Are some just not cut out to play Guitar

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I think that this is a valid argument , considering my experience. I am somewhat “older” late 60s than most when taking this instrument up

and after attempting on and off for the last year I am almost at the point of no return.

I have a Yamaha F310 and even with the help of an instructor am not able to nail the basic Chords, especially C Major I am simply unable to stop my ring finger from collapsing or hitting the 4th String. Even though I can barre all 6 strings up to the 1st fret the moment I try to then form any shape be it F Major or B the strings “ miraculously “ escape 

I keep telling myself that it takes time, however the same faults keep arising 

Does this ring true with others that have had similar problems, how did you/ or not overcome them ?
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  • I started at age 60, and stuck to the justi guitar beginners course. I found all of it difficult, and it didn't take take long to establish that I have no discernible talent whatsoever, except for being bloody minded about not giving up. Everything took me ages, including chords, holding a plectrum, remembering anything etc.
    But I'm getting there and so can you if you stick at it.
    Good luck, don't be one of those who give up in the first year
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  • Paul7926Paul7926 Frets: 224
    Dont be discouraged. If you really want to play then stick at it. I'm 52 and it's been 18 months or so since I started and I too find it slow going.   However there is progress being made. I didn't think there was until my tutor got me to go back to the stuff we did at the start.  It was only then that I realised what I found almost impossible at the time wasnt so bad now.  

    I think there is a danger for those of us starting to be constantly struggling and looking forward at everything we cant yet do we forget to glimpse backwards and see we have made progress. 


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  • Thank You for your comments. Don’t get me wrong I have made progress in other ways, strumming being one and am now more comfortable with the instrument.

    it is like most experiences, in that you often find yourself practicing for weeks months and nothing seems to be going right, then you take a step back and see where you started.

    I am perhaps falling into the trap of expecting it all to instantly fall into place. I am now new to Music having played a few instruments in my early years and can read Music and tempo. I just never remember it taking so long to get to a semi reasonable level. 
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  • Paul7926Paul7926 Frets: 224
    My personal downer is that some days I pick up the guitar and things feel right and go well. Some days I pick it up and it's like someone has moved all the frets and nothing works at all and yet I can identify no reason for the difference. Same me, same guitar, totally different results.
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  • I learnt classical guitar for a couple of years in my mid teens, and then didn't touch a guitar again until my mid 50's, when I decided to have a go at playing electric guitar. It is a lot slower process when you're older, but learning is perfectly possible. There are many times when it can be frustrating, but, if it interests you enough, then persevere.
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  • KT Tunstall is a superb guitarist, and she can't play barre chords!

    We all struggle at different points, with different things.

    C and F barre etc are little milestones you will get past 
    We should all probably bear in mind more when posting on here (and I don't exclude myself from this) that the guitar world is very small, the Fretboard is quite well known, and it is not uncommon at all for the subjects of our posts to read them...
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  • bcjimbcjim Frets: 3
    edited December 2019
    I started a year ago aged 65.  Don’t think I’ve got any special talent.  The opposite probably.  But I’m still going.  This week I played a few Christmas songs for people to sing along with at a party.  Went wrong a few times but kept going and no one noticed.  No one’s going to mistake me for Billy Gibbons any time soon but I’m enjoying it.

    Don’t give up.  (And Merry Christmas.)

    Jim.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1130
    I learnt to play guitar in 76 78 and 81. Keep going.

    I'm finding that I have less patience as I get older. Keep going. 

    Maybe look into trying a classical guitar as they have wider spaced nylon strings with lower tension.
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  • droflufdrofluf Frets: 422
    @zollybosher are you enjoying playing? If so then everything else is icing on the cake! I’ve been playing for a year after a 40 year gap and just about drag out a tune. Wouldn’t want to play in public but what I’m doing
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  • Not at all, it just takes a bit of dedication and time  =) You'll find there's stuff you're good at, and stuff you're not so good at - I've been playing for 30+ years and still have plenty to improve - keep at it! 
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  • I started in my mid 50's a few years ago.  For a long time, nothing seemed to work/make sense. Tried some lessons with a local teacher, but never really got far.
      However, I found I enjoyed just holding the guitar and fumbling around, so I try to do this every day, even for just a few minutes.
    Suddenly realized recently that chord shapes are much quicker/easier to find, and whilst I will never be a "proper" guitarist, I can actually keep up/play along with a few backing tracks.    In short, if you enjoy it, keep trying regularly and suddenly things start to happen.
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  • Well the rest of the household is now falling asleep in front of the tv, leaving me free to do what I enjoy most, pottering about on guitar in my little music room.
    I have been thinking about my struggles with chords, and can remember what made a difference foe me, and it was this “one minute changes”
    On the Justin guitar beginners course he teaches you to take a pair of chords, say C and G, and with a timer see how many changes you can do in one minute. Make a note. Continue every day till you see an improvement. My first attempt was maybe 4 or 5. After a couple of months it was up to about 55. Justin reckons60 is a good target.
    Totally recommended as a way to improve.
    Also, I play a strat (often unplugged)....if I’d stuck to an acoustic I’d probably have given up too.
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  • TeflonTeflon Frets: 60
    I started playing back in the late '70s and gave up in the early 80's. I was a rubbish player back then, but back in the summer I decided to give it another go. Lets just say that a 30+ yr layoff is NOT the best way to improve LOL. 

