Natural Talent and Guitar Playing

Natural Talent and Guitar Playing

Do you have the natural talent to play guitar?

Many people who are learning to play guitar are intimidated by the learning process, frustrated with their progress and believe that they lack the natural talent necessary to successfully make music. Is it possible that some people just can’t learn how to play guitar? Or do some aspiring players set unrealistic expectations? How can a person know if they’re wasting their time or not?

How to Learn Guitar

Getting good at playing guitar requires study, practice and a little ingenuity. You have to know how something is properly done so that you don’t waste your time doing things incorrectly or developing bad habits. You must spend a lot of time with your guitar in hand in order to develop the kind of muscle memory needed to fluently play guitar. You need to find what it is that you can do well and learn how to compensate for your weaknesses. Finally, you need to accept your limitations and play to your strengths.

Natural Talent and Playing to Your Strengths

While you may not have the natural ability to play anything you want on guitar, you likely have enough natural ability to be successful in some areas. If you’re unable to make progress with certain guitar styles or techniques, then instead of giving up guitar completely, move onto other guitar styles and techniques that come more naturally to you.

Learning how to adapt your guitar playing in a manner that takes advantage of your strengths and avoids your weaknesses is precisely what the pros do. Have you ever seen B.B. King play chords? Not one of his strengths! Instead of getting frustrated with his lack of rhythm guitar abilities, B.B. King chose to focus on his strength of playing single-note lead lines. Likewise, Dave Matthews avoids his natural weakness, playing guitar solos, to focus on his natural strength of forming complex chords and crafting great rhythm guitar parts. Tom Petty plays very basic rhythm guitar along with some simple solos now and then, keeping to chord shapes and scale patterns that are easy for him to play.

Heck, jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, whose third and fourth fingers were paralyzed after an injury in a fire, proved that you can still play a lot, and play well, with only two fingers! Click the link to see for yourself.

All of the guitarists mentioned above are considered accomplished at what they do, even though there is a lot they don’t do, because each one of them has something he does distinctly well. There’s no reason why you can’t find things you can play well too. Just don’t allow yourself to get hung up on things you can’t play well. Instead, make your guitar playing journey a process of discovering what you CAN play well.

Armless Guitar Player

There is perhaps no better example of how to succeed at making music when faced with limitations than armless guitarists Tony Melendez. Born without arms, Tony never let his handicap get in his way. Instead he developed proficiency in using his feet. “I was pretty secure in what I could do,” he says. What a great attitude. The video below shows what he can do.

You Can Do It

When there’s a will there’s a way. If you feel like you’re struggling to play guitar, perhaps you need to lower your expectations and change your approach. Explore your options, give everything your best shot, get some good training, figure out what you can do and can’t do, then play to your strengths.

Fretboard Theory

One way to explore your options and learn how to play to your strengths is by working through my Fretboard Theory program. This guitar instruction teaches you everything you need to know about how scales, chords, progressions, modes, and more are used in popular styles of music and by your favorite guitarists. As you work your way through each lesson, you discover which aspects of guitar playing come most naturally to you and you receive instruction on how you can develop your skills and become proficient in areas best suited to your abilities. Join my email list for more information or visit the store page to see your purchasing options.

Comments ( 7 )

  • Anonymous

    I am blown away now. Was very impressed before…finally someone has come along with the correct answer…"forget about what you don't know"…change the approach…BRAVO my brothers in 'sound' advice. Amen And AMEN!

  • Maria K. Ferguson

    That is a very inspiring article! Thanks for sharing it!

  • G Mills

    Thanks Desi for these motivational tidbits! Rock on!

  • Dave Abrams

    Wow Desi; that is wisdom and right on. That helped me . Thanks very much. Dave A

  • Greg

    Interesting timing, I have pretty much decided to finally give up the guitar. I always struggle with some part of everything that I try that I keep just getting frustrated and finally assumed that I just need to admit that I don’t have the right tools to play the guitar with any degree of expertise. Thanks for your post, it has given me some cause to reconsider.

  • Ed

    I am ashamed for whining about my arthritis

  • Daniel Scroggins

    This was encouraging I stop and go a lot though I can play a few songs liKE , Black Bird and few of Buster Jones tunes I try to hard to play complicated tunes like Chets. thank you.