The truth is that anyone and I mean anyone, can learn to play the guitar. But there are a few elements that have to be there from the start, to make magic happen.

  1. The desire must be so strong that you will keep at it until you succeed
  2. You have committed to finding a way, no matter the challenges
  3. You are willing to play for 15 minutes a day, at least 3 times a week
  4. You have a plan on how to learn and will stick to it.
  5. You will find a coach and a community
  6. You can close your eyes and see yourself playing. Practice the end result.
  7. You’ve decided to NOT listen to anyone else, this is your dream!

Is Talent Fact or Fiction?

So why should you believe me? Let’s look at the real world of musicians. Not all the guitarists you meet started playing as children, in fact, many started when they could afford their first guitar. There it is sitting in the corner, waiting for them to remember that dream and make a plan of action. No, really I’m joking!

Most of the best guitarists I know just say, “I wanted to play because it looked (cool, girls liked it, or I wanted to sing along) so I just started to play. They had a few lessons, asked friends, and sat in and played along.

They didn’t think do I need musical talent to play, they just had a go. When they started, they probably sounded terrible, same chords, same rifts. The trick was that they just kept learning and playing because the dream in their heads was stronger.

Big things start in small ways. Take any sport or hobby. How long did it take to master that new skill? Did that person have a hidden talent or did they just love the idea of being good at an interest they had? Look at people around you who seem to have so-called talent, their skills developed over time, sometimes over decades.

The secret ingredient!

Desire Black forest cake

DESIRE is what drives us. Every day in everything we do. From the moment we wake up to when we go to bed, desire drives us.

You need to find the trigger that will make you stop what you MUST do and just play. Even if it’s only a 15-minute lesson. A piece of music. One song. Or a few notes. or scale.

What are the triggers for most of us?

You hear a song and it transports you, the words make you happy, above all it feeds your soul.

As a result, you walk to where your guitar is, sit, and start noodling. It’s a simple chord but you like the way it sounds.

Consequently, you find the song you love on the internet. Google the chords and lyrics, the little chord chart shows you each chord and where to put your fingers. You learn the four chords for the song. All of a sudden, you’re playing your first song.

Finally, you try playing along with the original. It doesn’t sound too bad, maybe tomorrow you will sound a bit better. You hum along as you play. Baby steps! Each one is a challenge and a joy when achieved.

Are you smart enough?

Of course, you are! Did you learn to walk? Probably, pretty good at it by now. You stood up, fell down, and tried again until you mastered it. Were there some tears? Maybe. Any talent is worth working for and sweeter for the struggle. It might take you longer than you had hoped. You might want to give up but the determined will always win over the genius who quits.

Quitters never win, and winners never quit!

It’s amazing how much smarter you become when you practice a new skill until it becomes unconscious. As a result, you will surprise yourself how a little can go a long way.

I have small hands and short fingers?

Small hands of a little girl playing pink guitar
You are never too young to start learning guitar

This is a total misconception about playing the guitar. People come in all shapes and sizes and so do guitars. Many famous guitarists have small hands.

There are hand exercises to help you stretch. Three-quarter size or children’s guitars. Also, it’s possible to play slide guitar across your lap.

There is always a way when the desire is strong enough. Spend half an hour looking at You Tubes of children playing or classical guitarists. Young women holding rock guitars almost as big as they are.

Be flexible and make it work for you. One reason that is used for giving up, is that the strings really hurt the fingers when you first start playing. True.

Until you build up some callous on your fingertips, it can really hurt playing a steel-string guitar, depending on how much you play. Here’s a tip. Buy a nylon string guitar with a THIN neck to learn on, if the pain would put you off.

Most people think you can only buy nylon string guitars with 2 inch thick necks but that’s not true. Many guitars including the Cardoba have a thinner neck. Or a similar size to steel acoustic and electric guitars. Some electric guitars are the easiest guitars to push down the strings but the steel may still cut a little. Ask yourself if hurting fingers will make you quit, before buying your first guitar?

Interested in buying a guitar to fit you perfectly, check out these links in Australia and the USA.

 Free shipping and the guaranteed lowest price as

  What is the trick? Total focus!

Intense focus of a little dog
You need to have moments of Intense Focus

Natural talent as we all seem to recognize it is when someone tries something new to them and just seems to pick up the details very quickly. This can be in any area of our lives and to be honest, can really annoy you if you’re not the one with the so-called natural talent.