    I find I struggle get clean notes whenever more than one string is used, and I REALLY cannot use my little finger for more than the most basic things.  I've been teaching myself instrumental numbers, but seem to forget them after only a short while. As Homer Simpson said "When I learn something new, it pushes something old out to make room".

    All very frustrating, but it's all relative. My brother can't play a note, and therefore thinks I'm a great player, as do some of my non playing friends (others know better!!). It's also great fun, despite the frustrations, and the thing is, if you keep trying, you can only improve.

    My advice is to stick at it and not worry too much about your progress, just enjoy the ride  =)

    Cliff
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  • the_butlerthe_butler Frets: 84
    Short answer no
    However some people seem to be more dexterous, have a good natural ear, or sense of rhythm, but all of these can be developed. 
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  • allenallen Frets: 103
    i can really sympathise. I would probably classify myself as an intermediate player now, but I've been playing for several years and none of the progress seemed rapid at any time. I also ask myself the 'talent' question, but it is really just your brain trying to stop you working.

    My clearest memory of learning to play was when I got my first guitar (classical) which I'd borrowed from a friend. He had drawn little chord diagrams of a song and I just worked and worked at being able to change the chords to the song. I think it was 'streets of london', with the occasional 'blowing in the wind'.

    I think I probably spent about 2 hours of focussed, sweaty graft every night for about 2 weeks. I literally could not understand how anybody could make their fingers form the shapes, let alone do it at speed. However, I had an overwhelming feeling of being in a fight to the end, and I was going to win.

    In the words of brian adams I literally played til my fingers bled at one point.

    But I came out of those 3 weeks being able to do C, Am, Em, D and a passable but clunky half barre F. G didn't come for another few weeks.

    So having said all of that, I'm not sure how much actual hard practice you are putting in, but you probably need to do a lot more than you think. Hours at a time and with a great deal of focus - and consistently, at least for a few weeks.

    Stick with it! 
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  • pmbombpmbomb Frets: 1097
    Teflon said:


    My advice is to stick at it and not worry too much about your progress, just enjoy the ride  =)

    /thread
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  • HeelHeel Frets: 263
    I think that this is a valid argument , considering my experience. I am somewhat “older” late 60s than most when taking this instrument up

    and after attempting on and off for the last year I am almost at the point of no return.

    I have a Yamaha F310 and even with the help of an instructor am not able to nail the basic Chords, especially C Major I am simply unable to stop my ring finger from collapsing or hitting the 4th String. Even though I can barre all 6 strings up to the 1st fret the moment I try to then form any shape be it F Major or B the strings “ miraculously “ escape 

    I keep telling myself that it takes time, however the same faults keep arising 

    Does this ring true with others that have had similar problems, how did you/ or not overcome them ?
    Yes. Some are simply destined to never have feel or rhythm. But that doesn’t matter. It’s about how you bring what you have to the instrument. 
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  • zollybosherzollybosher Frets: 0
    edited January 3
    Thanks for the comments. I practice without fail for at least 30-40 mins per day. Alas the same failings reoccur.

    Don't get me wrong I can read music and can play  other instruments. But this one just seems to be, at the moment, mission impossible

    I really love the tone of this guitar when it has new shiny strings and you hit the sweet spots.It gives me a sense that I have never experienced before with other instruments and It leaves me with a sense that I can do so much more, and this is only one guitar!  

    The possibilities are endless and I can see why Millions take it up, it definitely has me hooked but to what end I don’t know.
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  • francerfrancer Frets: 150
    When I first started with an acoustic guitar I put lighter electric strings on it (10s I think) after I tried my friends guitar who had done the same thing, made fretting chords so much easier, much less finger strength required. You might need someone to help you set it up with lighter strings, I got lucky, neck relief and tuning at low frets stayed perfect.

