Hoping to venture into learning to play

NikkibNikkib Posts: 32Member
edited September 2016 in Technical or Theoretical Questions

I am a 47 year old woman who is hoping to venture into learning to play. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar as I love music and am desperate to be able to play. I had a brief attempt at learning in my late teens/early 20's when a friend started teaching me but then they moved and became involved in a serious relationship and the lessons kind of stopped.

I then have spent well over 20 years wanting to play but not being able to. Rather bizarly for someone who cannot play, I have got three guitars, an acoustic Spanish made Alhambra, a red Squier Strat and a black Stagg Strat copy and it is incredibly frustrating sitting looking at them but being unable to do anything with them. The acoustic was my original guitar, I then purchased the Squier when I decided a couple of years ago that I really wanted to take up learning again and the Stagg was bought for £30 from Gumtree to be used as a decorative piece for a music evening that we hosted at home. I appreciate that they are all only cheap guitars and consequently probably not very good but I am hoping they are going to be good enough to get me started as I do not have a big budget to buy anything else at the moment.

I have now decided to really try and find someone to help me learn and to have some lessons with as although I have got books and suchlike, I do feel some lessons would be a massive help to get me started. I am also looking into doing some of the Justins Guitars lessons as I have heard very good things about them. I really do hope that I can learn as I would love to be able to play. I realise that at my age I am never going to be a marvellous player as it takes a lifetime to reach that standard but I would certainly like to be able to give it a go.

A few facts about me:

Age : 47
Guitars : Acoustic Alhambra, Squier Strat, Stagg Strat Copy
First live gig attended : Don McClean concert at Fairfield Halls Croydon
First big gig attended : Dire Straits Live in 85 at Wembley
Musical influences : Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore
Styles : Blues, rock

I hope that this tells you a little bit about me. I really do hope that I can learn and that I am not too old. I know that guitarists do largely seem to be men but I dont see why I cannot give it a go, even if I am a middle aged, overweight woman!!

Any comments, ideas or suggestions as to how I can progress, any comments on my guitars or any kind of help are all very gratefully received - any help would be great!!

Many thanks


  • The23rdmanThe23rdman Posts: 1,560Member
    Brilliant! It's never too late to learn and as Radiohead "anyone can play guitar" so don't worry. Also those guitars will do toy just fine although it is worth getting at least the acoustic set-up properly as it'll make everything so much easier.

    If you want to get started I recommend Justin's website as he has a comprehensive beginners course.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,680Member, Moderator
    edited September 2016
    Originally Posted By: Nikkib
    First big gig attended : Dire Straits Live in 85 at Wembley


    Welcome, Nikki. There are many of us that have walked a similar path through life; getting serious about learning the guitar at your age (I say that politely that as I am older than you) or even past retirement age is not uncommon.

    Getting a personal tutor will be the fastest and most expensive route and may be the best route to get underway with as a teacher will be watching for good technique, something books, DVDS and online courses cannot do.

    Justin Sandercoe's online lessons will be the cheapest route and as he has a lot of students and positive things said about him it would be a sensible route. All you need is bags of personal discipline.

    As for styles, like rock and blues, depending on how much or little you know there will be some generic things to learn before heading off specifically in one direction. So don't worry if in the early days you find you are learning simple songs that are not the sort you want to play; they will be getting you up to speed in a structured manner.

    We're here to encourage you as we all know what it is like to be learning to play the guitar. All the best; keep usminformed.

    And Wembley '85, well, if there was one concert in my life that I wish I could have been at, that was it.
  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    Its never too late ..I started out with a 50 year old mid life crisis after i picked up a wonderful 1960's Strat belonging to a friend - and decided i must learn to play. Started with a cheap acoustic then a Squier Strat
    Now after a few years of regular lessons ( make sure you get a tutor who is a good teacher as well as a good guitarist) i am really enjoying the whole guitar thing.
    Just keep at it - we all know we can never be as good as our heroes but play what you can and one day it suddenly all clicks into place.
    Now I am spending all my time and money on guitar related activity

    Got a good jam session going with friends and can try out guitars in shops without feeling embarrassed.
    Now I know how hard it is to play accurately I appreciate live music far more from pub gigs to stadiums. I have been to see all my guitar heroes who are still alive.
    Still not confident to play in front of anyone in public but working up to an open Mic session one day .
    For a great weekend and a way of meeting other amateur players try www.guitarweekends.co.uk

    Eric Johnson Signature Strat Vintage Blonde
    Gibson E339 Sunburst
    Tanglewood Acoustic
    Fender Blues Junior
    Assorted Boss pedals, Looper, etc
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Yes - it's never too late to start.

