How long does it take to learn guitar?

Some words about the guitar learning process

how long it takes to learn guitar

When beginners start learning guitar, one of the frequently asked questions is "how long does it take to play guitar".

In this article, we're going to provide some answers.

Of course, it depends a lot on how much effort you put into practice. And it also depends on how you mean for "learn guitar".

Learning the guitar is a never-ending journey, every time you think you have mastered something, soon a new world of options and things to learn appears.

But by looking at our guitar students behaviors, some rules generally apply.

The 6 phases of guitar student's life

We suppose a practice regime of 3 times a week, for about 30 minutes at a time, carried out with enough consistency.

1/3 Months: play easy guitar songs

You can play songs with basic open chords and simple rhythms. You have built calluses, and you're all set for more complex things.

3/6 Months: more complex songs

Your fingers gained agility, and now you can pluck single strings easily, do a little bit of pull-off and hammer-on, and playing simple melody lines.

6/12 Months: here the fun begins

You can play riffs and complex genres like the Blues and country. You can play elaborated strumming patterns. You can play simple lead guitar lines and your picking speed starts to improve.

2 years: time for serious theory

At this point it's likely you want to understand what happens under the hood, so you'll start to study music theory, chords building, harmony.

Little by little your improvisation and composition skills start to build up. You could even be wondering about playing live in front of an audience.

5 years: congratulations, you're an intermediate guitar player

Your technical skills are now excellent, your musical ear is good too. Now it's time to learn how to play with others, so you'll want to practice improvisation, live music, or, if you are a shredder, you'll study to improve your picking, sweep, tapping technique.

10+ years: you're an expert

At this point, you should be able to understand by yourself what are your strong and weak points, and what and how practice to become a complete musician. Probably you'll want to give lessons to young fellow guitarists.

Of course, everyone has is different when it comes to learning something; these are just raw guidelines to give you an idea. Your progress as a musician depends on a lot of factors: how much you practice, how well you can focus on the guitar, your talent...or not....?

How hard is it to learn guitar?

Ok, we have just seen the evolution of a guitar player if effort and dedication are applied through the years. But how hard this process is?

how hard is to learn guitarLet's face reality: Learning the guitar is not easy.

You need things to fall in the right place: often you get stuck, you lose motivation, or things seem to be too much complicated.

Learning how to play the guitar is demanding (and incredibly rewarding), but it will be a lot easier with the right tools and resources. You should always have clear what will be your next goal, whether it is an open chord or sweeping an arpeggio. So the n.1 advice here is to find a private teacher or join an online guitar course with a step-by-step curriculum.

Beware of promises that sound like "Learn guitar in 7 days". Online, there are learning resources, but most of the time finding them is like to trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The truth: beginners need a clear, structured learning path.

That is. Many online guitar lessons lack structure: no difficulty levels, no categories, no step-by-step approach.

Beginner guitarists need a proven, structured step-by-step learning program. Otherwise, you'll waste time searching for the right video than actually improving your skills.

Of course, if you have money and time to afford a in-person teacher, go for that route, and use online training as a complimentary aid.

...A word about natural talent and hard practice

Do you think that being a good musician is a sort of divine gift? Does talent beat hard work? Well, the new findings on how we learn, how training and natural talent influence our skills are surprising.

A team of neuroscience researcher started a journey for finding where natural talent is hiding, and they did not see it! If you don't consider yourself gifted as a guitar player, have a look at our post on natural talent vs. hard work. I'm sure it will fuel your motivation

You have to stick with it. Sometimes, you are going to be so frustrated you want to give up the guitar — you'll hate the guitar. But all of this is just a part of learning, because if you stick with it, you’re going to be rewarded."

Jimi Hendrix gave this advice in 1968. Today in 2020 there is an incredible amount of high quality guitar resources for learning how to play the guitar online, so we have no excuses!

Further Resources

I wish you every success on your guitar journey!

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