Lots of folks particularly beginners ask this common question before learning to play guitar, “how long does it take to learn guitar?” This can’t be answered outside of broad generalities. It depends and depends on several factors. The real answer for any instrument is … All your life or A lifetime.
Actually, you never stop “learning” the guitar. The whole thing is a journey.
The guitar is arguably one of the most popular musical instruments to learn out there. Playing the guitar is a form of art that sets your ideas and emotions free. Whether you want to learn the guitar to practice a new hobby or launch your musical career, the most important thing to do to learn the guitar is to practice regularly.
Why Learn the Guitar?
It reduces stress. Playing the guitar is considered to be a form of therapy. Music therapy has shown to be an effective way to manage a person’s emotions. Playing the guitar is a great way for you to express your emotions. It’s like you are venting out to a friend who really understands how you feel.
It sparks your creativity. Even if you don’t write original songs, playing the guitar can enhance your creativity in many ways. It’s a unique instrument that requires you to keep challenging yourself. Creativity is how you connect things together to come up with your own original ideas, and that’s exactly what you do when you play the guitar.
It improves your memory. Many studies show that playing the guitar stimulates areas of the brain responsible for memory. Learning chord shapes and reading guitar tabs require a high concentration level.
It’s portable. While it’s not the smallest musical instrument, you can still take it with you almost anywhere. Unlike a piano or a set of drums, it doesn’t require a lot of effort to set up.
Types of Guitars
There are 3 main types of guitars:
Nylon String Guitar
The Nylon-String Guitar is often referred to as the classical guitar. It’s the least expensive type of guitar and it’s a good choice for beginners. The fret is wide which is a good thing for inexperienced players and the nylon strings are easy on the fingertips.
Steel String Acoustic Guitar
This guitar is quite similar to the classical guitar except that steel strings replace nylon strings. This means that you get a louder and brighter sound. The steel strings can hurt your fingers if you continuously play for long periods of time so make sure you’re ok making that trade-off.
This guitar converts the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals which are then amplified using some special equipment which results in a sound that is much louder than that produced by other types of guitars. The fret is narrower than that of the classical guitar which requires a bit more experience.
Related Post For a better understanding of the similarities and differences of each type of guitars and to complete the first step of choosing a suitable instrument for a beginner, check out our detailed articles on Acoustic Vs Classical Guitar and Acoustic Vs Electric Guitar.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Guitar?
There’s no definitive duration to learn the guitar. Many factors come into play including the frequency of practice, the method of learning, and some distinctive personal skills. It also depends on your ultimate goal and the skill level you want to master. It’s one of those things that you can keep learning and improving your skills in it for your whole life.
Nevertheless, learning the guitar, just like with any other musical instrument, requires dedication and a lot of hard work. You don’t have to be “naturally talented” to learn it too.
As is the case with learning anything new, practice is the key element that will make you master the guitar in a short time interval. A good starting point is 20 minutes a day. It’s not advisable to practice for more than one hour a day as it could get you frustrated and out of focus. You could also injure your hands if you practice for too long.
After 1 or 2 months of practice
At this stage, you should be able to play some easy songs on your guitar. The first two months of your guitar learning adventure will focus on perfecting guitar basics like open chords. These are the chords that are considered the easiest to play since they include an unfretted open string – hence the name.
As much as possible, you should perfect these open chords early on. Several songs can be played with open chords from start to finish, so it’s best to start practicing with them.
With enough practice, patience, and determination, you can successfully play some easy songs within a span of two months.
3 to 6 months of practice
This much practice will enable you to play some harder songs that require more advanced skills. Within the guitar-playing community, there is a belief that the 3-month mark is the true test for budding guitar players. During this time, you should start practicing more complex chords.
Because of the more complicated finger positioning, these chords are can seem too hard to play. So, those who aren’t too serious about learning how to play tend to give up at this point.
Armed with new chords you have learned; you can already play more complicated songs. While it may take some time to perfect them, you shouldn’t lose hope. In time, you’ll notice your progress eventually.
After 1 year
At this point, you’ll be able to play some even harder songs. When you finally reach the one-year mark, you should pat yourself on the back. At this point, you have already perfected most of the basic chords, so you’re prepared to face even more complex chords. This is the perfect time to perfect fretted chords.
Also, this is an ideal time to learn other guitar-playing techniques. This will further expand your skills to help you play more complicated songs.
In 2 years
At this stage, you should be comfortable learning any song in a short time.
Once you reach the two-year mark, you should be equipped with the skills you need to play any song of your choice. Because you have mastered all of the chords, you can easily play a song by looking at their chords.
To further improve your skills, challenge yourself with learning guitar-playing techniques and styles. This will help you find the style that you’re most comfortable with, and that will surely help you grow as a guitar player.
After 5 years of regular practice
you can consider yourself an advanced guitar player, and playing the guitar becomes more of a 2nd nature to you.
With five years of guitar playing under your belt, there’s no doubt that you have mastered how to play it. You can easily play any song thrown your way, regardless of how complicated it may be.
But, that shouldn’t stop you from further improving your skills. Continue to practice and play the guitar daily, and you’ll surely be surprised by how much you can still improve.
Of course, it can take you more time to reach your goal. Those who want to take a career path playing the guitar or join a band may spend a lot more years improving their skills. It would greatly help if you learned the theory of scales during your learning journey and understand how chords are constructed.
Tips on Learning the Guitar
Be patient. No one is born as a great player. It takes time to learn the guitar, don’t rush for it! Set mini-goals at the beginning and you’ll eventually get some amazing results.
- Practice as consistently as possible. Try not to skip a day without practicing. Even if you’ll practice for 10 or 15 mins before bed, consistent practice will keep you encouraged to reach your goal.
- It’s ok to be frustrated. The process of learning anything new must be frustrating at times or else you’re not trying hard enough. Make peace with frustration and understand that it happens.
- Practice your favorite songs. This will motivate you to learn faster. Break up each song into sections and practice each section separately until you get it right then move on to the next section. You could try playing the song from the beginning every 2 sections to see how they fit together.
- Plan your learning journey. Don’t be random and try to have direction. Seek a private instructor or join a class. If you want to learn at home by yourself, there are many books out there that teach you how to learn the guitar. There are also many websites, blogs, and mobile applications that are made especially for that. Also before trying to practice any new song, make sure it’s within your skill level so you don’t end up frustrated.
Check out a Guitar Tutor’s view on how long does it take to get good at guitar:
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should a beginner guitarist start?
For beginners, we recommend starting with learning the guitar’s anatomy. This way, you can easily find the parts when you finally start playing. Once you’re familiar with the different parts of the guitar, you should move on to the proper holding and posture. With these basic steps taken to heart, you can now start playing guitar which includes tuning, playing open chords, and strumming.
How many hours a day should you practice guitar?
It depends on whether you want to become a professional guitar player or want to do it for fun. Professionals practice between four to eight hours per day, taking breaks between every hour of practice. For more casual players, you can practice for around 20 minutes to an hour.
How quickly can you learn guitar?
On average, you can learn to play the guitar within six to eighteen months. The range depends on how determined you are to learn, and how many hours a day you practice. So with the right dedication, you can learn to play the guitar fairly quickly.
Can I learn guitar from YouTube?
Yes. YouTube is a video-sharing platform that contains thousands of informative videos about guitar playing. By browsing through its content library, you will find various teachers – and that allows you to pick the one whom you’re most comfortable learning guitar from.
Learning the guitar may not be an easy task. It doesn’t happen overnight. As we’ve mentioned, practice is your best friend.
How long does it take to learn guitar or any other instrument depends upon your learning ability and so many other things. What are your goals in learning the guitar? If you simply want to learn chords to accompany yourself singing, then the answer will be, not long.
Rather than asking the above needless question, it would be relevant if people ask the simple question, “How long may it take the typical person to get to a certain point of proficiency?” So, Never worry about how long does it take to master guitar. Just keep learning, practicing, and enjoy playing the guitar. Cheers!