Do All Great Guitarists Have Natural Talent?
by Jake Willmot, professional guitar teacher
Perhaps this is a question that has been on your mind. Do you have to have natural god given talent in order to play guitar amazingly well? Well the truth is, if you needed natural talent to play guitar, no one would play guitar. No one can be a natural in everything related to play guitar, this is not possible. All those guitar players who you have read about, almost all of them have struggled a lot in the past just like everyone else. These people are just human like everyone else. Eric Clapton said that he used to struggle when he was starting out. Slash used to struggle with his guitar playing all the time when he was young.
What is natural talent?
Natural talent is having a tendency to do the right things in the right way consistently. That’s it. You can develop talent, just like you can develop skills. Nothing about playing the guitar is something you can’t develop. You can develop your technique, speed, chord playing, lead guitar playing, your songwriting or whatever it is you want to do. You have to lose the mentality that you must have natural talent to play guitar.
So do I have to practice all day?
They didn’t all practice 12 hours a day either. Think about when you were a child. What did you do when you were old enough to play guitar? You went to school for 7-8 hours (unless you were home-schooled in which case you did it at home). This is a long time for a child. After you got home you didn’t really have 8 hours before you had to go to bed. Besides after being at school for that long, all you wanted to do was relax. All I wanted to do was play PS2, go on the internet or watch TV.
Most kids don’t have 8 hours a day anyway and after school are too tired to do anything. Unless you skipped school a lot you wouldn’t have had 8 hours a day in secondary school either because you had homework to do.
Honestly, same as before, you have to go to bed before you finish 8 hours practice and you are tired after school anyway. What about when you get to adulthood? Well you are either putting in hours into university if that is your path or you are working at a day job all day. Sooner or later you do that most of the time.
So at no point in your life do you really have that long to practice, so just looking at that you know that practicing 8-12 hours a day is a myth. Any famous guitarist who says this is just saying that to seem more impressive to you.
Point blank, it has nothing to do with natural talent. There are lots of musicians and guitarists in the world, do you really think all of those people are natural born “geniuses”? Of course not. There are too many of them for them to all be naturally gifted prodigies. You simply put the time and effort in every day, 1-2 hours is good, or even half hour can get you there. You can also get there faster with a great teacher.
About the author: Jake Willmot has been a guitar instructor in Exmouth for 5 years at the time of this article. He has been to various events on guitar teaching and playing. He truly knows what he is talking about.