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Ninety Percent of New Guitarists Quit!!

According to Fender, nine out of ten people who begin learning to play guitar quit.  (DeBord, 2017)  Why? 

I don’t have specific data to back this up, but my hunch is because learning to play guitar is HARD!  I get an

occasional left-handed guitar in my shop for repair or setup, and I am reminded just how hard learning guitar

is when I try to play them.  My right-hand fingers just won’t do what I want them to.  And I know where they

should go!

To make it even harder, many people start out on “beginner” guitars.  A “beginner” guitar is usually a budget

model, meaning that they leave the factory with minimal effort put into setting them up to play well.  And since

the retail store isn’t going to make much money on it, they have little incentive to do a proper setup either.  So

the beginning player is left with an instrument that has high action, sharp and buzzy frets, and cable-sized

strings… in other words, it’s unplayable.  But the new player doesn’t know any better, and soon just gives up

because it is too hard and painful.

So, if you are a beginning player, or know someone who is, do yourself or them a favor by getting the guitar properly set up.  This will include installing lighter gauge strings, setting the action low, making sure the frets are level and don’t have sharp edges, and an overall check to make sure everything is functioning as it should.

If you are in the market for a “beginner” guitar, the number one criteria should be how it plays.  This is more important than how it sounds or how it looks.  In addition to making sure the playing action is set right, the instrument should fit the player.  Buying a guitar for the first time can be confusing and intimidating… so many choices, and you don’t even know how to answer the questions the sales rep is asking.  So when you’re buying a new guitar, take along an experienced player to help you.  Having it properly set up with the right strings should be part of the negotiation and figured into the overall cost of the guitar.


DeBord, M. (2017, July 26). How Fender is Getting into Digital. Retrieved from Business Insider: