Interested in picking up your first guitar? If you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken the primary step in starting a fruitful musical journey. Learning guitar can be intimidating--it’s normal as a beginner to have many questions and concerns, but we’re here to help you get started off on the right foot.

Below are some commonly asked questions when it comes to learning guitar.

1. First off: Am I too old to learn?

No! And let’s get one thing straight: You’ll never be too old. This is an all-too-common concern among new players, whether in their teens or well into their 50s. There’s no age restriction on learning a new skill. No matter when you start, playing an instrument of any kind is a rewarding and worthwhile experience that enhances self-discipline, creativity, coordination and confidence. It may be true that younger players can absorb material very quickly. However, adults are more likely to practice consistently, since they often possess the motivation and attention that younger players lack. So scrub that doubt from your list right away!

2. OK, I'm ready to play. What's the first step?

Whether you are learning independently, with a private instructor or in a group setting, there are plenty of options. Finding the right instruction is an important first step in creating good long-term playing habits.

3. Should I learn on an electric guitar?

It all depends on your personal preference and the type of music you want to play. Electric and acoustic guitars both have unique advantages.

Electric guitars have thinner strings and therefore are a great choice for beginners because they require less hand strength. Players with small hands might also prefer an electric for its slimmer neck, which warrants an easier grip and shorter reach.

Learning on an acoustic guitar, conversely, can often be a less costly investment because it doesn’t require additional equipment. It can also ease a future transition into electric guitar because a player’s hands will already be acclimated to heavy acoustic strings.

If you are set on an electric guitar, Fender does offer some affordable beginner amplifiers at a variety of price points. Most are not only portable, but also easy to operate, making dialing in settings quite simple for newbies.

4. Are my fingers supposed to hurt?

Yes, but don’t be discouraged. As a beginner, you’ll eventually improve your muscle strength in your playing arm and form calluses on your fretting hand. And yes, that dull pain and discomfort does come with the territory. Those aches are short-lived, especially if you continue to practice regularly, which is key to alleviating pain.

There are some ways to push through the pain like a pro. Again, lighter strings can help, as will lowering your string action (the distance between the fingerboard and the strings). A quick fix by a professional will shorten the amount of pressure you’ll need to exert as you press down.

5. What’s the most common beginner’s pitfall?

Many beginners assume that technique and ability will come to them overnight. It’s this misnomer that leads to frustration and, sometimes, giving up your instrument altogether. Learning music is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a gradual learning experience that requires patience, time and true comprehension of concepts.

Racing through scales and scrutinizing every note is not what makes this craft enjoyable. Let your passion lead you. Learn at your own pace. Keep your abashed curiosity alive throughout the process. And above all else … just have fun.

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