    I had played for maybe 10 years when younger but never really got anywhere much with it. Returned to it in my mid forties, but again a bit aimlessly. Only really started learning to play properly 5 years ago at around 53. I've learned much more in those 5 years than in all those other years put together and have enjoyed it so much more too. It's become my medication for the trials in life.

    I'm afraid you're right about guitarists being mainly men and I apologise on behalf of our species for some of the attitude you might encounter in guitar shops. There are very good female guitarists out there but that seems to have escaped their notice. In the blues field there's Joanne Shaw Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Ana Popovic, Deborah Coleman, Shannon Curfman, Samantha Fish, Malina Moye, Michelle Malone, Sue Foley, and plenty of others.

    I'd mention Debbie Davies too - she grew up in the 60s so that must put her not far off your age.
    Debbie Davies - All I found

    I have a feeling they'd all be much more well known guitarists if they were guys.

    Good luck with the guitar! Well worth having a go. Seems like you've done good research. Justins guitar lessons are good, and getting lessons would help getting started. In my case lessons at JamPlay - a paid web-site - have proved very valuable.
  • The23rdmanThe23rdman Posts: 1,560Member
    Yes, one of my favourite guitarists is female - Ani Difranco.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Welcome Nikki. It is never too late to start. Just set reasonable goals and don't get too ambitious too soon. The Squier Strat is a great beginners guitar. Gibson Learn and Master is a great course on DVD and CD.
    I have repeatedly tried to get my other half to take up guitar but to no avail. Good luck and stick at it.
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,315Member
    Welcome Nikki. I think it's a good idea for you to take lessons; if you'd felt comfortable about teaching yourself, you'd have made a start long ago!

    Also lessons can ensure you don't get into any bad habits. These are easily picked up, but are hard to eliminate later!

    Anyone can learn to play (well, almost anyone!), but most of us reach our level within a couple of years and then stick there!

  • ShortFingersShortFingers Posts: 48Member
    Hi Nikki,go for it you are NEVER to old, tomorrow it will be two years exactly since I walked into a local music store and bought my Yamaha F310, I didn't know an F chord from a G string, in fact I new absolutley nothing and had never picked up a guitar in my life. One thing I did have was enthusiasim and determination to succeed and now two years later and two years older I think I have done okay, I know a lot of chords and can play some easy songs and I am getting better all the time. Recently spent the best part of £500 on a new Freshman accoustic and dont regret it for a minute it sounds great and I just love picking it up and playing it even though I am still very much a beginner.
    Oh, and I am 49 by the way.
  • NikkibNikkib Posts: 32Member
    Thank you so much one and all for both the very warm welcome and also the encouragement andhelp.

    I am pleased to report that I think I have now found myself a teacher. I spoke to one guy yesterday and went to see him this afternoon just for a chat and to see what I thought. He is a very nice guy and I am going back tomorrow for a first lesson. However, the one thing that I am not happy about is that they only teach during the school term time so I would just be getting going when the summer holidays come along in a few weeks and then there would be no lessons 6 weeks and I am not sure that would be ideal. So, to keep my options open I have also got a lesson booked for next week with another really nice guy who I think is going to be perfect. I am really looking forward to it as he sounds just the person I have been looking for. However, I will be evaluating both of them before I make a final decision so we shall see!

    Very happy to be making a bit of progress though towards learning after all this time!!

    Thanks again for all the lovely encouragement and kind words
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Keep us informed as to how you get on.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,185Member
    1965 ?

    A great vintage ! (My age too)
  • LurcherLurcher Posts: 710Member
    Hiya NikkiB.
    Yes, timing is tough at this time of year with teachers. I suspect the guy you have found spends a lot of time during the Summer taking workshops and group bookings. Best bet is to get started and ask him to give you exercises and maybe a few simple songs to work on through the holidays.
    Someone mentioned that playing was their medication. For me its also my meditation. Its my release valve.
    Ah Blues. My first love. See if you can get hold of a copy of John Mayall's album, 'Blues from Laurel Canyon'. Nice easy 12-bar blues songs at different tempos and the cover notes tell you what key they are in. I learned a lot from that album.
    Good luck and have fun!
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