Do I Need to Learn to Read Music to Play Guitar?

A lot of guitar players wonder whether it is important to learn to read music.  Depending on who you ask you will get different answers.  Most guitar players who can read standard notation will tell you that it is important, while others who don’t read music will tell you that it isn’t.

When weighed against the time it takes to learn to read music, it isn’t that important for the vast majority of players to learn to read standard notation, at least not fluently.   Unless you are planning on becoming a session player or a jazz player, you may never need to use it, and it is a skill that needs to be practiced regularly to keep it sharp.  It is important to at least know how standard notation works even if you can’t read it fluently, however.  You should at learn the different timing denominations and the different symbols associated with standard notation, so that if you have a piece of music in standard notation you can at least work it out measure by measure.