Musical Frustrations - Age

Am I Too Old to Play Guitar?

by Chris Fiore

A concern I often hear from people who want to play the guitar is the frustration with age. It’s unfortunate that a simple number can stop people from starting guitar, playing music, or doing anything that they desire. These frustrations about age go hand and hand with the myth that “some people are musically talented, and some are not”.

Let me debunk this myth by saying

Anyone can acquire almost any skill to some level of competence. Playing a musical instrument is just a skill like any other and people of all ages grasp the concepts involved at different rates.

Let’s pretend in our society we didn’t keep track of how old we were. Life would still be similar and people would still be physically and mentally aged; kids would be taken care of by adults, only the more experienced people would drive/have a house/etc, kids would still have school and be educated. The structures of society and school would be based around ability and skills rather than just a number of age. Now, visualize yourself in this society, where age is completely irrelevant, you have no age. Would this stop you from learning something?

Age should never be an excuse to not do something, especially when it comes to music. If you think about it, the time it takes for those thoughts or frustrations to build up could be better spent playing that guitar.

Some musical examples can be found even with guitar icons:

Joe Satriani the guitar wizard himself did not have his big break until he was in his early 30s with the release of his album “Surfing with the Alien”. He now has multiple Grammy Award nominations and platinum records.

Wes Montgomery, considered one of the best Jazz guitarists of all time began playing the guitar when he was 19 years old.

Coco Montoya, an outstanding blues guitarist grew up as a drummer and didn’t get serious until his 20s.

“Noodles”, the guitarist from the punk band the Offspring was the school janitor at the high school where the band formed, and is several years older than the others.

Tom Morello the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave didn’t get serious about guitar until he was in college. He wound up graduating and getting his degree in Political Science and went on to sell millions of records.

Do you think any of those musicians had age frustrations? Possibly, but I can tell you that the desire to create and make music was far greater than frustrations, allowing them to pursue their dreams. You have to overcome your frustrations about age and move past that “number”.

As in life, it also takes time to mature both musically, and you’ll find that most of classical composers greatest works are not until their later years. This is also true with authors. Consider, for instance, the following:

The first public performance of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” wasn’t until he was 46

Ludwig van Beethoven completed his 9th Symphony at 54, only 3 years before his death.

The composer Franck wrote his only symphony at 66

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. dropped out from his job at General Electric to become a full-time writer at 27

Ayn Rand first achieved fame at 38 with her novel “The Fountainhead” and then over a decade later at 52 published her notable work “Atlas Shrugged”.

Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf was published when he was 50

J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of his fantasy series, Lord of the Rings at 62

A personal inspiration for me has always been my grandfather, William Roddin (pictured below). He started training for running at the age of 58. He began to run marathons and got into biking and swimming. Then 5 years later he was competing in Triathlon’s. Growing up and witnessing him do that taught me that as long as the desire is strong you can do anything you put your mind to.

William Roddin

So do not let age ever hold you hostage. Let all these frustrations fuel that fire within to DO SOMETHING NOW! Go practice that guitar, go write that book, go skydiving. Do what you have always desired to do and make it happen, no excuses!

About the author: Chris ‘Fury’ Fiore is a professional guitarist, composer and recording artist from Long Island, NY. For more information check out the official website

If you get a chance, I’d like to hear your success stories too. Feel free to email me:

© 2011 by Chris Fiore. All Rights Reserved
Used with Permission

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