Whatever is a hobby or a profession that you’re planning to become good at – patience is always the key. It’s not uncommon for anyone to get discouraged to the point where they just quit midway through. This is often the case with those who want to learn how to play an instrument but get bummed out along the way, thinking they’re not doing well enough.
Since guitar is pretty popular among beginners of any age, it’s not rare to see this same pattern happening with 6-string lovers. So, obviously, one of the most common questions among the beginners of any age is “How long does it take to learn guitar?” It’s really a shame how people end up quitting in this initial phase, as reaching your goal is usually closer than you might think.
It’s pretty obvious why the guitar is so popular among music enthusiasts – not only is it attractive for its tone and, but is also really accessible. Sometimes, all you need to do to have fun with your friends is to take a guitar with you and just hang around and play all the songs that you love. But it does happen often that beginners get so discouraged that they just end up giving up on the instrument for thinking that it takes too long to learn.
With this said, in this guide, we will be discussing the issue of how much time does it take to learn how to play the instrument. Bear in mind that these are estimates and that things usually tend to take a bit longer if you’re learning how to play guitar on your own.
So, how long does it take to learn guitar?
Well, this is actually not a simple question to answer. It depends on what you’re aiming at. In fact, it depends on what you mean by “knowing how to play guitar.” For some, it would be enough to know how to pluck the strings and play a few chords they need for a couple of dozen songs. On the other hand, some would want to know how to play lead guitar and write their original music. At the same time, some are interested in classical music, which requires a lot of technical proficiency, an extensive repertoire, and knowing how to read notation on the spot.
So it’s not exactly easy to say with 100% certainty what “knowing how to play” exactly means. But for the purpose of this guide, we’ll narrow it down to a few things in order to try and define how long does it take to learn guitar. It comes down to knowing some basic strumming patterns, knowing how to read chord charts and tabs, and to make all the songs that you’re playing sound recognizable.
There are also plenty of different factors
But there are still a few things you need to take into consideration. Look – everyone is different. Two individuals will react differently do various learning methods. Then it also comes down to motivation, talent, and previous experience with other instruments. Some extremely talented individuals might get to a solid performing level in less than a year. On the other hand, some guitar beginners might have some previous experience with other instruments and will be able to understand how intervals, scales, and chords work on the guitar.
So let’s try to narrow it down. If you’re a complete beginner and the guitar is your first instrument, it will usually take between two and six months to train your fretting and picking hand to a certain level, as well as to get accustomed to chord diagrams, tablatures, and reading classic strumming patterns for simple songs.
If you’re planning to become a lead player, then it might take a while. You need to know that some have dedicated many years to perfecting their soloing skills, but are still not satisfied with their performance. Roughly speaking, it usually takes between one and two years of constant practice to achieve the level of an intermediate lead player who’s able to reproduce simpler guitar solos.
If we’re talking about reaching the level where you’re able to improvise, learn music by ear, and create your own solos in a few desired styles – it should be anywhere between three to five years of dedicated practice.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than just simple chord strumming and a few lead sections. Applying music theory to create different arrangements and rhythm parts requires a lot of learning and practice. This also goes to one of the most neglected skills in the world of the guitar – knowing how to play tight rhythm. This is something you’ll be able to achieve after years of practice, in some cases even more than becoming an intermediate lead player.
Are there any shortcuts?
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that you have an abundance of free tutorials, lessons, and guides online, along with extensive databases of transcribed songs. This means that you’re able to expand your repertoire quicker and find faster ways to understand music theory and essential techniques.
However, becoming a good guitar player still requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. If you intend to become a professional in any genre, you should be able to know how to transcribe music and learn it by ear, right there on the spot. No amount of “tricks” and simplified lessons can teach you that.
To sum it up – in this day and age, you’re able to get some guidance and learn new repertoire faster. However, there are no shortcuts if you want to become a professional. You should also bear in mind that, thanks to all the material available online, the bar has risen significantly.
Don’t ever get discouraged
At the end of the day, you should never get discouraged if you feel like it takes too long to learn how to play the guitar. Everyone has its own tempo and even some of the biggest professionals struggled with the same issues you’re dealing with now. It just comes down to practicing and being really persistent.