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How many people over 50 are just starting to play?

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by texred, Jan 27, 2017.

How many people we got here that are AARP members, and just beginning guitar?

  1. How many late bloomers?

  2. How may have previous musical experience?

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. CrankySod

    CrankySod New Member!

    Feb 3, 2017
    Melbourne, Australia
    51 here. Mucked about a bit over the years but a few years ago I was working remote in a mining camp and was bored stupid so I flew in an acoustic to kill time with. I was assured many, many times that I was terrible but I found it really relaxed me after a twelve hour shift.

    So I got another one for home and just a couple of days ago got my first squier strat for $30. '97 Affinity. Here I am now with three guitars and hopeless skills.

    At least now people recognise what I'm trying to play. That's a step forward. But I mostly play just for the dogs enjoyment. They know when to applaud otherwise they don't get walked.

  2. rocksmoot

    rocksmoot Strat-Talk Member

    Dec 13, 2010
    Rogers, Arkansas, USA
    I started learning at 49. I'm 59 now and playing in my second band. I played bass in my first one, a three piece cover band that gigged twice a month. I'm now playing guitar in this band.

    I also started writing and recording as soon as I could put three chords together. You can hear some of my stuff at

    I think I've had to practice a lot more than younger people to make the same progress, and I also have to practice consistently to keep what I've gained.

    I think learning to record and playing in bands were the two best choices I made. Never too old!

  3. 5ofeight

    5ofeight Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 9, 2017
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    I picked up a guitar again 2 years back, I was 56 then.tbh this is really my longest attempt at playing, First had a go as a teen then again in my late 20's early 30's... nowadays i can put time,effort and money into it..though my skill level is possibly not much better..
    Hash McBrown, Mansonienne and Eardoc like this.

  4. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    I played drums years ago and even made some money...then wife band kids...the music died ...30 yrs later kids grown, wife gone, music alive again.
    Grabbed my 1st acoustic at 53
    Luvin' every moment since
    Good luck and ENJOY !!!
    fattboyzz, circles and Jigglebone like this.

  5. Mcald62

    Mcald62 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 26, 2016
    I'm 54. Played trumpet for a month and took guitar lessons for about 6 months in my early teens. I just didn't have the focus back then. Been practicing for about 8 months now and totally enjoy it. I try to play for at least an hour each day and seem to be slowly getting better. Bought a cheap but decent acoustic and a nice Bullet Strat at a pawn shop, probably have less than $$250 invested. The Internet is a great resource for learning, something we didn't have when we were kids.
    ocean, Jigglebone and Mansonienne like this.

  6. texred

    texred Guest

    hmmph. keep going.
    Eardoc and Mansonienne like this.

  7. texred

    texred Guest

    It's a hard life, ain't it.
    Barb likes this.

  8. texred

    texred Guest

    Boy, me too. Had piano for three years, kept playing 3 more years. End of Story. That was 40 years ago, and now there are 2 guitars in my bed?????

  9. texred

    texred Guest

    Somebody told me all musicians were frustrated drummers. That oughta start some!
    Bob the builder likes this.

  10. texred

    texred Guest

    you need a dog or a cat or an iguana. 4 walls don't cut it.

  11. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Another drummer at heart here.For sure this guitar learning isn't as easy ...or maybe i should say as natural as drums were. I still get to sit behend a set now and again, but this guitar is a whole lot less equipment to carry and set up.And I can get some of these things rolling around in my head to come out. Hope you're enjoying it as much as
    ocean, Jigglebone and Mansonienne like this.

  12. 4thwisemonkey

    4thwisemonkey Strat-Talker

    Dec 30, 2016
    stoke on trent
    lol I know that feeling,but ive spent many happy hours messing with guitars and watching utube vids
    ocean likes this.

  13. Lost Sailor

    Lost Sailor Strat-O-Master

    Aug 20, 2012
    I started at 61....piano that is.....mid 60's now. Been playing guitar since ' that left hand/right hand stuff makes me want to bang my head into a brick wall....I'm not giving up though. I don't have to worry about callouses either. Very high and low notes are fun to figure out on the great staff too. (and yes, I suck but ok on guitar)

    AARP was a pita....I got more junk mail than I ever saw in my life.
    I did not renew at 51.
    Mansonienne and Bob the builder like this.

  14. nitro

    nitro Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    ocala fl
    Amen brother
    BillF and Jigglebone like this.

  15. Braumeisterblake

    Braumeisterblake Strat-Talker

    Feb 17, 2017
    Wheaton, Il
    I started at 43. I'll be 45 soon. Making up for lost time!

  16. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 2, 2016
    That quote kicks all the ass that's out there to kick.
    nitro, BillF, ocean and 1 other person like this.

  17. Tomee

    Tomee Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    I never had music lessons as a kid (despite a strong interest in music these luxuries were not available where I lived). As an adult I put aside the notion that I could ever learn music because I had no training as a child. But I always wanted to play an instrument (the violin especially) and kept wondering what it would be like to be able to.

    When I was 22 I asked an acquaintance who played guitar in a band if I could ever learn to play guitar - he said no way you're too old and you'll never learn it. I was stupid and I listened to him - what I didn't know was that becoming self taught was not going to work for me - I needed a teacher.

