Taking up a new instrument or hobby is often a difficult decision. There’s often a cost involved, and until you try it yourself it’s hard to know whether you’ll like it. So, I did some surveys to find out whether people think learning guitar is worth it. Here’s what I found.
It’s a good idea to learn guitar, and it is worth it. A survey of 117 people found that the vast majority, 82.0% said that guitar is fun. Beginner guitars are also very inexpensive, they cost on average $100 to $200 so the start up cost is low.
Guitar makes a great hobby. And there are little no drawbacks. Below, I will explain the results of the survey, as well as, how guitar compares to learning other instruments. Then explain the main reasons that learning guitar is worth it.
Is It Worth Buying a Guitar?
I’ve had a few instances in my life where I’ve bought something pretty expensive and then realized I didn’t like it, and ended up not pursuing it anymore. It often left me feeling like a wasted that money, and that it was a mistake.
Obviously, everyone makes mistakes and it should be avoided where possible. So, how can you know ahead of time whether getting a guitar is worth it? A good way is to see what people have to say about it and identify any common trends.
One such trend is how many people that take up guitar, or have tried guitar find it fun.
Most everyone who plays guitar finds it fun
To shed more light on whether it will be worth it for you to get a guitar I did a survey to see how any people think guitar is fun. Here’s the results:
|Question posed: ‘Is guitar fun?’||Percent of people who chose each response|
|Yes, guitar is fun||82.05%|
|No, guitar is not very fun||17.95%|
The number of people that responded is 117. As you can see most people said that guitar is fun. But, still a decent amount of people, about 1 in 5 said that guitar is fun. So, the chances that you’ll also find guitar fun is very high.
Something you can share with friends and family easily
Once you learn a few simple chords you can learn a lot of sing along songs. All of the chords that are used commonly can be mastered fairly easily with a few tips you pick up along the way.
For example A LOT, and I mean A LOT of songs use the same 3 to 6 chord patterns. So, one you learn the common chords you can play a lot of different songs.
Most common pop songs, sing along songs, and songs you’d play with friends are very easy to play and learn. So, without much effort you can have a lot of fun with friends and family by singing songs together.
Also, the sky’s the limit and you can develop your skills on the guitar to a very high level. Essentially the more you play the more you’ll discover. I’ll share one trick here, that will really help. Remember I said this so you can come back to it. With a C Major chord. You can put your little finger on the third fret of the first string.
And then strum all of the strings. This makes it much easier to play the common C, G, F, chord pattern.
A skill you’ll always have and guitars are always around
A guitar is almost always around. And a lot of people know and are excited about playing the guitar. So, it’s easy to be reminded about how to play the various common chords. It’s common one person will have a guitar, and pass it around. Or, there’ll be some time where you can play it.
But, it won’t be long before you’ll want to get your own one. So, you can practice as much as you want.
The cost of a beginner guitar is very cheap & can last a long time
Guitars range in price anywhere from $100 to $10,000+ brand new. For beginners a cheap guitar is recommended because you won’t have yet decided if guitar is for you. On top of that you’ll also need a guitar case.
Some guitar some with a case whereas others don’t. It varies depending on where you buy it from. To give you an idea I compiled some data from the leading guitar brands, Fender, Ibanez, and Gibson to see how many of their guitars come with a case. I compiled the data, in this article about whether guitars come with a case.
Here’s a table that shows the cost of guitar and how the differ based on the price:
|Price range||Quality||Distinguishing characteristics|
|$100 to $350||Cheap guitars – low end||Doesn’t sound bad. Can have a twang which is a metallic sound quality to it when played loudly.|
Extreme ends of the note range don’t produce a sustained tone.
|$350 to $1,000||Mid range – good guitar||Sounds mostly perfect. Minor sound imperfections at the high and low ends of the tonal range.|
|$1,000 to $7,000||High end – very good||Extremely good and clear sound, the best sound quality you can get when you buy a guitar.|
|$7,000 +||Extremely high end – collectors items||Collectors items such as a guitar owned by famous guitarists like the Beatles or Kirk Hammett. |
Also guitars that are finished with expensive materials like gemstones, and precious metals such as gold.
I’ve been playing guitar for more than 5 years, and started off with a cheap guitar, and then upgraded to a midrange guitar. I also looked around on reddit threads and the like to see what others recommend. The general consensus is to start with a cheap guitar. In the price range of one to two hundred dollars.
Guitars at the same price range differ a lot in sound quality and action
With guitars you get what you pay for. But, some guitars at the same price range can sound better than others. Some also have better action than others. Action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard.
A high action guitar has strings which are further away from the fretboard which makes them much harder to play.
Therefore, if you have the option you should definitely inspect the action of various guitars at different price ranges. And definitely get one that has strings that are closer to the fretboard. If you can, play a few notes on the guitar and see what sound you like the best.
The store clerk can definitely be a big help in this regard as they’ll have a lot of experience and a well trained ‘ear’ and they can give you a recommendation for whether one guitar sound better than another even thought they’re at the same price range.
What Guitar Is Easiest To Play?
There are acoustic, and electric guitars. And there are nylon string and steel string guitars. They all have varying degrees of difficult to play. So, I thought I’d share which is hardest.
Electric guitar is the easiest to play. A survey of 73 guitarists found that 80.88% said that electric guitar is the easiest. Nylon string acoustic guitars are the next easiest. Acoustic steel string was voted as the hardest and only 4.41% of people said it was the easiest type of guitar to play.
