So you want to learn to play an instrument. Excellent idea. Music can enrich your life in ways you had never thought possible. But which one should you learn? Well, I am here to tell you why your best choice would, without a shadow of a doubt, be the guitar.
So first off, you can play riffs and melodies on it. Well, that’s nothing to brag about, you can do that on any instrument (except drums). Now that doesn’t mean drums aren’t cool. But you aren’t going to write a song on the drums. And if you play the drums, you can jam with your friends and have a blast doing it, but you’re going to need a roomy vehicle to get them around.
But, here’s the thing, with its’ 6 strings (and sometimes even 7 or 12), not only can you play melodies on the guitar, you can play 2 or more melodies at once! Or, you can play a melody while you play the chords that go with it. So it is already way ahead of all of the instruments used in the orchestra. You can’t do that with the woodwind instruments or the brass instruments or the bowed stringed instruments. It means it’s a great tool for writing songs, because you can hear a melody and the chords together (the melody could come from the guitar or your voice). Now, in fairness, you can also do that with a piano or an organ. But it takes 4 burly men to carry your piano over to your friend’s house. And when you’re sitting around that campfire at the ocean, where are you going to plug the organ in?
Let’s face it, the guitar is the instrument of choice for sitting around the campfire because it’s portable, can be strummed in all kinds of rhythms, is loud enough to sing with and you can play chords on it. You don’t see people singing songs around a trombonist, now do you? And if you could get the piano to the campfire, you still couldn’t wow everyone with your skill at bending a note while you make that “baby filling a diaper” face.
And I haven’t even touched on the electric guitar yet. Without relearning an instrument, you can pick up an electric guitar and get a whole array of new sounds that are completely different from the acoustic guitar. Want to be loud? You’re only limited by the size of your budget for a high wattage guitar amplifier.
The guitar has some relatives that can do similar things but their sound tends to limit the style of music they get used for. Start banjo lessons and your buddies will start with the “Deliverance” jokes almost immediately. The ukulele sounds like a toy in most songs except Hawaiian music, and the mandolin makes you think of the “Godfather” soundtrack.
So with all of these things going for it, it is no wonder that the guitar is used in every imaginable style of music – pop, blues, jazz, folk music from almost every nation, classical, gospel, country, classic rock, alt rock, heavy metal, new age, etc. As you develop as a musician, even as your musical tastes change, your options are completely open.
Perhaps that is why guitars come in every size, shape, style and color. You can find a guitar that goes with your own personal sense of fashion or style. Makes you wonder, why don’t music stores have full-length mirrors?