    The desire to learn to play stayed with me, and on my 45th birthday I bought a Squier Telecaster with a bunch of books on chords and how to teach yourself to play. I tried learning the open chords but didn't know where to go or what to do. Eventually dropped it after a few months. The guitar then sat in the basement for 4 years. The strings even rusted up and broke off.

    Then a friend lent me the book "Guitar Zero" where an older (in his 40s) journalist takes a year of hard effort to learn the guitar. As well, I kept seeing documentaries on PBS on how the brain works and there were these stories of people learning to do amazing things (like walking) after strokes and other brain damaging experiences and I decided that maybe I had a chance of learning if I took lessons and TRIED REALLY HARD.

    I signed up for lessons 2 weeks after my 50th birthday... My teacher has a music degree and plays jazz, which is what I wanted to learn to play. I started with basic chords and finger exercises. I could barely move my hands and my fingers had no reach at all. After 3 months I was ready to quit but he started to give me some solo bits to practice and these were actually fun and easier to do. I stuck with it. He always teaches theory and that has really interested me. The fingers very slowly are able to stretch further, and the coordination is improving. I know that a 12 year old would progress faster, but I tell myself to not think about that - do what I can do.
    Most days I ask why I'm doing this - when I was able to play a chord cleanly and well, and it sounds so nice, I realized that that WAS the reward. At this point it's not even being able to play a whole song that satisfies me, just the sound of a nice chord or a string of notes is enough for now. Making 2 or 3 chords sound good is a better reward...

    I have stuck with the weekly lessons and practice daily for at least 15 minutes. At first more than 15 minutes was too hard. After 6 months 30 minutes to an hour of practice was possible if I had the time. We have 3 kids, and they play competitive sports so I'm driving all over the place nearly every day of the week. So I gave up watching Netflix and browsing the internet to practice from 10pm to 11pm, with a small amp and sometimes headphones.

    Severe GAS struck after 4 months into it - A better guitar must certainly make me a better player. The Tele neck was 'too thin'. The frets to short. I got a CV 50s Strat, it was good but I don't like the maple neck. I sell it. I get another Strat, then a another. WTF I'm even worse on these! I sell those. A friend lent me his 1990s MIA Strat - GAS got worse! I get one more CV Strat, and a MIA Peavey... I fine tune the 3 guitars I now had following Dan Earlwine's book and videos (even changing out the nut on one, and doing a partial fret levelling!). There is no way these guitars are holding me back, and my teacher tells me this every time I bring a new guitar into the lessons.

    At 7 or 8 months in I 'got' barre chords, and now, at 13 months, can easily transition from major, minor and other similar barre shapes along the neck. I cannot play a whole song but my teacher has said if I tried to learn a few 3-chord campfire songs I'd easily be able to do it. I can now cleanly play chords on the first Tele I bought and realize now that the guitar isn't making much of a difference at all (well, after it was properly set up!). I even moved up from 9-42s to 10-48s just to do it - and I can manage it.

    I recently read the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge and that was an eye opener - the notion that you need to learn something before a certain age has pretty much been dispelled by recent research. Yes, the earlier you start the better, but the brain is not "fixed" at puberty.

    I know this is long, but I want some other 50+ learners to know that it's possible to start at this age and progress, perhaps slowly, but the progress will occur if you practice everyday. The key is the everyday practice, and the research has shown that even just thinking about playing helps (and I think it really does). So on days off I try to read music theory and imagine playing different chord shapes. I am now listening to music differently too.
    I don't expect to ever play like Wes Montgomery or Jeff Beck, but that's not my goal. Soloing with a looper pedal over my chords is the current new goal. :)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

  18. nitro

    nitro Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    ocala fl
    I’m jumping back in , so to speak. I’ve actually got time to practice now that my wife and I are empty nesters. And have differing schedules. I work 8 to 5 , and hers is mostly evening hours .

    But Im having a tough time. Id give almost anything to have my 30 yr old hands back. I’ve been a mechanic for mor than half of my life now, and the abuse has taken its toll on them. My fingers and hands are sore and hurt most nites so thats when I work on my equipment or work on someone elses guitar for them. I dont charge for what I do cause I like to keep my hands busy. Ironic, no? And I love the experience that Im gainning by doing this work. Being a mechanic by nature as well as by trade, I always have to know how things work and want to make them work better. All the payment I need is to see someones face light up when they realize how much better their guitar feels and plays when Im done. Its really a cool feeling.

    I got into turning wrenches for a living cause I couldnt afford to pay someone else to fix my car. And guitars are the same way. And now I have 22 of them. Mostly cheaper stuff but they all play really well now. And make me happy. And its given me renewed desire and ambition to learn to play better.

    So to all reading this thread, please dont give up. Keep trying and practice every chance you get.

    And remember , your never to old to learn.

  19. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    I started playing guitar when I was 6 or 7 years old but I only started to play drums 3 years ago when I was 50. I am not awesome but my drumming gets better and better and I can hold a nice groove together but I don't have amazing chops. It has been super fun learning a new instrument and it's easier to do having learned other instruments. I highly recommend learning something new.
    Hash McBrown likes this.

  20. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013