Picking up an instrument as an adult

KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
I'm a firm believer that I should always try new things, gains skills (or skillz) and learn something new as I get older, so I been thinking about picking up an instrument and learning to play it.

I don't have dreams of becoming awesome immediately or even years down the road. I just think it would be neat to slowly progress at it and maybe get okay enough to play some simple things.

Any recommendations? Was thinking guitar, as cliché as it is, but I'm open to anything.

My only requirements are that it's inexpensive to start off, and that it won't require me to take outside lessons. Mainly hoping to use youtube/other resources if that's feasible.


  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    If you're thinking of learning electric guitar in a casual way, you could do worse than picking up Rocksmith 2014.

    KetarE.CoyoteHappylilElfRoeSir Carcass
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Guitar is something easy enough to sound ok to someone who doesn't know how to play guitar while sounding painfully horrible to people that do

    (I am garbage at it because I never practice)

    that said, they're easy to find at all prices and information on practice ideas and tabs and such are super easy to find.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I picked up a ukulele a few months back cause I wanted to learn an instrument and it seems like everyone goes for guitar (nothing wrong with guitar). Advantages are it's easier to learn and a lot of the fingering can carry override to guitar if you want to play that.

    You can also get one for like $50. That said pretty much everyone I talked to about it before buying said to get the best quality instrument I could afford. If you get a stringed instrument pickup a little tuner that clips to the head. They are easy to use, cheap, and you can always be in tune. Tune up to the note. I get wicked hand cramps after an extended practice session, but I've been told that'll more or less go away.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    there's also a free app called Guitartuna that can help tune your instrument (though only to standard, not open G or anything like that)

  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    What types of music do you like? I would look for instruments that really shine in the music you enjoy.

    Are there any instruments that bring you joy when you hear them? It is so so so much easier to pick up an instrument every day if the sound it makes brings a smile to your face.

    Once you have an idea what you are after, go try it out! It's a lot easier if the feel of holding an instrument brings a smile to your face too. This one can be a bit tricky though. Ideally borrow one from a friend for a week, but if not you may have to brave the music shops.

    One word of warning, a bad instrument (or a badly set up instrument) can make learning a miserable experience and totally put you off. This is more true for some instruments than others, but guitars are definitely a problem. Unfortunately it is hard to know without putting it into the hands of someone experienced and critically minded that you trust. If you have a friend who meets that criteria they are worth their weight in gold when you go shopping. If not just listen to your gut. If you have any doubts at all step away and give it some thought.

    Looks are important too, but try not to get too caught up in that side as it can blind you to your subtle feelings about other things. Focus too much on looks and you will have an ornament that you never play. Feel and sound should be a priority.

    handt.jpg tor.jpg

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    You can pick up a starter ocarina for pretty cheap, $15-25. They're super portable so you can just take it to work and noodle around on it in the parking lot over lunch or whatever.

    Tofystedeth on
  • RandomEncounterRandomEncounter Registered User regular
    If you attempt to pick up a piano, please get some help and lift with your legs, not your back.

    No matter what the instrument, the key is to set aside time to practice it and be consistent, I think. Otherwise your brand new whatever is just going to gather dust and/or be used to hang laundry.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If you attempt to pick up a piano, please get some help and lift with your legs, not your back.


    Throwing my hat in for 'ukulele' though. 4 strings, easy to keep quiet, cheap, little setup, and PORTABLE. Incredibly light and easy to bring with you for when you have a few minutes.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • bombardierbombardier Moderator mod
    edited September 2017
    Have you considered drums? Any Rock Band experience would give you a bit of a head start.

    Electronic drum kits are a good compromise between noise, cost, and size, while still sounding pretty close to the real thing. Good for getting down muscle memory patterns and rhythm. Another bonus is with a cheap $20 USB cable you can plug most into your computer and play with software like Phase Shift for a Rock Band-like game.

    Practice pads are portable, cheap, and easy to play patterns on or refine technique while watching a movie or TV, provided you won't drive someone else insane.

    They were my "late to the game" instrument and I've settled on decent used electronic kit plus practice pad.

    Guitar or some kind of strings are gonna be way cheaper, in around the $100 range to start, but you could easily spend a few hundred on a basic electronic drum kit and $500 or so for a used full 88 key electronic piano with weighted keys (like a Yamaha P115 or P105).

    bombardier on
  • SadgasmSadgasm Deluded doodler A cold placeRegistered User regular
    I got a harmonica as a birthday gift this year which I've been playing around with, but I mostly use it to screw around. I can do tunes okay, it's a pretty easy instrument, but I have virtually no understanding of the scales or anything. Still, if you want something easy, go with that, but get a C harmonica, I got a G, which most tutorials dont follow.

  • RoeRoe Farming Greater Rifts Registered User regular
    I would recommend you learn how to play the trumpet. It is very fun to play and even better if you have aspirations of playing in a band or orchestra.

  • MalgarasMalgaras Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote: »
    If you're thinking of learning electric guitar in a casual way, you could do worse than picking up Rocksmith 2014.

    As someone who has picked up guitar pretty recently, this was really a great for keeping myself motivated to practice.

    Additionally, https://www.justinguitar.com is a fantastic resource for learning beginner guitar, and a bit beyond that.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I tried picking up guitar a while back, and what I learned is that you have to dedicate time to practicing on a regular basis. The more frequent the better. So better to practice 6 days a week for 10 minutes a day then an hour long session on Sundays. Leave the guitar out on a stand so you can just grab it, anything you can do to keep you from making excuses not to practice.

    You won't be playing any songs for a while, so your going to get pretty bored playing scales and making shapes over and over again. You need to get your body to memorize the hand shapes and strum patterns w/o thinking about it or you wont be able to switch chords fast enough for a song to sound like a song.

    You don't need to learn every chord at first though, certain types of songs use the same 2 or 3 chords for most of the song like G-C-D, and you can certainly learn to produce a decent riff before too long (depending on how often you practice).

  • Space PickleSpace Pickle Registered User regular
    I started learning doubl bass recently. Guitar is great, go for it!

  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    Another option is the tin whistle. Cheap, portable, relatively easy to learn.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Thanks all!

    I'm narrowing my choices down to guitar, harmonica and ukulele, with the last one being the one I'm leaning most towards.

  • Sir LandsharkSir Landshark resting shark face Registered User regular
    Guitar has an absolute ton of free resources available for learning, plus Rocksmith is great. Harmonica and ukulele are a bit more niche.

    Please consider the environment before printing this post.
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Thanks all!

    I'm narrowing my choices down to guitar, harmonica and ukulele, with the last one being the one I'm leaning most towards.

    also decent ukeleles can be cheap

  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    Ukulele is a great choice of instrument to get into music with. Even the really cheap ones are usually pretty playable and sound nice, and there is a lot of beginner focused material online.

    Good quality strings for them are also really cheap, last a long time and improve the sound and tuning considerably. I'd recommend picking up some Aquila Nylgut or something similar if you do get one, and replacing the fishing line they often come with.

    handt.jpg tor.jpg

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Thanks all!

    Just ordered this 870dgbwrex4c.jpg

    I think by law I'll need to learn Over the Rainbow first.

    TofystedethZombie HeroTechnicalityCelestialBadgerRandomEncounterGreat ScottHappylilElfSwashbucklerXX
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