  • Let’s look at this logically. Why would someone appear to be comfortable with a new skill?
  • Perhaps they grew up around someone who played the guitar, so they noticed how they held their hands
  • Maybe their bodies, hands, and arms are very flexible and seem to naturally curl around a guitar neck

In several fields I have trained in, I have noticed these people and they all have one talent that makes anything new seem to come easier. They really pay attention. You can see them working it out in their heads as they watch. They have developed the Art of Accelerated learning.

I will cover this in another post but think about it, How do you learn?

Learning how to learn is a skill that some people develop unconsciously through their lives, just by watching their parents, siblings, and friends. Perhaps they learned it in school or University. So you can too.

Fun and Application

Learning isn’t all fun but if you create a plan that fits your personality and goals, you will be motivated to practice. Focused practice, planned practice, even if it is for 15 minutes a day will help you reach your goal.

learn slowly, study. Young woman playing guitar with computer to watch
Starting at any age can be fun and easy
  • What you need to do is find the coach that suits you, they could be online or someone in your local town.
  • Make sure you are confident that they can teach you at a pace that works for you.
  • Take notes on what you learn and track your progress.
  • Learn slowly and gradually speed it up
  • Have a set routine for practice, this could include playing your favorite song just before you pick up your guitar. This will inspire you.
  • Play and sing along with your favorite songs
  • Ask your instructor for chords for these songs
  • Take control of your journey and remember there will be good days and bad days.

You might enjoy reading about an awesome course that I have used for 8 years. Steve Krenz, who lives in Nashville, teaches Guitar live on the internet and through his DVD Course.

Last but not least is have FUN, it will keep you going long enough to BUILD a talent.

Mistakes are good, that’s how we learn. So ‘Fail forward and you’ll succeed.’

Please feel free to contact me or make a comment.


43 thoughts on “Do I need Musical talent to learn to play Guitar?”

  1. Learning guitar is just a matter of passion and maybe a vary small level of professional training too to become an expert but everything mostly is from personal training. I play guitar and I just simply learned it by myself without anybody’s help. I developed the skills by buying a guitar and playing it consistently, with full focus and desire to be better at it.

    Although, I admit that I watched a lot of tutorials online from great guitarists giving examples and tutorial videos. However, talent too is an option. Someone might have a talent in it due to their passionate and focus and desire to know it, while others might just be out of constant practise. The key is just to practise with passion and to keep on getting good at it. I play it though I have short fingers but that doesn’t deter me, rather it helps me to find my unique ways of playing. Great post!

  2. The image of my little girl kept coming to my head, as I read through this post. She sings very well and out of the love for singing she desires to learn to play a guitar. Her elder brother, my son play the drums for her and now she wants to learn how to play guitar but her fingers are pretty small and it’s heart breaking to us, as he always wants the big guitar and not the small ones. Reading this post have given me an insight, as to how I can help her with it. Thanks for this really nice post

    • I’m delighted this helped, as the whole website is aimed at girls and women wanting to learn guitar.  You’ve made my day. Thank you for reviewing my post and good luck with your daughter. 

      Please let me know if I can help in any way further. 

  3. I don’t have a guitar, but from a young age, I really liked the idea of playing. A cousin of mine played the guitar from a young age and still plays amazing. He did not play professionally, however. I believe that it is enough to really want it and even if you do not have the talent, your desire and your appetite for that is enough to push you to learn. This is what I’m going to ask my daughter when she grows up. If she says to me that she wants to learn a musical instrument and especially a guitar, I will be delighted as I always adore the guitar. Thanks for the encouraging and eye-opener article.

    • So glad you enjoyed it and that your daughter might have the joy of playing one day.

      Please contact me if I can help down the track with more information for your lovely girl. 


  4. Fun and focus. Wow, these are really good ingredients to learn. I have always liked music from when I was young but I never had the chance to learn due to many reasons. I really like the guitar, and I love people that can play them. You have given terrific answers to all the misconceptions that surround playing the guitar. I think I should give it a go myself. Thank you  for the great inspiration.

  5. I love playing the guitar 🎸 and I started playing with music because I was a singer but stopped playing when I was 20 years old but I am thinking of buying a guitar and starting to play so you have where I can find reasonable ones? And how do I find a coach I live in Italy but would love an English Speaking Coach.

    I hope to hear from you and looking forward to more information on how to pick up my guitar and start playing again because the desire is still there.

    • You are very kind Cinderella and we will chat and find you a new guitar and coach online. It’s time to be a joyful guitarist singer again. You need a caring community to support you.  Take a look at my review of  it could be perfect for you.

      Chat soon,


      I’ve just written a blog on guitars that might interest you Cinderella.Buying a guitar is like buying perfume, so very personal. I have 4 guitars that I play for different styles of music. A nylon String Cordoba for classical and Jazz, an Ovation with steel strings for onstage bright strumming music, another steel string to take to the beach and a solid body electric guitar for learning rock and lead on.
      Once you have decided what sort of music you wish to play then you will be able to decide.
      Here’s to an exciting time re starting your guitar playing.
      Hope this helps.


  6. I am a huge fan of music and the guitar, it is my favourite instrument to play and I couldn’t agree with you more, about you not needing musical talent to play guitar because it is a learnt skill, which you build one step at a time.

    Just like every other thing in life, all you need to excel in music is a strong desire and your ability to enjoy what you are doing. Of course, you have to be smart and focused to enable you to play the guitar perfectly. 

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring and informative post. I always have fun playing the guitar and anyone that follows your tips will definitely enjoy doing same. 

    Thanks once again.


  7. I have always wanted to play at least one musical instrument, but have never had the guts to go out there. I always feel like I will have to sing when I play, which is something I cannot do to save my life.

    I am glad that you have confirmed it is a learnt skill. I will just have the courage and step into a class and learn the guitar. Thank you for the reminder that I should have a plan and stick to it. I cannot wait to be in that place where I will be playing the guitar without even looking at the strings.

    Thank you for your encouragement in this great article. Much appreciated!

    • I’m delighted that it has inspired you Carol. Skip the singing and enjoy the playing. Making music for pleasure is the key.

      Something just for you to enjoy. 

      Let me know if I can help in any way. 


  8. Hi, thanks! What you say here is very true. I decided to start learning guitar back in 2011. And I did it more through consistent practice. I don’t think I had any innate guitar skills that anyone else wouldn’t have. I definitely had a way of practicing things through repetition though. I used to do these chord-changing “drills” over and over and of course scales. If I wanted to learn a song I started slow on a metronome and built up the speed. 

    When I started guitar I didn’t know how to follow a rhythm. But some how it clicked and I learned it. That was a fun time. Being able to follow a rhythm for the first time in my life. 

    So I agree with you! Even if someone doubts their innate guitar skills, as long as they are able to practice consistently, they will get it. The guitar really opened up for me within about a year of practicing that way. Thanks!

  9. I love music and I would love to play a guitar, 

    I’m happy I found your website, many years ago I started to play a guitar, but I was busy with school and other things so I stopped it.

    Now I have time and I would love to learn how to play it, as you said there’s nothing that can stop you if you’re really interested, not my small hands and fingers or not even I’m terrible at signing.

    Having fun at it and focus on it, I might get it this time. I will bookmark your website to come back, as I’m interested to learn to play a guitar. 

    • Thanks for your comment Alejandra,

      Definitely have a try. You might find picking a simple song that you love, to learn first will keep you motivated.  Sounds like a small body, nylon string with a narrow neck might make learning fun for you.

      I will be doing a review on guitars and other courses very soon. 

      Let me know if I can help in any way. 

      I’ll be writing more posts, I hope you enjoy them.



  10. I’ve been trying guitar for 4 years now, and in that time, there are some things that I have definitely learned. You are correct in saying that you don’t need talent, because you don’t, but you seem to have forgotten that you do need to have some level of aptitude for the instrument. Aptitude is something you can’t achieve, you either have it or you don’t. I wish there was a way to determine if I had said aptitude before I started trying to play the guitar, because it would have saved me a ton of frustration. It also bothers me when people say that anyone can learn to play the guitar. I still can’t do after 4 years what a beginner could do in the first 6 months, even despite my practicing for 15 minutes every day. So, either the premise that anyone can play the guitar is faulty, or, there is something wrong with me as a person that I have yet to make any progress after 4 years of trying. Thirdly, everyone I’ve talked to, and everything I’ve read has told me that learning guitar is (supposed to be) fun, but nothing I’ve read and nobody I’ve asked can tell me how it’s fun, or what I can do to make it fun. Since you seem to know, any light you can shed on this would go a long way in helping me decide if it’s worth it to continue trying to play the guitar.

    • Hi Mark, I can totally understand how frustrated you feel and I applaud you for sticking to it for so long! It would be easier to advise you if I knew what you were practicing in that 15 minutes a day, so I can only give you a general answer from my experience.
      The best idea for you to do now is to think about why you wanted to play guitar? If it was to just learn to play a song to sing along to or play the melody to then there are ways to make this super easy and fun to learn.

      If on the other hand, you want to learn all the theory of how to play music on the guitar this can get a little dry.

      Get back to me and tell me exactly what you practice and why you want to play and I will design a plan for you, ok?


