Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?

Let me start with a quick story about an ill fated guitar student of mine.

A few years ago I had a friend approach me to take guitar lessons. He wanted to play chords and pop songs, acoustic guitar type love songs and he gave me a CD with examples. So I agreed and we did a trade of services.

We met a few times a month for a few months and over that time he became less and less interested in the guitar lessons. I thought this was strange since he was making some progress, but eventually he stopped taking guitar lessons and we stopped working together. He didn't tell me why, and I thought maybe he just wasn't digging my teaching style.

Playing Guitar for the Wrong Reasons?

my neglected guitar by alexbree d377jeb1 300x225 Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?It was about a year later I bumped into him again and we talked a little bit. I asked if he was still playing guitar and that sort thing and that's when he told me why he had actually quit playing guitar.

He had decided to play guitar in first place because he had broken up with his logntime girlfriend and he still loved her even though she really wasn't interested in him. Well, he thought he could win her back by playing some guitar songs that he knew she liked.

He still had his guitar, but really he had only taken it up for her and so never played it.

The Guitar Owner

The questions that came to my mind about this story is was this the right reason learn to play guitar, and what are the different reasons that people are into playing guitar. Clearly he's a guitar owner, and nothing much more.

Playing Guitar, But Not Lovin' It

More recently I found out a buddy of mine had a nice quality acoustic guitar and he had singed up for an account with one of those giant online lesson sites. So I assumed, you know, maybe he was as at least as passionate about music as I was. Even though I knew he really only picked up the guitar once in a while, and really hated to sing.

In any case, I decided to start creating a CD for him with cool guitar music that I had discovered over the years and thought he'd probably love--I was hoping to inspire him. Unfortunately, when I told him about how I was working on the CD he seemed about as excited as I am about collecting rocks. In fact he didn't even reply.

So I gave up making the CD because he probably wouldn't appreciate it. (Maybe I should have done it anyways...)

The Guitar Player

I thought about that too. You know he has a guitar and even seems somewhat willing to try to learn it, but he really only has a passing interest, and his passion is obviously with other things. Still nice to know he at least appreciates the guitar and will pick it up from time to time on the right occasions to strum a few tunes.

Guitar Passion 24-7!

default.jpg 300x182 Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?And there are people like myself and probably like many of you who pick up the guitar and play it almost every day, and have been playing a long time and are passionate about it.

You might own 5 guitars. You like to talk about it and you want to learn new things and always continue to advance your playing. You experiment with new genres and you're into the equipment and different guitar makes and models. For you it's more of a lifestyle and an important part of your life.

Maybe most importantly it's a key way you express yourself, and a creative outlet.

A Guitarist

When you make it something that you just love to do, well, then I think we can call you a guitarists. Maybe you're one of those...

Whether you're an owner, player, or a guitarist I hope that my stories help illustrate the difference.

Question for You, Which Are You?

guitar gift1 196x300 Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist? I believe to truly get the most rewarding experience with your guitar you should be a guitarist. But some people just enjoy being a guitar player and that's alright too.

If you're just a guitar owner then consider why you ever wanted to play the instrument in the first place. Do you own a guitar because your friend decided to pick one up and you just had to compete? Or, you wanted to win over a girl? Maybe you just thinks it looks good and you want one in your house or apartment. Certainly I can understand that. But, if you never plan to play it again then give that guitar to somebody else and let them have a chance at developing a passion for the instrument. Give the guitar a new life and a new chance icon wink Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?

Which are you? And which do you want to be? Do you think guitar owners should give their guitar to someone else who would truly appreciate it?


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pixel Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?
 Are You a Guitar Owner, Guitar Player, or Guitarist?

About Michael Jae

Michael is a guitarist of over 18 years and has taught lessons, played in front of live audiences, and wrote and recorded his own acoustic fingerstyle albums. He's especially fond of playing classic rock, heavy metal, classical guitar, and fingerstyle acoustic guitar in the style of Leo Kottke and John Fahey.




  1. That story sounds kind of sad, but unfortunately, it is probably one that takes place more often than it should. Many younger persons probably make the mistake of wanting to learn how to play the guitar for reasons similar to that of your friend or just to impress girls. That is not enough to drive a person to practice often enough to become a decent guitar player, unless of course, a person develops a true passion for playing the guitar along the way.

    • Michael Jae says:

      Yeah, that’s true. You may start for what some might consider a silly reason but develop a true passion. I honestly can’t remember why I started exactly but I was always passionate about music and I think when I discovered I could make it myself, it clicked, and I HAD to play.

  2. Hey I was reading through your blog and i like the articles about acoustic guitar. I saw the picture of the older stratocaster because it caught my eye as i own a white stratocaster. I have made a virtual guitar website and would like your opinion on it. I have been playing the guitar for fifteen years.

  3. I am neither a guitar owner or a guitar player but this article was very interesting. The story about the guy learning so that he could win his girlfriend back was very heartbreaking. But I guess if you are learning for the wrong reason this can happen. You did a very good job putting this together and I found it very interesting.

  4. I am very passionate about music. I am an aficionado of all music genres. So maybe if I take up guitar lessons for this one peculiar reason – or fantasy, which I have had on my mind for some time, I might also develop a life long passion for it. Ever since I started watching the TV series, True Blood, I have enjoyed the theme song just as much. I have also conjured up this fantasy of playing that song in front of people at some charlock bar. If you haven’t heard the theme song (I wanna do bad things to you), look it up on You tube, I think most guitar players would like that song, too.

    • Michael Jae says:

      You could probably find a nice acoustic version of that song and learn that. Heck even if it’s just a few chords.

  5. I’m not a Guitar player or guitar owner, but there is a guitar player in my family I have seen her do just what you are talking about, she likes to play every now and then but she isn’t a fanatic about it and she likes to have them setting around as decoration. I don’t see anything wrong with giving them away to someone who will use them but I’m sure she won’t do that.

  6. I call my self a guitar player, not a guitarist but will become someday. It’s been one year only since i picked up this beautiful instrument that has power to change people and their thinking towards music and life in general. It was my childhood dream to play my favorite songs which i have been listening to all my life. They are like energy capsules. I’m more of a metal fan and Metallica have truly been my inspiration. Their music touches our soul.

    We have many ups & downs in life including breakups / heartbreaks and to get out of it one can focus / divert his attention to music which indeed helps. Just playing for the sake of winning her heart will never help. One has to have a command over himself and not get bent down by emotions. Strive for excellence, success will be there.

    • Michael Jae says:

      Thanks for sharing Metal Guy. I too am a big metal fan and greatly inspired by Metallica (and still am). Good luck in your quest to become a guitarist, you’re already sounding like one to me!

  7. I consider myself to be a guitarist. I want to have every single guitar and play the f*** out of it. It just makes me happy. I remember it all started with Metallica’s black album. Sad But True was so awesome, I said “I wish I could do stuff like that”. And so, here I am, making my own music, feeling every note as if I am the one speaking through it.

    • Michael Jae says:

      Amen Ivan! I’m right with you. I just love the instrument and can’t get enough. Metallica is one of my favorite guitar oriented bands. They are a great inspiration to many. Nice to meet you! Please continue to stop by.

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