When to Quit Guitar

I won't talk you out of quitting guitar: Life is too short.

Considering quitting guitar? It's your choice. If you want to quit, do it. Just let it go. It's okay.

There are so many beautiful things in life. Many experiences can be easily and regretfully missed. Guitar is just one pursuit of many. Not every single person out there who picks up a guitar enjoys it enough to keep playing. You might be one of them.

Sure, you might get badgered by guitar-playing friends, a guitar teacher, or perhaps a critical inner voice, but quitting guitar is really not that big of a deal. Think of it this way: you are letting go of a pursuit that doesn't make you happy. You'll have more room to pursue other things in your life that give you pleasure. Simple as that.

That said, how do you know if what you are facing in your guitar practice is worth quitting over? Let's look at some common deal-breakers that beginners have with learning, starting with the technical barriers.

If you're positive you can't play chords, strum, or do chord progressions

Some skills are so essential and so difficult for a beginner that it's not a good idea to try to push beyond it. If a wall seems totally insurmountable to you, almost like it's a huge barrier to your enjoyment of guitar, there is no use in banging your head against it, over and over again.

For most beginners, the frustration comes with strumming, which can be difficult. Or, switching between chords while strumming might feel impossible to do. If you can't see yourself getting past these areas* and conquering them, it might be time to quit.

If you've lost friendships that were based on guitar

Sometimes when friendships based on guitar end, the guitar is a reminder the lost friendship. Friendships that were born under the common flag of guitar can and will end at some point. For many, this leaves a bitter taste. Once the friends depart each others' company, life could feel drained from the guitar. This often happens when students stop taking guitar lessons, when students lose their one link to guitar: their guitar teacher.** 

Losing friendships based on guitar is tough. The guitar could be too great a reminder of those past friendships for you. If this is the case, perhaps it's time to let it go.

If you're not interested in it any longer

Perhaps you're simply not interested in guitar any longer. That's okay. It might just slip your attention that you have a guitar, at all. At this point, you may want to ask yourself if having it around is doing anything for your well-being or happiness.

There's nothing wrong with selling an old guitar. Or, if you're anything like me, you could just give it away to someone who needs it. Either way, if you're no longer interested, consider getting rid of the guitar. The point is to consider moving on and making a clean break. 

Don't stay with guitar because someone else told you to

Don't stay with guitar because someone else told you not to quit. I realize that there is not much I can do to help you if you feel guilty about quitting guitar, but I really don't think you need to be at all ashamed of it. Honestly, there is so much more to life than guitar. There are so many experiences that you have yet to live through. 

If someone is telling you that you shouldn't quit, ask them why. When someone is telling me I should do something, I automatically assume they are trying to manipulate me. So, I ask them, "Why should I do this? Give me five very concrete reasons why I ought to follow your advice, and then I'll make up my mind on my own." 

Some people don't want you to quit guitar because then they'll have to fess up to their own frustrations about it. Moving on with your life forces other people to confront the truth in their own. When they say you shouldn't quit, they are really saying, "Please don't quit. I haven't the energy to examine how frustrated I am with guitar." They also probably don't want to lose someone who is on the same path as them. Camraderie is a precious thing, I know, but so is your life and your experience as a human being.

In conclusion

Your life is just too short. Admit it. Do you really want to waste the precious time that you have left doing something that causes you aggravation? I hope not. There's nothing wrong with quitting guitar if it doesn't give you what you want. 

If you aren't having fun, don't feel guilty about moving on. Just let go of it, and don't think that you are less of a person for doing so. Find something new to try out, something that excites you and invigorates you. For what it's worth, you have my blessing.


*Keep in mind that these are deal breakers only if you can't find someone to help you solve them. Many beginners think they are on their own with guitar, but there are millions of people out there just like them. All it takes is finding a online community, some guitar buddies, a guitar teacher, or perhaps just taking a guitar class. There are a lot of people out there who have solved these three problems in their own playing, and getting advice and guidance from them is not a bad idea.

**Guitar-buddies are needed to keep going with guitar. Community, as much as we may dislike the politics, is powerful for helping us learn guitar quicker and assuring it a place in our lives. To keep going with guitar, we need to be around like-minded people.