5 stages of a beginner

found this on a web site

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are the five stages a beginner guitarist goes through when learning how to play

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uh what

Those are Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief.


There are those beginners for whom the above may be true…
and then there are the more fortunate beginners who found JustinGuitar


I just stay in the denial phase. Then I don’t need to worry about expectations.

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Lamolay, I’m sure the pain in your fingers will get better. Mine is getting better and there is hope.

Have to disagree here:

More like 6 (or more) stages

Stage 1 - Elation - You just bought your first guitar, brought it home & opened the box/case/bag!!!

Stage 2 - Pain - You’ve started learning & Dear God in Heaven your fingers hurt!!!

Stage 3 - Frustration - “What the heck do these TABs mean”, “Why doesn’t ANYTHING I try to play sound ANYTHING like the song I am playing along to???”, What did I get myself into???

Stage 4 - Acceptance - “This is going to be a LONG journey with associated peaks & valleys…” just like learning anything worthwhile. But, I LOVE IT!!!

Stage 5 - Competence - Finally!!! “I can pick up my guitar & actually make sounds come out of it that sound like music!!!”

Stage 6 - Mastery - When you can sight read, have mastered the notes & chords up & down the neck, are fluent in Music Theory, have trained your ears to pick out different sounds, are skilled at playing different scales, chords in many positions, & musical styles including fingerstyle & various strumming styles. This may include Blues, Jazz, Rock, Flamenco, Bossa Nova or Classical for different listeners or could just be an acknowledged Master of a particular style… more I’m not thinking of…

I may have left out a couple of intermediate Stages but you get the drift… :thinking: Drift??? Drifters???

Time to go play “Save the Last Dance For Me”!!!



I suppose the addition I’d make to your list is just a side note that stage 3 frustration can be revisited again and again!


I think it’s completely accurate! I teeter between bargaining and depression about 90% of the time. I hop over to acceptance occasionally but it’s usually short lived.