Can I learn to play the guitar without buying one first?

Guitars for sale - can you learn without buying one?

Learning to play the guitar, like any musical instrument, is a gift that will keep rewarding you for the rest of your life. It does involve investing in a guitar in the first place, but can you learn to play the guitar without buying one first?

I get it; you want to try the guitar out and see if it’s right for you. So can you learn to play the guitar without buying one? The problem with this is you will never get to the level of playing that you dream of by playing the guitar now and again. You aren’t giving yourself the chance to develop muscle memory or to practice.

Learning an instrument is a commitment

Does that mean it’s boring and it’s a chore? Absolutely not! All my musician friends, especially guitar players, keep playing for one simple reason – they enjoy it. If they didn’t, they would have given up a long time ago. You can’t get good at anything without spending time on the skill. The same goes for learning the guitar.

So could you theoretically learn to play the guitar without ever owning one?

I guess, but why would you want to? If you’re already unsure if you really want to play the guitar in the first place you are likely setting yourself up for being a ‘perpetual beginner guitarist’. I have never had a student successful learn to play the guitar without buying one.

Don’t get me wrong; you don’t need to spend a lot of money on your first guitar at all. If it has six strings and it stays in tune that will do and if you can afford more then great. Just by buying a guitar, you are allowing yourself to practice whenever you like. By allowing yourself to practice, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to become a much better player as your guitar playing is on your terms, not when someone else has a guitar for you. Plus you have spent time and money on that guitar, and you are much more likely to learn to play it.

Throughout my time teaching guitar, you can tell how serious someone is about becoming a guitar player from some of the very first questions they ask. When someone who wants to be a guitar player doesn’t want to buy a guitar, they usually like the idea of being a guitarist more than actually being one. When someone is asking you for advice on buying the best first guitar for them, now that’s a question someone who wants to play asks.