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How to Play Guitar for Adults Lesson #1

Welcome to Beginner Guitar for Adults

I'm Tomas Michaud. I'll be your guide throughout this journey.  My goal is to not only teach you some basics of how to play guitar, but to set you up on a path to playing the guitar with confidence, with ease… and enjoy the process. 

Learning a new skill can be daunting. I've spent years and years studying the best way to learn guitar… especially for adults… so I can help people like you make massive progress with the least amount of struggle.

So What Makes Adults Different?

As the owner and director of one of the largest music learning centers in the SF Bay Area, I've had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of students and instructors. I realize there are important differences in the learning process between young people and adults. 

Now, before we get too far, I want to dispel one myth. There's a rumor going around that it's more difficult for adults to learn. 

For the record, it's simply not true. Adults have many advantages when learning how to play guitar, including the ability to understand concepts faster and a greater sense of self motivation. Experience tells me that, given proper instruction, practice and a sufficient amount of time, every adult can learn to play guitar.

How to Play Guitar for Adults

Tips for How To Learn Guitar

  • When learning how to play guitar, it's best to spend some time each day working on these lessons… say, 15 to 20 minutes. This works better than spending a bunch of time and then letting several days go by.
  • Take the lessons in order. You might find some lessons seem like material you already know. Review the lesson anyway. You're almost always gonna find some bit of information that will help you later on.
  • One issue adults seem to have is that it's more difficult to just be a beginner. It can be uncomfortable not being able to do something, even after trying it several times. Try to allow space to fumble. Anybody who's gotten good at doing something at one time had to do it poorly… And you're no exception.Knowing this is half the battle. I've organized this and all my lessons to take this into account and give you, as an adult, an advantage. I'll even point out ways to deal with common pitfalls and stumbling blocks throughout the lessons.Your job is to keep taking one step at a time… keep moving forward. 
  • Finally… It's common for adults when learning how to play guitar to have doubts about their ability to learn. You might have thoughts like “I'm too old for this” or my hands are too big, or too small. My fingers are too fat. There are many variations of this… I think I’ve heard them all.  It's best not to give these thoughts too much power. Go ahead… acknowledge the thought… and then do the best you can to move on and just practice the lesson.

What's Next?

In the next lesson, I'm going to introduce you to the guitar anatomy, the parts of the guitar, so we can communicate more easily.

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      1. Hey Thomas hope you go through your medical procedure with out untoward incident.More power.

  1. Tomas I had the procedure as well and it went well and I am glad I did it as it improved my overall health and thanks for the lessons for grownups, just what the doctor ordered!

  2. Tomas, I am 62 years old and just three weeks ago I decided one-day t buy a guitar. I have never played a musical instrument. Since starting to try and teach myself I have watched many Help videos and YouTube. Your personality and methodology really stood out and am now hooked.

    I am motivated, have the time to practice and just want to be able to play for my own enjoyment.

    Thank you for your generosity in creating these videos.

  3. Hi Tomas,
    I am 67 years old and I want to learn the guitar.
    I really enjoy your lesson for the basics. You have a great style of communicating. How do I sign up for your u tube site.

  4. Hi Thomas I am 66 years old and want to learn the guitar, I hope your lessons will help me to,my main difficulty is strumming, thankyou so much.

    1. Hi Isidoro,
      Thanks for your comment. Strumming is one of the difficulties most beginners have. You are not alone. There is no “quick fix” but with good instruction, practice, and a little patience you can do it. I look forward to seeing your progress.
      – Tomas

  5. Thanks Tomas,
    turning 81 in May, you are right, decision and practice.
    I have short stubby fingers so am still learning to change grip on neck
    in order to get clearer chords.

    1. Hi Leon, Thanks for commenting. I glad you have taken up the “challenge”. I wish you the best.
      – Tomas

  6. Thank you Thomas for those encouraging words. Sure made a difference. True, I did felt like am too old for this but you changed my peespective. I’m looking forward to learning more from you. Thank you

  7. Thank you Tomas for the encouraging introduction. I do not have much time but I want to learn guitar to continue challenge my capacity to learn. I play a little piano, and long ego could tune a guitar and play a tune, but all is forgotten now.

  8. Hi Tomas,

    I think your lessons are super.

    I’m a 72 year old rookie guitarist, very gradually learning on acoustic. I can do about 20 of the basic open chords, plus some power chords riffs that can be nice to play on an electric. Of course, fluid chord changing is the stumbling block, but my main problem is that although I’ve built callouses on all fingers, I find that my ring finger remains very sensitive, particularly on the B string where it’s commonly placed. Contrary to popular opinion, I find the thinnest strings, being like cheese wires, are the hardest to fret. Repeated changing to a D chord causes discomfort after a few goes. Is this a common issue?

  9. I'm a 70-year-old kid! I played (self-taught) guitar in HS after a long stint with the accordion which taught me the basics of music but was not something that was truly satisfying. I have touched neither in years. One of the things holding me back is a disability incurred from a gnarly motorcycle accident more than 20 years ago.

    However, I'm stubborn and not willing to say "no." I may have to adapt to what I learn, and maybe even do things differently, but I want to get the basics first. I've studied many methods of playing, trying to narrow it down to something that works for me.

  10. I have an Ovation 12 string. Played often manydecades ago. Having trouble even tuning it at my 70's. Might want to switch to a good 6 string acoustic with a deep tone. What do you recommend including what strings are best so I might enjoy this once more. Veteran, multiple concussions, not from any combat. Ive been told my 12 string needs the action worked. Every set of strings i bought for it just sounds tinny. Stopped playing it

  11. It's awesome that you talked about how adults can also learn how to play guitar. Recently, I started to become interested in learning how to play an instrument. I've always loved music but never really pursued it, and now I think I'm ready to try the guitar out! Thanks for the information on guitar lessons and how to make the most of them.

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