      • I’ve wanted to play the guitar just as a hobby. It’s something that I would do by myself, in the privacy of my house, where nobody would ever hear me play. There is certain music I listen to that makes me wish I could play it. I have no desire to play for an audience or write my own music. Is this enough of a reason to keep trying, or should I just let this go and find another hobby? I haven’t been practicing lately, because my practice has not been producing results, hence my frustration. I don’t see the point in practicing when I’m not getting any better.

        • Hi Mark,

          I hear what you are saying but it is probably because you are in a rut with your playing. We all hit a plateau at some point, I know I did about 3 years ago. I was a bit bored with what I was playing and I wasn’t improving but I found another way to learn that has made all the difference. I chose one piece of music that I wanted to be able to play and found a recording of it on YouTube, I then found the chords and notes on the internet and printed them off. What I do is play along with the original, it sounds great even when I am just learning and inspires me to keep trying. If the music is too fast I learn the song in chunks, I practice two bars or 3 – 4 chords and play these with the music over and over and so on. Pretty soon I am playing the whole song.

          Try this out and let me know how it works for you or we will find another way. Don’t give up!

          • I’ve done that for more songs then I would care to remember. It’s hard to get consensus on the song I want to try, because everybody does things a little differently from everyone else. I’m really not interested in trying an approach that I know, from having tried it, doesn’t work. If I can’t find an approach that actually works, I will give up.

          • Hi Mark, I’m sorry to hear that playing with a song didn’t work for you. It’s totally up to you if you want to give up. Have you tried doing some online lessons with either Jamplay or one of the other structured lesson platforms? You sound like you have lost the will to learn and this happens sometimes, perhaps you need to have a break until you are inspired to learn again? What can motivate us is different for everyone, I know that I have had to search a few times over the 40 years I’ve played to get back to playing again. Sometimes all I need was a break.

      • I answered your question a week ago, but haven’t heard anything since. Should I take this as a sign that I should give up? Because that’s what I’m ready to do

        • I’m starting to get tired of trying. It seems like I just don’t have what it takes to learn how to play the guitar. For the amount of time and effort I’ve put in over the 4 years I’ve tried, I should be able to play with some level of proficiency, yet I still can’t. I wish people would stop telling me that anyone can play the guitar when that clearly isn’t the case. It’s hard to want to keep trying when all I do is fail.

          • I’m sorry to hear that Mark but maybe you are unique. You’ve given it a really good try so maybe you might have to try something else.
            You have a right to feel sad and frustrated.

  11. I’m pretty sure I’m not that unique. I just want to know what I need to do to actually get better at guitar. I’ve gone through what seems like a million different teachers, and instead of answering my questions and helping me, they all just ignore me and won’t help me actually figure it out. I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I didn’t want to be able to do this. Why won’t anyone help me? Also, is it possible to have fun from the outset, or do I have to have some level of mastery before it starts to be fun?

    • Hi Mark, you actually didn’t answer my questions. Have you tried lessons with Jamplay or any other online guitar course? List what you have tried so that I know and can advise you. I can’t answer a general question with no facts.
      What do you class as fun? What can you do on a guitar?

      If you answer these questions maybe I can help you.

      • I’ve tried the online course at TrueFire. I’ve also tried one on one lessons with multiple different instructors. I can’t do anything on a guitar. I consider something fun if I want to spend every free moment I have doing it, if I actually look forward to the next opportunity I’ll have to do it. I’m not really sure what this has to do with making learning the guitar fun. I hope this is what you’re looking for

        • It seems to me Mark that you’ve lost the desire to learn to play guitar. I’m not sure that anything I say will help you. Only you can find what works for you in learning guitar, all the tools in the world can’t do it for you and an instructor can only present you with ideas. I actually create the lessons that I want when I work with my instructor. It’s either a new chord for a song that I don’t know how to play or how to be better at my timing. Perhaps you need to think about how you can move from not playing to playing a simple tune.

          • If I’ve lost the desire to play the guitar, then why am I still trying? If all the tools in the world can’t do it for me, then how will I be able to go from not playing to playing a simple tune? Is playing the guitar a skill that anyone can learn, or are you telling me that it’s just not possible for me to learn this particular skill? Your article says one thing but your responses to me are saying something completely different. I just want to know what I can do to make my practice fun. Why is it that I can’t get an answer to that question?

