In this article we aim to answer the oft-asked question ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ We’ll give you some idea how long it takes to get good and what you can reasonably expect to achieve on the instrument within certain timeframes.
As you probably guessed, in reality ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ is an impossible question to answer!
Everyone is different, and everyone has their own idea of what being able to ‘play the guitar’ actually means. For example, being able to strum a few chords is different to being able to play a classical guitar concerto. The latter would take considerably more time to accomplish!
One way to get better quicker is to get lessons. Either find yourself a good local teacher, or use an online provider like JamPlay. If you’ve invested some money into learning guitar, you’re likely to work harder towards your goals.
Well, How long does it take to learn guitar?!?
It is possible to give a ‘ballpark’ answer to the ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ question, and it all depends on your expectations …
Can You Learn Guitar In Two Weeks!?!
If you’re learning the guitar in order to be able to accompany yourself singing a few songs then you could expect to be able to ‘play’ the guitar within a fortnight!
Learning four or five chords and how to strum a basic rhythm may well be adequate for your needs. Why not give it a try?
Although your fingers might be a bit sore and the chord changes a little slow, you’d be playing the guitar!
How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar – Six Months?
If you’re learning the guitar in order to play in a band then in theory you could be doing so within six months – perhaps even sooner.
At the beginning of your guitar playing career it all comes down to how much time you can dedicate to practicing.
… And this depends on what else you’ve got going on in your life at the time.
Kids, work and modern life in general can make it very hard to set aside regular practice time. However, with fifteen to twenty minutes every day – and longer whenever you can manage it – within six months you’ll easily be able to play passable rhythm guitar and improvise some simple lead solos.
If you’re at school or college you probably have the advantage of having more free time (although it may not seem like it!). Learning basic guitar in 6 months should be possible.
You won’t be Steve Vai in 6 months, but neither will you sound like an absolute beginner. At the end of 6 months you may even be coming up with your own riffs and starting to write your own songs.
Guitar lessons, either with a local teacher or online from a site such as JamPlay are helpful at the start. You’ll get a better grasp of the basics and you’ll be more focused.
Of course, many people choose to teach themselves how to play guitar, and there are some excellent books on the market if you want to go down this route. You can find out about some of the best ones here: Best Guitar Books.
Is It Possible To Play Classical Guitar In 6 Months?
After 6 months a beginner classical guitarist will be able to play simple tunes, and will have a basic understanding of how to read music.
Reading music is the major difference between classical and rock guitar. It’s not a requisite for rock and pop guitar playing, but classical guitarists need to know how to read ‘the dots’.
In classical music the emphasis is on playing music as it is written. Surprisingly, there’s just as much potential for artistic expression doing this as there is in improvisation and songwriting.
Learning classical guitar tends to be a more structured process. There is a recognised technique that you should aim to use. It’s harder to teach yourself classical guitar, and you should find yourself a qualified classical guitar teacher if you intend to go down this route.
You can find out more about learning classical guitar here: Learning Classical Guitar.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar – One to Two Years?
After a year’s worth of dedicated practice, you should easily be ‘gig-ready’. You’ll no longer sound like a beginner. People might even be willing to pay money to hear you play!
Perhaps a reasonable answer to ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ would be about eighteen months to two years.
After a year or two, you’ll know more about where you want to go with the guitar. You’ll be able to play confidently, without making mistakes. You’ll be tuning up by ear, and have a good knowledge of chords and scales at your disposal.
You might decide that you’re happy at this level, and remain a reliable, solid gigging musician.
Or you might have decided that you want to continue honing your skills, perhaps by specialising in a particular area of guitar playing.
You may have decided that acoustic guitar is your thing, and that strumming chords and playing simple arpeggios is not quite enough – you need to be playing virtuoso solo pieces to hushed, admiring audiences.
Or perhaps you’re a metal fan and want to concentrate on shredding, or maybe you’ve discovered a hitherto unrealised desire to ditch the distortion and play jazz, or classical guitar.
After around two years, with the basics under your belt, you’ll be ready to choose a path and take your playing to the next level.
Become A ‘Good’ Guitarist In Three To Four Years? – Sounds About Right.
Whichever path you take, provided you are dedicated and can commit the required amount of time, then within three to four years your playing will be at a high standard.
You’ll be able to impress people with your guitar skills and express yourself with music. You might even be able to be making a living as a guitarist.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar – Now Become A Great Guitarist
After three to four years, further improvements to your guitar playing tend to come in smaller increments – you’ll spend more time refining your playing, finding your own voice, and identifying areas in your technique that need work and rectifying them.
There are many, many good guitarists around, and far fewer exceptional players. In a way, this is where the real hard work comes in – having the confidence, dedication and ability to concentrate on the minutiae, in order to find a unique style and to master the instrument.
The truth is that the answer to ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ is ‘a lifetime’!
Related Articles on Guitar Command
- Good books for teaching yourself guitar: Best Guitar Books
- A useful beginner’s guide to the guitar: Guitar Basics
- Guide to classical guitar playing: Learning Classical Guitar
- A guide to the different types of electric guitar: Types of Electric Guitar
10 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?”
You can learn how to strum a few chords in one lesson. Your fingers will hurt until they harden up, but you’ll be able to play a lot of songs with just three or four chords. But you never stop learning – I’ve been playing for over ten years and still don’t consider myself better than average. However, I;ve taught kids who have become exceptional players in only a few years, so I guess what you’re saying is right. And it does depend on how strict you are and how much you put into it.
wow great motivational advice!!!
Good article. The guitar is easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master. The instrument has been a big part of my life and I’m glad I started playing those few chords all those years ago!
Sound advice. Most students want to run before they can walk, but guitar CAN sound good after a few lessons.
Mike (Guitar Teacher Austin)
I seriously do not accept you can make a guitar sound good in a couple of lessons I can now play one strumming pattern DDUUDU and a few open chords but it’s taken many weeks 12 to be exact and plenty of pain and perseverance to get this far,yes everybody’s different but we all have to go through the same process and giving people false expectations can lead to failure.
Just my point of view
Fair point Rob. To get clean-sounding chords, smooth changes and a confident strumming technique will take somewhat longer than a fortnight. However, it is possible to get a reasonably musical sound from your guitar in this time (especially if you play an electric guitar, on which chords are easier to play). Sounds like you’re making good progress, enjoy the journey!
Tommy Emmanuel is the best!!
you must be 13 and have God given talent or you are wasting your life
no talent no play
that is why people like prince could play anything
you cannot learn that
I see what you mean, and being realistic about your abilities / talent can prevent you wasting time pursuing impossible dreams.
HOWEVER… you don’t have to be Prince / Van Halen / Segovia to enjoy playing the guitar or even to get very good at it. Time spent doing something you love is rarely time wasted.