A reader named Tino sent this nasty/feisty/downright rude email last week.

It was in response to an email I sent about a student struggling with a C chord.

Here is what he said…


“I’m sorry, but I just have to say this whether you like it or not.

If you read your emails on a regular basis like I do, you could see how someone who hasn’t been playing for years or doesn’t play 2-3 hours or so a day like me might think playing the guitar is too hard and not worth trying.

I’m not trying to be a jerk, but if these people have this much trouble doing the basics, how could they ever even think about playing fast tempos or complex time signatures or etc.

If you can’t even play a c major chord, you should just quit now.

I’m seriously sitting here wondering if we’re all talking about the same instrument.

Because I can just look at my guitar the right way and it plays a C chord. My wife doesn’t even play the guitar and can finger a C chord.

Yes, some people have larger fingers than others etc. but I’m not really talking about those people, I’m talking about everyone else without an excuse.

Also, it needs to be said, by you, to many people, calm down, sometimes it sounds bad at first, just keep trying.

Anyway, I digress. I’m not attacking you or your students, just pointing out something that bothered me.

Reading your emails too much makes it sound like guitar is impossible or something when it actually is easy, it just takes discipline and practice just like anything else, professionals simply spend hours every day doing one thing, of course you suck if you play ten minutes a day.



 Deary me…

As silly and arrogant as this email was, there was one pearl of wisdom inside.

First, the arrogance…

I mean, forgetting the fact he has the magic ability to make his guitar play a chord just by looking at it (ha-ha)…

It’s obvious that Tino has forgotten what it’s like to be a beginner.


Over the years, I’ve had a lot of guitarist friends and acquaintances talk to me about teaching.

Most of these range from pretty good to excellent musicians.

Literally none of them had any idea what I was on about when I talked about beginners and students struggling with basic chords and chord changes.

It’s like they have mentally blocked it out from their brains, and this makes sense, as for many of them it was 10-30 years ago when they started out and no one really looks back at the painful times.


As for his wife being able to nail a C chord, I doubt it!

If that’s true, I’d be surprised and even so, there are many factors at play here…

Maybe she is an expert violinist with nimble fingers…

And/or she has actually dabbled with the guitar quite a bit…

And/or she got lucky with the chord one time…

And/or maybe she made the shape of the chord, but the notes weren’t actually clear (so what’s the point)…

And/or when she tried to change chords to another shape, it was next to impossible for her, etc.


Have you ever met someone who just randomly picked up the guitar for the very first time and nailed a C chord?

Of course not, and the idea is laughable.

The only thing I will say though, is good ol’ Tino threw in a little bit of wisdom there though, at the end when he talks about calming down and being disciplined – that is something I agree with.

The bottom line is…


If anyone ever gives you advice like this, shrug it off and ignore it as these people probably don’t mean to be mean – they just have forgotten how hard starting out on guitar can be.

So I hope if you ever got a negative comment about your playing before, especially from other guitarists (they sting), then this email helped you realise it’s not about you but it’s about them…


Just remember, we all start somewhere.

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you want a little help with core technique, chords, and chord changes, you may want to check out my eBook bundle.

There are 7 eBooks that are all short but focused on getting you jumping over the 7 specific hurdles that hold most people back on the guitar at the beginner stage…

Guitar Domination Super eBook Bundle


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.


Dave Disch
February 14, 2022 Reply

Hey Dan……
I would tell Tino this if I had the opportunity…..

I am almost 68 years old. I have been playing (among other instruments) guitar since I was 12. I was self taught. My first public performance on a guitar was playing (fingerpicking) Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” on a borrowed 12 String. Our resident Hippie at my school said “nobody finger picks an electric guitar….Here. try this on for size.” This was in my sophomore year of high school and at a school concert. I was later given a scholarship to the 2 week summer session of High School Choir at the Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan that summer.

I have played and performed a lot since then.

In 2012, the car I was driving was struck by an intoxicated driver. Among other injuries was the near total loss of dexterity in my left hand due to radial nerve palsy. I underwent a tendon transfer that restored some mobility and partial dexterity, but in doing so, I lost extension of my fingers, cannot make a fist, and have only 3 pounds of grip strength on my fretting hand.

I cannot form a C Chord. Or, for that matter, F, Bm, C#m, Barre chords, etc. I think you get my drift. I also teach guitar. Imagine my dilemma. I cannot properly demonstrate the proper placement of fingering.

Until that is, I came across your course. ONE suggestion that made the cost or your course worthwhile was your demonstration on the proper way to hold the guitar. You know…..the way one holds a classical guitar. The other suggestion was to tune my guitar down one full step and capo the 2nd fret.

Guess what? I can now (after much practice at it), properly play a C (among others) chord. I still have much pain in trying to play more than 10 minutes, but I can play.

My wife has told me: “Now you know how your students feel when they don’t get it right immediately.”

Tino: Please don’t discourage someone by making them feel inferior because what came easy to you didn’t come easy to them. I tell my students: “If it was easy, you wouldn’t need me.”

Read the Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. It’s fiction, but it shows how difficult being a beginner can be. You must have forgotten that.

Play on.

Thanks, Dan, for what you do to inspire others…..

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