I was browsing at some amplifiers on Guitar Center’s website earlier today when I saw that magical message pop up in an ad along the sidebar. “Play the Guitar in a Day” it said with a picture of a handsome young man really lighting up the fretboard. That was all it said. In the Internet world that’s called “clickbait.” I didn’t want the company behind this ad to get a click out of me, so I didn’t follow the link, but it got me to thinking that maybe it was time to address this here on Just Guitar Talk. See, I didn’t even care where that pretty little link went to, because I know that it simply does not matter. You cannot learn to play the guitar in a day. It’s simply not possible, and here on this site, we try to go in the exact opposite direction that this advertisement was going. We want to encourage people to give the guitar a try and to stick with it, but it’s important to be realistic in your expectations. If you really walk into this affair thinking you are going to be Eddie Van Halen by tomorrow afternoon, you are just going to be that much more frustrated when not only are you not Eddie Van Halen, but you’re not even able to play a song twenty-four hours in. So, in honor of this ad, let’s look at all the reasons why learning to play the guitar in a day is absurd.
A General Base of Knowledge Can’t Even Be Learned in a Day
These silly promises are designed to talk you into coming to these sites and to get them more clicks and more sales for whatever product they are hawking. The people that design these types of ads don’t care about you as a guitar player or a person. You are just an entity that they are trying to influence to do what they want you to do.
To even start to learn to play the guitar, you are going to need a baseline of knowledge (that’s baseline, not bassline…we’ll talk about those in another article). You are going to need to know how to hold a guitar. You need to be able to tune it. String it. Are we talking acoustic or electric? You may have to attach cables, set tone knobs, and turn on other equipment like an amp. When you sign up for old-fashioned face-to-face guitar lessons, that first lesson is almost always an introduction to these sorts of things that must be established before you even think about actually trying to learn something for real. So, as you can see, to think that from this point you would somehow be an expert by sundown is not just absurd, but downright impossible.
What’s Your Definition of Playing Guitar?
I wonder what the people that design these ads are thinking when they say that you can play guitar in a day. I mean, what constitutes playing guitar? Does that mean you can play one chord? Does playing a melody on one string count? What exactly do we get for this bold, twenty-four hour promise?
Now, we may be messing around asking those questions just to poke fun at the concept of these ads, but it actually is a pretty prophetic question to ask yourself. What are your goals on guitar? What do you consider to be successfully playing guitar? What’s a real time frame to accomplish those goals? And most importantly of all, what are you going to do to get there? From this perspective, we can actually use this absurd promise as a way to remind us of our own goals and mindset. If you want that big payoff, you are going to have to put in the work.
Don’t Fall For the Hype
All over the Internet these days you will find promises like these. Everyone is promising that their program can teach you to play guitar faster and better than any other program. Often, they resort to promises like this to try to set themselves apart from the competition. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about making decisions off of silly banner ads on a website that have no purpose but to get you to click on them and give them a credit card number. Sites like Just Guitar Talk will be reviewing these online lessons and letting you know which programs will give you the most bang for your buck.
There are so many ways to learn to play guitar thanks to all this great technology. Twenty years ago, almost everyone either took lessons or started out with a Mel Bay chord book. These days, you have YouTube, video games like Rocksmith, and even people that give real, live lessons on video streaming services like Skype. It’s amazing what is available now, but it also leaves plenty of room for charlatans. Always check into a program before you buy into it. Most reputable programs have a free trial or will be happy to answer your questions before you put your money down. Don’t hesitate to check into all of this and make sure you are making an educated decision.
Don’t Be Discouraged
If you were looking for how to play a guitar in a day and you wound up here, don’t be discouraged. First be grateful that you landed here first and not on one of these malicious sites that just wants to take your money. You can thank us later. Know that this was not meant to be discouraging. Just Guitar Talk is here to do just the opposite. We want to encourage young and old players alike to stick with it and give them the resources to be the best guitarist they can be. That’s why this site was created, and it is our mission statement. So, stick around, check out our reviews and tutorials, and let us help you get on the right track to playing guitar in no time. When we say no time, though, we aren’t talking about twenty-four hours.