          • Hi Mark, It seems that with all the answers in the world you are unable to learn to play guitar, that’s a shame. You seem to think that this is my fault but perhaps you don’t want to find a solution. I don’t think you are able to learn this skill and even if you were sitting beside me now I don’t think you would be able to tell me why. Learning to play is simple, you learn a note, you learn a chord, and you practice until you can do those things. It’s obvious that you are not doing the basics or you would be making some progress. My article asks the question do I need talent to learn to play guitar and my answer is still no. You just need to start simple and practice. Application is your problem, not the tools. I’m telling you the truth.
            I seriously believe that you are now just trying to be annoying and really don’t have a desire to really play. Goodbye!

  12. I do have the desire the play, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. I want to find a solution, which is why I’m continuing to ask the questions that I have been asking. I am doing the basics when I practice, but, after a certain point, I’m not seeing any progress. What is it that I need to do to get over that hump and get to where I want to get with the guitar? I’m trying to find a way to be successful with this, and I was hoping that an expert, like you, could help me get there.

      • I can make (most) of the open chord shapes, but I can’t get my fretting hand to move any faster then it does presently. Whenever I try a strumming pattern for a song that I’m working on, there is a beat that is being missed that shouldn’t because my fretting hand isn’t where it should be when it should be there. I’ve also noticed that, when strumming, I’m still either hitting strings that I shouldn’t be hitting (I hit the A string when trying to play a D chord), or I won’t hit all the strings that I should be hitting (when playing a C add 9, I’ll completely miss hitting the A string which is fretted to play a C note). There are other examples I could give here, but that would make this post endless. You just need to know that there are issues with my technique that, because I’ve been trying this instrument for 4 years now, shouldn’t still be happening. Also, is there a way we can have this conversation privately?

        • Hi Mark, got it! Thanks for giving me the details. Many of my students have this problem and funny enough there is a weird fix but you might not like it. Firstly, when you practice only focus on one hand at a time because the problems are different. With your left-hand slow fretting, the solution funny enough is to practice at a much, much slower speed. Choose two chord shapes close to each other, such as open D and C. Now I want you to really concentrate on each finger position (D) hold the shape and turn your head to watch your right hand strum, only strum the top 4 strings (be accurate). You only cheat yourself by being careless.
          Now change your left hand to the C shape, are your fingers correct? Check your right hand and strum straight down.
          Next, change back to the D, check, strum, change to C, check, strum etc. I don’t care how slowly you do this, you are going for accuracy not speed. Practice this for 15 minutes a day. Change to two new chords and do the same. Later you will start to play along with a metronome to straighten out your tempo.

          The only way that you can fix this technical problem is slowly, honestly. In a way, you will have to dismantle the way you have been playing to be accurate and slowly speed up. I worked through this issue about 10 years ago. It wasn’t pleasant but it worked. I worked hard at it and it was about a month that it all fell into place. You have to get to a point where you know that your left hand will find the chord shapes without you looking and you know that you will only hit the strings you want with your right hand. There’s no easy bullet.
          Let me know how you go in a week.

          • Why is it that I’m still having this problem? It seems to me that I should be beyond this, given that I’ve been trying to play the guitar for 4 years now. It doesn’t feel like I’m making any progress by still having to work out issues that any other player would have mastered within the first six months of playing. This, to me, is where talent comes in to play. Anyone with talent would already be past this problem and able to work on more complex aspects of guitar. This is why I want to know how to make practicing fun, because if I can’t make it fun, I’ll probably just quit, and I don’t want that.

          • I don’t have any more ideas, Mark. You will have to decide. I’ve given you a practical solution to the problem and it is your choice if you don’t wish to try it. I still believe that you don’t need the talent to play guitar just solid practice of the techniques. If you believe that it takes talent then that is your choice. You can’t blame guitar teachers because you want the results before the work. Only you can work out what is fun to you. It’s time that you worked out a solution for yourself. We’ve been around and around and really you need to find your own solution.

  13. Well how long do I have to keep doing these basic things before I start seeing results? I’m not blaming teachers because I want results before the work. I want to know how much work I need to put in before I get the desired results, and I want to know why the work I’ve already put in hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Do I need solid practice for 4 years? 6 years? 10 years? Why is it so difficult to get my questions answered?

    • Hi Mark, honestly you are asking a question that anyone would need a crystal ball to answer. How long is a piece of string? Only you can answer this question because it’s based on how often you practice and what you do in that practice. How long do you think it will take? How badly do you want to improve? Only you can know why the work you have done hasn’t given you the results you desire. Teachers are not gods. Perhaps you need to stop asking questions that no one can answer, analyze what practice you do and how and come up with a plan that you think will get you the results that you want.
      I would be happy to review a plan of action that you think will get you the results you want. You need to work this out for yourself.


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