     I still have the same guitar 20 years later, and I never did go back to acoustic strings on it.

    No doubt plenty of people will tell you this is a terrible idea but it got me over the hump when I was starting out.
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2689
    Sounds like you need to build up finger control and strength.  

    Try forming a chord but then releasing your finger pressure so that you are just touching the strings.  

    Then try lifting your fingers off the strings 1 or 2 mm but keeping them in the chord shape.

    Keep raising and lowering your fingers onto and off the strings. You might find it hard at first but keep at it.

    And VERY IMPORTANTLY try to do it without tension in your fingers. If you feel tension, take your hand away from the fretboard and start again. 

    Never give up!
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 26037
    The most important trait is self belief.
    If you believe you can't do it then you won't.
    If you believe you can do it then you will, if you do the work.

    It is really that simple.
    Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.
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  • King85King85 Frets: 516
    edited January 4
    Thanks for the comments. I practice without fail for at least 30-40 mins per day. Alas the same failings reoccur.

    I'd look at how you practice rather than what you practice then. Repeating the same action over and over might feel like practice but if you're not seeing the changes and development you want then something needs to be adjusted.
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  • clarkefanclarkefan Frets: 719
    Everybody has minor stuff like that.

    I suggest ignore the minor problems and keep playing.  Play what you enjoy.  Over time your fingers will strengthen which will allow you to play the trickier chords.

    Play an electric guitar, much easier on the hands. 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3724
    edited January 4
    Every activity / sport has it's difficulties and challenges.  Snooker: it looks easy on TV but potting is anything but easy.  Darts: the treble twenty box looks very small from the throwing position.  Golf: when you do finally get the ball onto the green, it is by no means easy to hit it into the hole.  All these challenges, while never mastered 100%, can be minimised by practice and working on the problem.

    It is the same with guitar.  The progress graph is not always a straight line upwards.  It might seem like one step forward and another step backwards or sideways.  Stick with it and you will attain some level of proficiency.  You (OP) already know how to read music.  What you may not know is how to listen to music.  What I mean is listening to music you want to learn how to play.  Make playing as easy as possible for yourself - use a capo.  There are many online videos on how to use a capo and how to understand what you are getting from a capo.  With a capo, you can play music in any key, while knowing only a few chords.  

    Guitar is is never meant to be easy.  Neither is snooker, darts or golf.  But there is satisfaction to be had from being able to pass yourself playing your game.  Everyone suffers at the beginning, stick with it my friend, and everything will finally slot into place.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • Thanks for all your comments . I have decided to “ bite the bullet” so to speak and get an instructor. 

    I am not keen on the idea as I don’t really like playing in front of someone. But if he can help me gain some confidence then it will well worth it. 

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  • greejngreejn Frets: 23
    You could try something different...playing in open tunings and maybe slide guitar. That would get around the chord problems for the time being...! Ry Cooder rules.
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  • Alex_MAlex_M Frets: 3
    Stick with it, at least that’s what I keep telling myself! I often find that if I’m really struggling with something I will go onto something else and practice that for a bit, to the extent that I have a few things to practice between. That way seems to reduce the frustration of continually not managing the same thing. 

    At the end of the day, don’t forget what made you start in the first place and enjoy it. 

    Cheers, A
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  • CeeJayCeeJay Frets: 416
    Looking back helps. Focus on your improvements. I have lots I struggle with, but a lot less than twelve months ago. I know if I stick with it, I'll look back again in another 12 months and see the improvements. I have actually amazed myself with my progress, and you will too eventually. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 6125
    edited January 14
    I reckon guitar is a relatively straightforward instrument to get medium/good at; for example a professional concert clarinetist would probably get quite good, quite quickly. 

    I think the main, and most fulfilling, area to focus on is musicianship; if you can train your musical ear, brain and heart, the fingers follow easily. Up to a point! Not saying you don’t have a valid point about muscle building to strengthen your finger on that chord, that definitely comes through exercise and technique.
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
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  • Take age out of it. I'm 21 and I've been playing for 2 years. You'll find that one day something will just click and all you thought was difficult is now doable.

    I hated changing from open to barre chords. So I practiced. Now they're still a bit tough, but doable.

    The solo to Back on the Chain Gang I thought was difficult. Then I semi religiously practiced the intro on repeat. Still not super easy, but doable.

    It all just takes practice, patience and willpower.
    12:25, 16/01/2019 - Just so people are aware. I have no idea what any of these words mean.
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