A story that I hear far too often is that of a person who started learning guitar but then stopped. This can be for countless reasons. However, you can ALWAYS get back into playing! No one is too old and it's never been too long to get playing again. For those that want to get started jamming along to real songs, I highly recommend my FREE 10 Day Guitar Starter Course.
However, it is normal to lack motivation and direction at times, this happens to everyone both beginners and pros alike.
With that in mind, here are my tip tips for getting motivated and getting back playing again!
6 tips to start playing guitar again
1. Remember why you wanted to learn in the first place
Was it an awesome song you heard? Did you have a favourite band you use to listen to often and it made you want to play?
Listen to that band or those kinds of songs often. Keep a CD in the car of your favourite guitar songs, or keep a playlist of your favourite guitar songs at the top of your Spotify playlists. You can’t get inspired if you never listen to the music that inspires you!
2. Keep your guitar out of it’s case and in view
We had an upright piano in the hallway when I was growing up. At some point, I got a keyboard for Christmas and then when I was 13 or so, I got a guitar. The keyboard was always in my room and the guitar was always on a stand next to my bed, ready to be played.
For as long as I can remember, my living space has always had a musical instrument within arm’s reach or where I spent my free time or chill out time. I cannot over emphasize how much this has contributed to my learning. If the guitar is in the wardrobe or in the loft, it’s not going to be played. Keep it out of the case, on a stand in pride of place, and you’ll want to pick it up often.
3. Have a dedicated space for playing, practicing and even listening to music.
I’m lucky that I now have a music room at home. But when I was a kid, that music room was my bedroom. Guitars, amps, CD players and computer all set up ready to play, listen to or even record music.
Many 1 to 1 students have stated they don’t have a good place to play or practice. This always held back their development. If you are serious about progressing, get a space to practice in, even if it is the corner of your bedroom or living room. Remember, communal areas are not ideal, find somewhere you can make a bit of noise, or use headphones. If noise is always a problem, practice on electric guitar and use headphones.
4. Buy a guitar that you want to play
I love Les Pauls. I think they look the coolest things in the world. Not just guitar, just coolest thing end of. Looking at one or seeing someone else play one makes me want to play it.
Try not to choose a guitar too much on spec or recommendation alone. Listen to your heart and go for the guitar that makes you want to play it!
5. Work some variation into your playing or routine
A bit part of why I stuck with playing and practicing guitar was that I liked playing acoustic and electric. Therefore, whatever my mood, there was always something I’d want to play. We don’t always want to rock out, just like we’re not always in a fingerstyle chill out mood.
I had piano lessons from being 9 years old, but I always struggled to find the motivation to practice because I never saw myself as a pianist. The music I was being made to learn didn't connect with me in any way. When I started playing keyboards and synthesizers, I was using the same piano skills, but I suddenly got a real buzz from the sounds and music I was learning, which was massively motivating.
Another big thing was that recording and computer based music always fascinated me. So even if I wasn’t playing an instrument, I was into composing or even recreating my favourite songs using computer software. THIS was my ear training. Being able to see the notes on the screen and hear what they sounded like was my way into learning how to play music by ear, and in turn learn guitar riffs, songs and solo by ear. Find what works for you, no matter your mood or situation
6 - Find a practice partner or guitar buddy
Having regular meet ups with a friend who also plays guitars or any instrument will supercharge your progress and be loads of fun! This is the best way to stay on track with your practice and give yourself a musical outlet, plus some direction to what you want to achieve from learning to play.
Yes, it’s scary in the early days. But, guitar is a performance instrument, and jamming is the most fun bit - trust me!
Open mic nights are a great way to find like-minded people. You could meet new-ish guitar players, or people who have been playing for years and years who can share their wisdom. Go to them, make friends, and you might even end up on stage playing with one of them in the future!