The reason that electric guitar is easier to play than other styles of guitar is that it goes through an amplifier. The amplifier makes any notes your play louder, and also makes them sound better with effects such as distortion.
With an acoustic guitar the sound is produced solely by what you play, therefore you need to play much more precisely and control how you play much more. This is because you need to play with enough effort to produce a clear sound.
Whereas, on the electric guitar you can play the strings very lightly and it still sounds loud and clear. Because of this fact you can be a bit more ‘lazy’ with your playing, and make more mistakes and it still sounds incredibly good.
Nylon strings are softer on the fingertips but both have steel strings
As you play the guitar you develop calluses on your fingertips. This occurs naturally as you play the guitar. Over the course of about 2 weeks to month the tips of your fingers become smooth and more firm.
On a steel string guitar the bottom 3 strings are steel. They are also a bit thinner than the strings on a nylon string guitar. But, both have steel strings for the top 3 strings. Nylon strings are soft, and a bit thicker than steel strings.
Because of that they are easier on your fingertips. If you compare playing on a nylon string guitar to playing on a steel string guitar. You can play for much longer on a nylon string guitar before your fingertips are sore.
Steel strings are thinner. This causes the force of the string to be concentrated on the particular spot on your fingertips that is pressing against the string. Which hurts more than the wider strings of a nylon string guitar.
Nylon string guitars have a wider neck & larger frets which is easier
There are various sizes of guitars. Such as full size, ¾, ½, and ¼. So, you can get a guitar that is suited to the size of your hands. For example, a child of age 5 years should get a different sized guitar to a fully grown adult.
But, it remains true that a nylon string guitar has a wider neck vertically (up and down). And also has frets that are wider horizontally (side to side). Where you need to position your fingers has more space which means you don’t need to be as precise.
With a steel string guitar it’s more difficult to position your fingers. As well as press on the frets without touching the other strings. When you touch the other strings with a finger that is pressing a fret above or below it will mute it, and when you play it, it will create a dud sound. Which is called a muted string.
Bass guitar is the easiest type of guitar to learn and play overall
Although bass guitar and regular guitar are generally considered different instruments. I thought I’d share that bass guitar is the easiest of all styles of guitar. And is considered much easier than electric guitar.
I presented the results of a survey over 100 musicians in this article that compares whether bass is harder than the guitar. Definitely check out if you’re deciding whether to play the bass or the guitar, as it provides the pros and cons of each. And why bass guitar is the easiest to play.
There are also different styles of guitar. Such as rock, and classical. So, below I’ll explain what style of guitar is the easiest to play and learn.
What Style of Guitar Is Easiest To Play?
Most people start by learning a few chords from friends, and taking some beginner lessons from a teacher or online. But, I was curious what the hardest style of guitar is, and what’s the easiest. Here’s what I found based on my experience and what other guitarists had to say.
Overall, pop is the easiest style of guitar. Followed by rock, flamenco, classical, and then jazz in that order. A survey of 111 guitarists asked what the hardest style of guitarist to play. Only 0.90% of people thought pop has the hardest. 33.33% of people thought jazz guitar is the hardest.
Here’s a table that shows what people voted for when asked, what style of guitar is the hardest:
|Style of Guitar||Percent of people who voted it was the HARDEST|
As you can see from the table, jazz and classical were voted as quite similar in difficulty, and flamenco wasn’t far behind. But, rock guitar was quite a bit lower. But, pop was voted as the easiest style of guitar by far.
For example, here’s the chords for the famous song Fireflies by Owl City:
As you can see it’s only 3 different chords that are played over and over again. Some people play pop songs by playing the way the person sings on the guitar. This is far harder. For example, here’s the same song but where the person plays the vocals on the guitar:
However, to play so that people can sing along only requires you to know the chords, rather than playing what the vocals are at the same time.
How Does Guitar Compare to Other Instruments?
Before starting guitar, it’s also important to know how difficult it is compared to other instruments. I asked 155 people what they thought and here’s what I found.
On average, guitar is the easiest instrument to learn compared to other instruments. A survey of 155 people found that guitar and drums were voted the least difficult. The violin, cello, and double bass, were voted as the most difficult instrument to learn.
Followed by wind instruments like the saxophone. Here’s a table that shows what people voted as the hardest instrument to play:
|Instrument||People who voted it is the hardest to learn and play|
|Guitar – acoustic, electric, nylon string, bass guitar||10%|
|Piano or Keyboard||20.67%|
|Wind instruments – for example flute, saxophone||24.67%|
|Strings all others – such as, violin, cello||32%|
Of the 155 people who voted, the vast majority said that violin, cello, stand up bass, wind instruments, the piano and keyboard are the hardest to learn. And quite a few less people voted that for the drums and guitar. But, it’s clear the guitar received the least number of votes as the hardest instrument to play.
However, learning piano can have some benefits, especially for learning music theory. I provided a detailed analysis of this topic in this article about whether you should learn guitar or piano first.
Does Age Affect Your Ability To Play Guitar
Age does affect your ability to play guitar. A young person who is not fully grown has smaller hands, and playing a full sized guitar is more difficult. Therefore, it can be better to get them a smaller sized guitar such as a ¾ guitar.
As you get much older you muscles start to become weaker. I’ve noticed the worlds best guitarists such as Andres Segovia, and Julian Bream could continue to play guitar at their highest levels until they reached about age 70 or so.