Whether you’re a beginner guitar player or you are just dreaming about becoming a musician in the future, you’re probably interested to find out how long does it take to learn guitar. Of course, the answer to that is not that simple, because there is no finish line. I consider learning guitar as a never ending process that can be boosted by putting more time and passion into it. Although if you’re looking for a straight answer to that question, here’s what I can say.
The truth is that guitarists never stop learning. Even the most famous guitarists have to practice their skills! But if you start learning guitar today, you should be able to play simple chords and melodies within a few weeks or months. Usually after a year or two you may be able to play more complicated stuff. Still, it all really depends on how much effort you put into it.
In today’s article, we’re going to investigate how long does it usually take to learn guitar (or reach a level at which you can call yourself an advanced player) on average. I’ll share my story with you and we’ll have a deeper look on a few strategies on how to learn faster. Ready? Let’s jump into it!
I bought my first guitar in 2008. I remember that the beginnings were really tough and my fingers hurt me like crazy! But I’ve been pushing myself to practice almost everyday and it really paid off. In a few months I was able to play basic chords really smoothly and comfortably. Needless to say, you just need to know four chords to play thousands of popular songs. Still, it wasn’t enough for me – I wanted to become better and better. So I sticked to my routine and I kept on practicing regularly.
I think that at the end of 2010 I felt really confident enough to admit that I’m an intermediate guitarist. From what I remember, playing a solo to Stairway To Heaven was a really big deal for me. Was it enough to say that I learned guitar? Of course not. The learning never ends when it comes to guitars!
Ten Thousand Hours
Have you ever heard about the 10,000 hour rule? Malcolm Gladwell, a best-selling author, became really famous after publishing a great book called Outliers, in which he explains the idea and research behind the ten thousand hours rule. According to his study, it takes around ten thousand hours on average to become a master. Is that a lot? Yes. To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone who played guitar for that many hours and still sucks at it. If that’s the case, they’re clearly doing something wrong!
The whole point of this rule is that you need to practice as often as you can to stand among the best. Let’s do some math. If you would commit to practice for two hours everyday, it would take you around 13 years to reach that 10,000 hours milestone. Of course, it would require a lot of patience and persistence to do it literally day by day for so many years. But think about virtuosos like Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix or Steve Vai. Did they spend thousands of hours of their lives to practice? Absolutely. That’s why they’re masters of their crafts.
Nevertheless, don’t worry – you probably don’t need to practice for 13 years to learn guitar. It all depends on your goals – do you want to be able to comfortably play lots of songs and maybe start a band or do you want to become the next John Mayer?
Everyone Can Learn To Play
There are a lot of things that may discourage you to start learning the guitar. You may feel that you’re too young or too old. Or maybe you believe that your small or thick fingers will make it all really tough and annoying. All of these thoughts are totally normal, but they should never discourage you from starting that first lesson. There is absolutely nothing that can stop you.
If you’re struggling with inspiration and motivation, check out the video below. This amazing man with no arms managed to learn how to play with just his feet. It proves that there are literally no limits when it comes to music and absolutely everyone can learn to play.
How To Learn Quickly?
There are a lot of ways to speed up your learning process. I think that practicing very often for short periods of time worked the best for me. If you have the time to do it, I highly recommend trying that approach. There is no need to spend dozens of hours on practice everyday, especially if you’re a beginner. Your fingers will most likely be exhausted after a half hour practice session!
Make sure to use the advantage of technology to boost up your skills. There so many useful apps and platforms (mostly free) that are designed for beginner guitarists! If you’re interested, feel free to check out my short article about Fender Play. The online platform created by one of the biggest brands within the music industry is really awesome and I highly encourage everyone to check it out. There’s a link to a free trial in the article linked above, so feel free to use it.
If you decide to stick to the self-taught path (like me), trust me – it’s totally possible and it’s really rewarding at the same time. There are so many free resources available online! In my opinion, YouTube is the best place to start. Just type in ‘beginner guitar lesson’ in there and start your musical journey from home. The truth is that you don’t have to spend thousands of hours on guitar courses or real-life lessons. You can definitely learn everything on your own and although it will be challenging, I’m sure that you can do it. How long does it take to learn guitar if you’re choosing that self-taught path? Again, that depends on a lot of factors. If you stick to your routine, you will definitely see major improvements within a few months.
I highly recommend checking out free lessons on a channel called Andy Guitar – it’s one of the most popular music channels on YouTube. His free resources will definitely help you to progress as an amateur musician.
Does Talent Exist?
It is debatable whether having talent affects how long it takes to learn guitar. Of course, some people pick up certain things much faster than others, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not designed to be a successful guitar player because others are learning quicker. A lot of people claim that talent (if it’s even real) has to be cultivated with patience and passion. I agree with that, because no musician was ever born a master. To be honest, all of your favorite musicians were in the same position as you – there was a day when they picked up the guitar for the first time. So if you think that you don’t have enough talent to become a successful guitar player, trust me – you’re wrong!
As you can see, becoming a great musician depends on a lot of factors. How long does it actually take to learn guitar and become good at it? Well, if you stick to the routine and you keep on practicing regularly, trust me – you will see results. Remember that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Building muscle memory and polishing your technical skills won’t happen overnight. On top of that, you will probably see other guitarists who are learning faster than you. My advice – don’t look at the others. Focus on your own path and become the greatest musician that you can possibly be. In a few weeks or months of regular commitment, you will see amazing results.
I hope that today’s article was helpful to you. What’s your opinion on that topic? Do you think that you can become a good guitarist in a few months? Leave a comment below, I’m really curious to hear what you think! Additionally, if you enjoyed this article, you may also like: