The question lots of people ask me when they start thinking about learning to play guitar is, "How long will it take me?"
Well, it depends on several things, not just how talented you are. Sure, having a talent for music and a good ear will help you achieve results, but in the long run, the guitarist that practices diligently and in the correct way will win over the lazier, yet more "talented" musician. Why?
Playing the guitar will mean learning totally new hand and finger movements, almost like learning to walk. You will need to strengthen hand muscles that you didn't even know existed, and on top of that, you'll have to learn very precise, coordinated finger movements as well.
The only way to learn these movements, improve your hand muscle memory, and really progress at playing the guitar, is to practice regularly.
But let's get back to the original question of how long it will take to learn the guitar?
Given that you practice regularly (1+ hours per day) and in the correct way, you can reach these stages within the given amount of time:
|Playing level||Time needed||Skills|
|Newbie||1-2 months||Play easy guitar songs (changing between and strumming of basic chords, single-string plucking songs with not much string jumping, chord arpeggios)|
|Beginner||3-6 months||Play a bit more difficult songs, which require more technical elements. For example, songs requiring easier hammer-ons, pull-offs, and other easier lead guitar techniques.|
|Almost intermediate||1 year||Play intermediate-level songs, including many very popular guitar songs, riffs, blues, and so on. You will probably start getting a more definitive feel for barre chords at around this time as well.|
|Intermediate||2 years||If you practice enough, you could be playing most songs in 2 years. Of course, you'll need to practice them before you can actually play them, but learning a song at this stage is very quick, as you'll have mastered most technical elements already.|
|Intermediate plus||2-3 years||If you learned guitar theory during your guitar journey, you'll be able to improvise on the guitar as well.|
|Advanced||5-6 years||You can call yourself an advanced guitarist, you'll be able to play anything you want.|
|Rockstar||10 years||You'll realize how much you don't know yet, and want to learn even more. Your guitar collection will reach a yearly average of 7-12 guitars.|
|Guitar deity||20+ years||You'll be playing and entertaining others all the time. Out of your 20 guitars, you only play 3, your favorite ones.|
The moral of the story is that learning to play the guitar is a never-ending process, but getting to an acceptable level, where you will actually start enjoying your music (and won't drive others crazy 🙂 ), can be reached after about 6 months of REGULAR practice.
I would like to emphasize the word "regular," i.e., practicing the right things for at least 1 hour every day (or at least most days of the week).
Here is an insightful table on how the amount of practice you put into learning the guitar can shorten/lengthen the learning process based on Malcolm Gladwell's idea of 10,000 hours to mastery.
|Hours practiced per day|
|Playing level||0.5 hours||1 hour||2 hours||4 hours|
|Newbie - 40 hours||2.5 months||1.3 months||3 weeks||2 weeks|
|Beginner - 300 hours||20 months||10 months||5 months||2.5 months|
|Intermediate - 1,500 hours||8.2 years||4.1 years||2.1 years||1 years|
|Advanced - 5,000 hours||27.4 years||13.7 years||6.8 years||3.4 years|
|Rockstar - 10,000 hours||54.8 years||27.4 years||13.7 years||6.8 years|
Consider that Slash played guitar for up to 12 hours/day as a beginner, and you'll see the correlation between the amount of practice you get and what you can achieve.
Many beginners pick up their guitar for a couple of days, then stop for a week, pick it up again, then give it a rest, and so on. This is usually caused by the fact that learning the guitar won't happen overnight; it takes weeks of practice before you even start getting the hang of how to change chords. It's all part of the learning curve, but unfortunately, many beginners lose their enthusiasm after a very short time.
This has always been like this and always will be.
If you ever get discouraged, remember this...
Once you start learning guitar, you'll find that a few things will seem overly difficult. If you ever get discouraged or stuck at any given point, remember:
Even the best guitar players were beginners at one time. Everyone went through the learning curve.
The masters who make it seem so easy, like Eric Clapton, Slash, BB King, Steve Vai, were all beginners at one point in time. Yes, they all had to learn the D major chord, and they all sucked at changing chords in the beginning. Who would have thought, right!?
Practice often, practice the right things, and you'll be left with a wonderful hobby that will be yours to keep for life, bringing you, your family, and friends countless hours of fun and joy.
A pretty good trade-off, in my opinion!
How to minimize the time it takes to learn guitar
I've been playing guitar for 20+ years now and have been teaching both private students and online for well over a decade. Over the years, I've talked with countless guitarists who have wasted so much time during their guitar journey.
Do you want to know what 95% of them were doing wrong?
They were either:
- Practicing the wrong things or
- not practicing enough.
The remaining 5% hadn't bought a guitar yet 😉
Now, solving problem #2 is "easy" as long as you don't have 3 kids and a dog named Vanilla. You just have to find the time to practice.
Solving problem #1 isn't hard either, but it isn't evident, especially nowadays.
Newbie guitarists are sucked into learning from random videos on YouTube, thus have absolutely no direction. Lots of people literally waste years trying to learn this and that, jumping from one video to the next.
Don't get me wrong, though.
There are some great videos on YouTube, but beginners need to have direction, structured lessons to learn guitar as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is key.
Now, if you're thinking about learning guitar:
- Check out these guitar books for beginners, or better yet,
- these 2 awesome video guitar lesson sites.
How about you?
If you're a guitarist, it would be great if you would leave a comment on how long it has taken you to learn guitar. It would be valuable info to others just starting out.
If you're a newbie and have a question about this, you can leave a comment below, and I'll answer it ASAP.
In my experience, these timelines are extremely optimistic, to phrase it generously. I’m at 9 months or so, practicing around 30 minutes almost every day, and have yet to be able to play any single song correctly.
More realistically, to play even the simplest metal songs probably takes 2-3 years of dedicated practice, and to play fairly standard metal music, I would figure 7-10 years. The unfortunate reality is that you can get a doctorate in the time it takes to play the music of your favorite bands.
Thanks for your comment! In all honesty, 30 minutes of practice per day is not enough. As you can see in the article, my advice is to practice at least an hour per day.
Also, there are obviously bands that play more difficult guitar bits. For example, pop music nowadays has mostly 4 chord strumming songs, while John Mayer creates songs that are hard even for experienced guitar players. If your favorite band makes hard songs, let that motivate you to play and practice more. They were beginners at one time as well.
Almost 40 years and I’m still learning, but it never gets old. 🙂
I always wanted to play guitar as a child but was never supported. At 51 I decided I was going to and that’s was that lol! I was a regular singer at Blues jams and was enthralled with the music the guitarists could make.
I started a Blues Band, 2 years ago, and I got the bug to play blues guitar.
I met my guitar teacher at one of the jams, he was a guitarist who explained to me that guitarists like to do double solos. It was the way he spoke to me and his talent which made me choose him as my teacher.
My lessons are geared towards blues. So he has taught me rhythm, making me wait for my desert lol soloing. However, because I’m impatient I watched the guys at jams and how they played, i asked a tonne of questions got them to show me techniques and to learn the pentatonic scales and am now working on soloing. I play till my fingers are burring everyday, sometimes up to 6 or 8 hours a day or more. I started playing rhythm in my band just 6 months after learning guitar from absolute newby.
Having passion to make music has been the thing for me. Wether it’s singing or playing guitar. Oh and playing guitar has made me a better singer!
To get good at playing the guitar, you must first have the want and desire, very very important, then you must practice, learn scales, learn songs, learn basic music theory… An hour a day really won’t cut it… You really have to put in hours of learning new songs, playing and playing to notice improvement… You go through curves too, learning curves where you’ll all of a sudden, improve a great deal, but then may stay that way until you learn other stuff… A constant learning process, even for the pros.
The guitar mmm there’s only one way to be able to play the guitar and that is that you want to no matter how many lessons you have how long you practice for at the end of the day it is down to you alone the guitar journey can be lonely frustrating and a pain in the neck but boy am I glad I stuck at it.
I’m not great but I have got to a level where I can come home from work pickup my tele and sit do a bit of jamming to CDs etc. The only thing I’d wish I had done is to have lessons knowing the theory at first would have been great I’m self-taught and it took longer and to be able to learn new stuff which doesn’t take long because I have the essential tools to do it it’s having these tools when you get to a stage that makes it all worthwhile.
You can teach someone to play but you can’t determine if they will ever get to grips with it or fail.
Hello Sir! My namenis nathan hardee been playing for about four years every day…hours a day sometimes. Completely self taught. I can play some stuff that blows my own mind, things id never think i could, such as red house by hendrix, and being able to just make up whatever i want in whatever key..it has become my lifestyle and that makes me proud. Ive studied theory on my own diligently and am still studying as it is an endless task it seems. I know i probably have many bad habits… anywho, iask of you sir seriously. If there was maybe one piece of advice or knowledge that may help spark my mind and concept of guitar what would it be. Think well about it, it could be whatever you wanted. Something a person may have told you that just, put things together or made something click for you.. no qrong answer.
Hi, it would be that you join a band. Learning from and playing with other musicians is a true game-changer.
I’ve been playing guitar for 15 months. In that time I have learned much. I have five positions of the pentatonic scale, Barre chords, open chords, improvisation, a couple of songs and rhythm work under my belt.
When it started playing guitar my decision was to just play Blues because I am a blues fanatic. My first teacher was on with this and geared my lessons towards that. He’s a good teacher and has taught me a lot.
I recently decided to try a second teacher. So at this point in time I have two teachers. The second teacher is a blues guitarist and he is very highly accomplished in the Blues world. He has played with the likes of Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin and Jimmie Vaughan.
My first three lessons with this new teacher have just been on rhythm. It was an interesting change and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. His way of teaching is to get you playing rhythm and then jumping from rhythm into soloing.
I have kept a log of my hours since I started playing guitar and I am just at 1400 hours in 15 months. I average 20 to 28 hours practice every week. I play one hour in the morning before work and then between 2 and 4 hours at night. You might say I’m addicted.
The one thing I’ve come to realize is that guitar takes time. When I started out I thought that I might be able to start a blues band, or Join one, in a couple of years. But at 15 months I now realize that won’t happen. I think maybe three to four years would be more realistic.
This article you’ve written is very good and realistic. Thank you for writing it.
Hi Mark, thanks for sharing your story. Playing guitar in a band is 90% rhythm guitar, so your new teacher is spot on. One thing though, I think you will be able to join an amateur band much sooner with your dedication. Especially if you perfect your rhythm guitar skills now, you’ll probably be able to join one as a rhythm guitarist by the summer.
Keep it up!
I started playing at 15 and will be 45 next week. The only times I wasn’t playing throughout those 30 years were during my trips to jail or hospital stays. I’ve played professionally and I’ve helped a fair number of people learn to love the guitar and how to express themselves on it.
I will say that everything depends on your reason for wanting to learn how to play. People with a strong reason will endure the pain, use their frustration as a motivator to get better, and will likely have a tangible idea or vision of their guitar playing that gives rise to a lifelong desire to keep going, for all the right reasons. I was a kid who had a need to be able to play the sounds I heard Jimi Hendrix play. It was a new world I stepped into, and I’m so very glad that it’s been there most of my life.
Therefore, if you have a strong reason you’ll have the desire that’s needed in order to stay with it, and improving is inevitable. However, I would suggest finding a good teacher. There are lots of good guitarists, but not many great guitar teachers. If you find one, you’ll have the benefit of knowing you’re learning proper technique and developing healthy habits, and your foundation will be solid. Yes, you’ll likely be able to play most songs within a few years, but it’s a lifelong journey. You’ll never be bored, and you’ll be happy you chose it for multiple reasons. There are many benefits.
Do your think the Yousician app is a good way to start learning?
Not really. It is good as a practice tool, but not as your primary lesson plan.
I have an article on them here:
Hi I’ve been playing for 2 years and I tried to use yousican when I started out and I’d say it’s a good supplement to learning, for giving you things to practice and songs to play and such but I definitely wouldn’t call it a learning tool they seem to leave out massively helpful tips that would’ve made things so much easier for me starting out and it taught me some really bad habits I had to unlearn later which hindered my progress alot. I now just use yousican to tune my guitar (I just like how the tuner works/looks and it’s more precise than my ear) and then use the app guitar tabs for songs to practise. I find it to be better (it tells you the strumming pattern and bpm and what key the song is in and stuff that helps you play before you play) plus there’s a lot more choice of songs that you can get free. Hope this helps
Hi. I’ve been practising for about 8 months now. I personally found using a combination of Songsterr and the Guitar pros on youtube who teach songs. I like to learn the technical stuff by taking it from a song I love. The theory then attaches to what you’ve learnt later down the track which feels like a natural learning curve. When I lose motivation I search for music new to me that I find inspiring. I throw in theory videos when I’m not playing such as Rick Beato’s Channel.
The scales are now the priority for moving me to the next level. It seems timing related for if a lesson will click or not. If its a dry lesson go elsewhere or try find a cool song that utilises the theory you are trying to get your head around and let your fingers learn before your head.
Love this sport!
Yes, I have a guitar and I practiced once a week for three weeks and got fed up because the guitar didn’t sound well whenever I played it. And now I understand things will not change overnight. I need to put my heart and soul to learn this skill.
Thank you TheGuitarLesson.com for giving me the courage and necessary advice.
You are very welcome, keep at it!
I think the key question you have to ask yourself is this. Do you have the time to put in the practice? A lot of us would find it impossible to put in 4 to 6 hours of practice every day? Even 1 hour. Many of us are caught in the rat race working long hours. When we get home from work all we want to do is relax and watch a bit of TV. If you can find an hour a day then I think you can learn a musical instrument albeit slowly. This is what I am planning on doing soon. I haven’t decided what instrument to learn. I am planing to retire in 2024 so once I am retired I will be practicing that ideal 4 to 6 hours of practice each day. Another important question is this. Are you disciplined? It is similar to saying I will go jogging every day for 45 minutes but end up not doing that because it is easy to not make any effort. Getting skillful at something often requires a lot of hard work for many and some people aren’t hard workers.
Stop watching tv! Play the instrument… job done
Yes you’re right 👍
Even with all the time in the world, you won’t pick it up.
The moment it’ll start to happen everyday for days on end is when the sound of your beloved instrument begins to give you chills. I don’t mean when you’ll learn to play somethin’ good on it, NO. When jus’ plucking a note will make your ears orgasm, that’s when you’ll never stop.
I think about 45 days ago, I never thought I would’ve picked up guitar. 44 days ago I watched a video of one of my favorite current-day musicians playing one of their pieces on acoustic. It sounded so beautiful I immediately wanted to go out and buy a guitar and start learning. I can probably say that I’ve never really gave myself much of a chance to learn anything — if I don’t learn something right away, I get discouraged and quit.
This time, I made it a goal to observe myself learning and improving each day I practice. And in those past 44 days, I’ve only skipped one day because I was out of town. I’m still learning simple chords that most beginners learn from the start, but each time I pick up my guitar, I feel like there is some improvement being made. The challenging part was building up finger dexterity when switching chords. Letting some of it soak in along with muscle memory, I can sometimes double the number of chord changes the following night.
I’ve never felt more motivated or determined to learn something before, and for someone not even two months ago ever considering doing so, I knew that I needed some sort of creative outlet outside of work, and I finally found something where I can be excited to do after work. There are also plenty of Youtube video of people showing their progress throughout years of practice, and it was good to actually see that so that when you can’t play like some of the iconic guitarists after a couple weeks you give up, and it gives you a realistic perspective on what to expect when you start practicing.
Yes, you have to keep your expectations real. Keep at it, and you’ll get there!
I am 59 and will retire at 60 (soon!). Is it too late to learn? I would really like to play an instrument before I kick the bucket. Thought about a keyboard, but something attracts me to the guitar. Any opinions?
I started at 69 years old – nearly two years ago now. I’ve been consistent at least, minimum of one hour a day and sometimes two. For 19 months I was self taught/TV classes (Justinguitar/National Guitar Academy) and suddenly reached a plateau. Driving myself turned into doing the same things and being happy with little improvement. For the last four months I’ve paid for classes with a lad in the village (he has a music degree and plays in a couple of bands too) and he has really pushed me. Theory, scales, pentatonics, triads etc. Sometimes it does my head in but it is a challenge and I have started to improve again; quite significantly I believe, but it is hard work. I guess if I can keep this up for another two years (bringing me to a total of four) I will reach a standard which is acceptable’ to me. So a total of nearly 2000 hours practice and 100 hours classes….But so worth while!
Thank you Alasdair!! I’m sitting in my home office/hang out and came across your comment. I, too, have been wanting to play the guitar for many many years. But…
Now, I’m a retired firefighter/paramedic (65) and want to start learning. Your comment of starting at 69 opens my eyes. I’ll do the same and put my heart into it. I have the time 🙂
Thanks again for your post.
Since covid19, and now retirement at 60, I have the time to pursue a lifetime goal. Two marriages, kids, now 7 grandkids, there was always never enough time. I’ve started playing an acoustic guitar that’s been behind my bathroom door for 8 years. June 10, I started pounding my fingers. 37 days later, practicing and average 30-45 minutes a day, I’m starting to see some improvement, G chord, F chord now don’t seem so impossible. Learning with Guitar for dummies 4th edition, and a teacher virtually to learn music theory along the way. I’ve locked in on my goal of being a competent guitar player, that’s my dream and goal. I’ve purchased a big lou Stratocaster, and an waiting on a D’Angelico boardwalk to arrive. Here’s to the life long journey of learning!
I think what you say is most probably very true. I’ve been playing for about 25 years. I got to a good level very quickly when I started but this was because I was practicing around 4-6 hours a day. But after I left school work and life got in the way of practice time so wasn’t able to practice as much as I needed. I then decided to sell my guitar which I instantly regretted. I bought a new one about 6 months later but still never had the time to practice. Since then my ability has slowly started to disappear. But I have bought a new guitar and amp and although I can play I’m nowhere near as good as I should be after 25 years. I have now decided that to restart guitar lessons, so I can relearn from the beginning, I have my first on Monday.
Practice makes perfect and I regret not practicing enough or finding the time. But now whether it’s my passion coming back or a midlife crisis either way I’m back on it
You have some good advice but if your telling me some who has been learning for six months can play well your way off . Unless they have slot of talent I have been playing. 1 year practice 2 hours ba day and I can play some simple songs but not clean or well I have talked to many good players and they say all the you not going to be good at six months
Please reread the article. I said after 6 months, you will get to an acceptable level of playing, where you start enjoying it all. That is still ways away from “playing well”.
I’m 61 years old now and all I can say is I wish the internet, specifically YouTube, was alive and well when I first started in 1976. I was a decent Rhythm guitarist and played in a few bands. I always wanted to be a league of tourist, but I never quite gelled. I got laid off a few years ago and started reading Theory and guitar scales and a lot of stuff on YouTube. I am still by no means I lead guitarist, but have a much better understanding of how things work. Circles of fifths and stuff like that. The only thing I would add to this conversation is you got some people are predestined to be excellent guitarist. The level I might have attained in 10 years, some people might attain in one year due to their drive and their natural ability to adapt. And I’m not that bad. 🙂
Very inspiring, indeed I agree its all in the amount of time your fingers are on the strings. And that you be sure to practice on the things you find difficult and sticking with it in the beginning. Ive been learning about a month now and I put in at least an hr (alone/undistracted) a day learning/ practicing chords, strumming patterns, progressions using a metronome, and timed chord change counts. And then any extra time just playing around and attempting songs even if they seem impossible and often are at this stage. However at this point ive already learned and can play cleanly my A/Am/A7 D/Dm/D7 G/G7 Fmaj7 E/Em/E7 chords by memory and know several stumming patterns getting the changes seems to be key now before “real playing” can begin however ive learned a couple easier songs or at least most rhythm parts of them my best being house of the rising sun which while its not smooth yet its recognizable already after 3hrs practice one it. Also ive seen alot of people ask if theyre too old, Im 33 and have tried with teachers twice before in the past and got no where because i got discouraged too quickly on my own with dedication ive made leaps and bounds of progress so just stick to it! Im going to for sure!
I have a dog called Daisy and have 3 kids…. But I have solved the 2 problems. Practice time is between 5 and 6 am. And using site like these or Justin Guitar for learning.
Great job! I have heard from others that practicing in the early hours is actually more beneficial for your development, haven’t tried it myself though.
Keep it up!
You just slapped me in the damn face! What a perfect time to practice. Just solved my problem.
Thank you for this information, it is pretty accurate even though considering each person is an entire universe 😉
I just hit 1 year playing electric guitar, and actually I feel very identified with the description you gave: I can play popular riffs and make them sound good and I am more confident with my ability to play.
I posted a one year progression video that I think can help anybody who is wondering how they can improve in one year, I hope it is useful 🙂
Thanks for sharing. It was useful.
I like that you pointed out that practicing regularly will ensure that you will improve in playing the guitar in the quickest way possible. I will follow your advice since I plan to learn an instrument this coming May. Currently, I am looking for a music lesson that I can join since I have zero knowledge about this that is why I can’t just learn from online video tutorials. Thanks for the tips!
In acquiring a complex skill – guitar playing, cooking, fly-fishing, etc., – there is no such thing as measuring time in weeks, months or years. What matters is purpose-driven practice measured in hours.
Hi im 40yrs old and i have been learning guitar for 6mths now doing lessons once a week and feel like im getting no where. I can do somethings i know my basic chords i even know some bar cords. I practice minimum 1 hr a day or more but i cant change between chords quickly im basically stopping to change chords on some chords. My teacher is giving me 1 thing to go and learn for the week and shows me how 2 do it i play a couple of strings throughout my lesson then have to take it home to practice the next week i go back to my lesson he asks how did i go so i explain to him what im having trouble with and he says u will get it eventually and gives me something new to go and practice but i havent even got stuff i got 3 mths ago down packed each week i get something new. The only song i can almost do which i do get behind in and still have some problems with is wish you where here by pink floyd. Is my guitar teacher doing the right by me learning guitar as it really doesnt feel like there is structure or direction something im aiming to get to move on to the next thing.
No offense to you or your teacher, you need a new teacher. I’ve been through many of them, some are good players, just not good teachers.
How many hours each day should be spent practicing?
At the beginning, just as much as your fingertips can handle. This might be 10-30 minutes. As you develop calluses, you can increase your practice time. It’s best to aim for 1 hour per day.
The world won’t collapse if you miss a day. But I wouldn’t miss 2 in a row… You never know 😉
Is there any difference in how long it takes to learn the acoustic guitar vs the electric guitar? Are either of them easier to learn?
Hi there, I actually have a separate article where I talk about which guitar type is best for a beginner:
As for how long it takes to learn the electric or acoustic, well, that’s a good question. I would be inclined to say that on average, they would be about the same, but don’t let this factor decide which guitar you learn on. Read the article I linked, and you’ll have a better idea of which one is right for you. Than get some lessons, and start learning 🙂
Thanks a lot for the article, I’m planning to learn Spanish guitar songs which seems a bit harder that regular songs. Any tips for learning Spanish guitar?
Where to start and how to progress? is it similar to above?
I just bought my guitar a week ago and practicing 1 hour a day
Hi there, Spanish guitar is great, you have good taste 🙂
First off, moving to a specific genre will require you to be rather proficient at the basics. If you just started out, specializing in Spanish guitar is more down the line.
I have a lesson on a very basic Spanish style song here:
Also, Jamplay has a really good Spanish guitar course, but as I said, you need to be at an intermediate level to start with that:
I love this article. I am 15 years old and am looking to start a band (As Lead guitar) after 6 months from now with two other beginners, a drummer with some background, and a rhythm guitarist who is just starting as well as myself. Is this too soon for a band?
I am currently using Yousician and thinking about purchasing Rocksmith 2014 edition, as well as using any tabs and youtube videos.
You can learn a lot in 6 months if you really put your back into it. Practice as much as you can, and you’ll be great. Playing with others is an awesome feeling, and you’ll see that even as beginners, you’ll advance at a much faster pace, since you (and your fellow band members) will be motivated to show off your chops, and not hold the band back.
hello, i am a complete beginner and always wanted to play the guitar, i worked for like 5 months to get money and buy my guitar but i feel like im to old for it (im 21 btw ) so i wanted to ask if i am to old to start or not cause i want to be able to play like my favorite rock songs in 3 to 4 years, well depends on how long it will take me.
Hi there, you are definitely not too old to learn guitar. If you want to play like a true professional in 3-4 years, meaning you plan on making a living off of your music, you have to devote a lot of time and effort to learning and mastering every aspect of playing the guitar. This would mean around 4-5 hours of practice per day. Most people don’t plan on making music their livelihood though, so if you just want to have fun, play your favorite songs, than an hour per day is good.
Hello Gerrick,, you are still young (I’m 51 and restarted from scratch a month ago). I did dabble 20 years ago but stopped. I WISHED I didn’t give up then.
Don’t give up.
Finally a realistic breakdown on what it REALLY takes in terms of time lines for mastering the guitar! Most of the garbage online shames you into thinking that you can pick up the guitar with zero experience and be playing like a pro in 5 days when the facts are different.
This article is very helpful! I just had a question about bar chords. I just bought my guitar literally like 5 days ago. You see my index finger is probably 2.5 inches and currently my fingers aren’t very strong. Is it still possible for me to do bar chords? It seems impossible right now. If it is how long do you say it may take to do so?
Hi Beena, after 5 days, you should not be thinking about barre chords just yet. Learn the basics first, that will strengthen your hand and fingers. Afterwards, you can start learning barre chords.
I’ve never actually measured my index finger before, mine is just over 3 inches, and when I hold a barre chord, there is room on both sides, so I think your finger will be fine.
Hey, how long do you think one should have of knowledge in guitar before adventuring into the realms of prog rock? I’m actually planning on learning guitar to play prog rock but since it’s really difficult I don’t think it’s a good starter… also, could you briefly explain me what’s those “jazz style” ”blues style” ”hard rock style” guitarists? Like, what makes a guitarist have x genre style?
Hi, as all other guitarists, you’ll first learn the basics, perfect them, than learn more complicated techniques, perfect those, than you can start specializing in any given genre. You’ll learn a lot along the way about all the different genres.
The pace of this really depends on how much tim you put into it. Daily practice is key, if you are serious about it.
To answer your second question, it just means that the given guitarist has specialized in the given style. It won’t mean that that’s all they play, but most of their music will be in that genre.
Hi, I’m 55yrs ….young, and have been wanting to learn for a good many years, have attempted self teaching without too much success due to seeing real results. I have gotten to the point of just about losing the “fat finger” chord finger placement, I practice on an older wider neck guitar till I got use to it, now on my regular guitar, I seem to be able to place my fingers better.
Here’s my question, how much practice with each lesson or technique does it usually take before moving to the next lesson/technique? How many times a week and hours each practice is a good progression to stay on tract learning via your approx learning curve ?
I am learning as well and usually if you practice 1-2x a day for an hour daily then if you do good usually 1-2 lessons for next topic based on what I am seeing. I do shorter frequent sessions which help me learn the chords better for example.
Thank you for this article, I know you may not have answers for what I’m about to ask but I would die to be in a metal/hard rock band soon!!! How long will that take me? I played classical guitar when I was 12 – 15 years old just reading sheet music off very simple songs (one string) always using the E, B, G string and have performed throughout my early teens in ensembles, however and I lost interest in playing because there was no support and I wanted to play rock, not classical! I’m 21 now and picked up the guitar for the first time in 6 years and I’ve just learnt all the notes along the fret board but still learning different voicings and such. I’m very frustrated about interval training and learning by ear! No one taught me that but I am working very hard to learn songs by ear. I can play songs from KillSwitch Engage – My Curse and such and I play them as smooth as I can. I just want to know, in your opinion, how long it’ll take me to be able to perform in a serious rock band without looking stupid? So sorry this question is soo annoying but I’m so desperate and frustrated. I want to make it by 22 by I look at all these other people starting off younger. I think I’m too late.
Hi Celeste, hard rock is actually one of the easier genres. There are no complicated chord shapes at all, it’s mainly rhythm guitar on power chords, and embellishing riffs in between under heavy distortion. These are plucked fairly fast. This is basically all that’s needed to play rhythm guitar in a hard rock band.
Of course, you’ll hear super fast solos in hard rock songs as well, but that level takes many years to reach. To be able to play rhythm guitar in a heavy metal band, I would say you need about a year (if you’re serious about it and practice every day of course).
Don’t worry about your age at all. The only advantage youngsters have is that they have more free time to practice.
This article is so helpful, Tom. Thank you!
I’ve been slowly teaching myself how to play and although I’ve only been playing a few weeks I feel confident. I took lessons when I was younger but quit due to a poor teacher. The last few days I’ve been attempting to learn songs but I end up getting sidetracked and start making my own. Is this a bad thing or a good thing?
Is it possible to learn gutar by taking 2 months coaching and then learn & practice on my own by youtube videos& tutorials.?? Please tell me.
I know this might be a little late but yes it is possible, I’m only 13 years old and since May 2017 I’ve been looking at youtube tutorials for begginer guitarists. In half an hour i learned the basic chords, then i moved to the more complex ones (i learned barre chords after practising fingering and moving between chords for nearly a month), then i just started looking at my favourite songs’ chords and just about a month ago i learned to read tabs in a video that lasted three minutes at most. Right now I’m working in power chords, and I’ve never gone to a single guitar lesson ever. So yeah, you can do it 😀
This is an excellent article Tom!
I played very poorly when I was a kid. Due BTW to lack of proper and regular practice.
I picked it up again after decades of not playing, and have been playing for about 2.5 years now.
This time around I followed and still do, a daily routine of real serious practice, theory, running scales, and then noodling around. And man is it paying off.
If you are new to guitar let me give you this message of hope…
If you think that you can’t learn to play, or that you can’t learn to play things that seem really complex at the moment, let me assure you that you can, and will. It just takes dedication for the first few months, and then really cool things start happening. And if you are new you may not realize this, but there is a system for how the guitar works, how everything is laid out and connected. The problem is that at first it is completely hidden from everyone. But if you take the time to learn bits theory as you are going along you will have a bunch of ‘Holy Cow’ moments and that big ole mysterious guitar neck will start looking a lot smaller and friendlier to you.
Lastly, I think that even the boring stuff that you have to do every day like running scales, or learning where all of the notes on the neck are etc., is really not boring at all but rather exciting. You just need to understand why you are doing it and then turn it around in your mind that you are not just say running pentatonic scales you are actually learning awesome lead riffs, because that is where all of that work is leading you!
I’ve got a long way to go with my playing, but it gets less and less difficult every month to learn new things, and the journey is really fun.
Hey Steve, thanks a lot for your detailed comment! I’m thrilled that people who are actually going through the process are posting here, giving motivation to others. The guitar can be tamed, it just needs some love, time and attention.
Hi! I’ve been playing guitar for the past 5 months. I sing and write songs as well. I play and sing along. I’ve mastered the G, d/dm, A/am, C/cm, e/em, and f. I’m on the barre chords right now . Please, kindly let me know if I’m on the right time frame or too slow with learning. Thanks. J
That seems about right. Keep it up, and remember to use the things you learn to play real songs.
I’m 18 years old and I really want to play guitar on one of my friend’s birthday in August. I learnt it a very long time ago and I think I’ve forgotten everything but I don’t know. And I have my final exams in July. How long do you think I would have to practice for playing something in August?
Hi there, if you already knew how to play guitar and you’re 18, it’ll come back quickly. You can definitely play the song in August, just practice every day. I realize that you July final exams means you won’t have much time for anything, but if you want to play the song, you need to find time to practice, there is no way around it.
Hi, I am really curious.
i am 16 years old, I played guitar from Gr 3 to Gr 7 which is approximately 5 years. Then i stopped (which is something I’ll regret for the rest of my life). I am a singer and I write songs too. I can play the piano fairly, and I can find the chords of a song on a piano fairly easy.
I am now 16 and I started guitar lessons 1 week ago. I practice about 1-2 hours a day.(split up through the day)
How long will it take me to “get good” again. (I am honestly very musically gifted- so when I learn an instrument I learn pretty fast and I have a good ear too)
By “Good” i mean : being able to play by ear, being able to play almost every note, being able to pick, and fingerpick, being able to write down music in my head, and being able to play famous songs and being able to figure out their chords fastly.
I really hope you can help me! I hope this made sense
Hi, if you practice for an average of 90 minutes per day AND you practice correctly, meaning you push yourself to learn and master new techniques instead of playing things you already know, you will get to your desired level in about 9-12 months I would say.
My son is 10 years old and has been getting private lessons for over 2 years. He knows a lot of chords and strumming patterns. He can play picking songs well but I really struggle to hear anything that remotely connects to a song when he strums it. Should it be clear at this stage??
Hmmm. It’s weird that picking songs sound good, but strumming is not. Maybe he has rhythm problems? I can’t really tell without seeing/hearing it. You should definitely discuss this with his teacher.
Here is something that i think will improve our motivation while learning:
We usually go for songs with chords and rhythms that we already know. We search for tabs and chords of music we like.
Although this is very good and i do it all the time, I also try to “invent” music with the stuff i already know. The songs I invent are very simple, getting complex as a learn more and more. But there is something very pleasing to make a tune you like. It is an awesome experience.
If you know A, E and D major and a couple of strums, try to make different combinations of those. Try to strum, or fingering… one day you’ll make a tune that will sound good. And you’ll be very impressed because it is yours!
Hi, very good article. I have been playing guitar for the past 2.5 years. And I would have to agree with everything you said regarding playability. I am at a stage where I can effortlessly switch open and barre chords and play many beginner to intermediate level songs. Now, I am working on determining chords of a song by ear and to sing and play easy songs. Can you please give any suggestions?
Hi Vikas, thanks for your comment. The questions you asked are very broad, I could speak about them for a long time, so this comment section isn’t really the place for this. I would suggest you do google searches these topics, there is a lot of material on them.
Hi – you may have answered these questions already, so I apologize in advance if this is redundant. I am interested in learning guitar because I write and sing music, but I have no way of playing them for anyone due to not knowing how to actually play any instruments. I can hear a song play it back on the piano fairly quickly, but I have no formal lessons in the instrument; I am self taught. Guitar, I feel, may be much more difficult to teach myself so I will be investing in lessons so that I get it right 🙂 My main question is, how long til one is generally able to begin writing and playing their own songs on the guitar, and the age old question: what guitar should a beginner really be looking to purchase? I have a few ideas of what I would like, but I know nothing about guitars. I would love any help and advice you could offer.
If you’re a singer looking to basically accompany yourself on the guitar, than you’ll need an acoustic guitar. Unless you’re a heavy metal singer 🙂
You’ll need to learn chords and changing in between them, that will take a few months, not long. Singing while playing is the next step, that will take a while to get used to as well. Basically, you’ll need to be at a level where your hands flow from one chord to the next without thinking about them, since your mind will be preoccupied with singing.
Hello, i love the article and i would like to make one question. What steps should i take first to improve my playing since im a bit lost. Start with learn chords only and change between them? Picking exercises? all in once? try songs?
As im trying to learn alone, sometimes i dont know what to do first.
Check out my beginner’s guide, it’ll answer your question and give you a plan of action with lessons:
Hi! Nice article, congratulations.
I do agree with you, practice is everything.
I’ve just received my Guitar today, I’ve given a try before in the past when I was like, 17 but I give up. Now, with 36 I decided that I am addicted to learn music. After started drumming and having lessons I just realized that I am in love with music and I feel like I want to learn all the instruments…it’s crazy… I am still having the drums classes and my intentions are to start the guitar lessons in the beginning of next year…meanwhile, I’l;l try to do one of those online courses you suggested.
Apologies if I was too long, just wanted to share my situation 🙂
All the best and everyone, keep trying and learning!
Hi.. I am a 21 year old. I have no experience in music or singing. But I really want to learn playing guitar. So do you think I can learn paying guitar without any knowledge in music? Will I be able to cope up with it? Waiting to hear from you
Hi, yes of course. Anyone can learn music. How quickly and how well you will learn depends only on how much time you dedicate to it, how much you practice.
Good article, i am 27 year old and i started to practice Guitar 6 months before and now i have decided to do Grades in Guitar. How many years it will take to complete 8 grades. As well as my question is, if i complete 8 Grade Exams in Guitar mean how my future will be? is there is any possibilities to earn money? Because i am going to invest my time and money on this?… Why i am asking this mean, now a days in many bands they are not using Guitar, they are using Keyboard instead of Guitar, so if i complete Grades in Guitar mean will any opportunities can i see in my life?
I am waiting for your reply and your Guidance.
Hi, sorry but it’s impossible to say whether someone will make money as a musician or not. It doesn’t work like that.
I know some great musicians that don’t make a dime with their music, and I also know other great musicians that do… Will you? I have no clue.
If you become really good, you will be able to get gigs playing, that’s for certain.
As for the time factor, the quickest I’ve ever seen anybody become really-really good is 3 years, but he basically locked himself in his room and practiced 8 hours per day.
Hi, well I am planning to learn how to play a guitar, just trying to play the basic chords. I am kinda having some difficulty in pressing the strings and also it is very much hurting, I feel like my fingers are burning. Also a little difficulty in switching chords. Is there an advice you can give me so that I could use while playing my guitar or are these common for every beginners out there?
These are all things every beginner goes through. Keep at it, keep practicing, and it’ll all get better quickly.
Hello, I am 25 and starting my first class next week. I am a total beginner am i too late to learn? as it was a childhood dream to play guitar but unfortunately could never go for classes and never had the resources to learn. Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Hi there, all is good, you can never be too late. If you have the time and dedication to practice, you will become a great guitarist!
Great article. I think I need to start a support group, but after seeing this article, I might be a lonely group of 1 (+my guitar). I’ve been practicing 2-6 hours a day for the last 6 weeks. All I can think about when I’m not able to practice is getting back on my guitar to practice. It’s becoming an obsession. Having 30+ years of piano hasn’t hurt any progression either. But I’ve started to improvise now too, which is feeding some of the obsession. Thankfully, the family has been encouraging me to practice. However, the wife is getting lonely (I think she is planning to hide my precious..er, I mean my guitar). Maybe you can write an article about obsessive compulsive behavior and guitar?
Hehe, good one Phil 🙂 Our women have to learn to respect our priorities, right?
Just hope my wife doesn’t read this 😀
That’s right! That’s exactly why I left my lonely guitar at home when we left town to celebrate our anniversary last weekend! Whoops. Oh, well. Guess that’s why we’ve been married over 20 years. It was painful.
That is exactly me, after learning two years, learning a song is now extremely quick, NICE ARTICLE- shout out loud.
I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar, just sit down and strum a few cords. I’m not very patient, I would want the playing skill of a 20 years experience in just 6 months. I guess I need to start somewhere when it comes to the guitar.
Hi Luke. I’m Dwayne. Nice to meet you. I think we all would like that. To have mastery over something (especially the guitar) in as little of time as possible. But unfortunately it doesn’t work like that with an instrument. I will say this though, if put a little time aside everyday, you’ll be amazed at your progress in a short amount of time if you stay focused.
Good article 🙂 I’ve been playing for about 7 months now and I’d say my alternate picking and palm muting are very good and I’m getting better at string skipping. I can play some metal riffs, but haven’t tried to learn any whole songs yet. I only know a few chords and like 2 scales. I know you obviously haven’t heard me play, but do you think I’m learning slowly? I just find it boring to learn a whole song, so I usually just learn the main riff and take elements from that into my own playing.
I am 13 and I am starting guitar lessons next week. Since I was going to start playing guitar my friend asked me if I wanted to start a band with him when I learned how to play so I said yes so me, my cousin, and my good friend are going to start a band, so I was wondering how long it would take before I could start playing good music so thank you for this information, it was very useful. Since I am not really busy I am probably going to start hanging out with my friends less and focus on practicing guitar more.
Hi Cole. I’m Dwayne. Nice to meet you. I’m a guitar instructor out of Colorado and think it’s great your getting involved with your friends to start a band, I hope that works out. I believe your on the right track. Spend as much time as you can practicing and really getting to know your guitar. It will pay huge dividends in the future when you start performing in the band. Be sure to set some goals for what you wish to accomplish and stay focused on your end result. Good luck and have fun.
I am 19 years old and I am planning to learn guitar. Am I too old? Should I have had started early?
Ummm, 19? My oldest live student was above 60, and he did great 🙂
Stop planning to learn, just get a guitar and start playing!
Hi Apurva & Tom. I’m Dwayne Jenkins and it’s nice to meet you. Got a great site with some great lessons. I say I agree with you 100% It’s not about age, it’s about the willingness to learn. Which is what’s great about guitar, it can be learned at any age. Young or old.
hi tom just read your comments I have been having lessons for last 2/3 years learning 12 bar blues start finish turnaround etc know the major minor diatonic scales etc I feel know I could possibly stop lessons and know enough to be able to teach myself in any thing I wish to learn is this a good idea or am I being arrogant and think I know it all which i definatly know I don’t as ” the more I know , the less I realise I know ” thanks tom
Sure, you can stop the private lessons, but to keep on advancing, you still need some form of guided plan. If you are at an intermediate level, I would recommend JamPlay or GuitarTricks, since they have lots of specialized courses.
Check out this comparison between the 2 sites:
I have been playing guitar pretty much everyday now for about a month and half…maybe 7 weeks and i have come a long way. i can play a few of the easier guitar part songs like glycerine by bush, brain stew by green day, rockaway beach and blitzkrieg bop by the ramones (though i can’t play at full johnny ramone speed yet, u gotta play all downstrokes if you don’t wanna cheat, lol), and a few others. my speed at switching chords is not up to par yet, but i notice every few days i seem to be becoming more and more comfortable at switching chords and learning how to minimize movement when switching chords which you must do to switch them without missing a beat. i play the g chord major triad the easy way with the 3rd finger instead of the 4th and i play the a chord major triad with a barre with my 1st finger and although these are easier than playing the traditional way it makes my other fingers have to come further to switch chords. but many guitar players play those chords that way and have no issues whatsoever at switching chords so i think over time i will get up to speed. it’s all practice that’s for sure, if you tough it out at the beginning it will pay off. im still not out of the woods yet, i’ve still a lot of practicing til i can say i am not a beginner anymore….
So I’m gonna be 60 and decided to try learning guitar again.
I am a TRUE lefty – lefty in everything I do.
47 years ago (at 13) I took guitar lessons on a righty guitar. Although I was able to learn chords pretty well, my strumming and picking style left a lot to be desired. Long story short I really never advanced too far and gave up within a few years pretty much discouraged…
Fast forward and I just purchased a lefty guitar – an Ibanez AM93L semi-hollow electric. I’m hoping that I can achieve some rhythm skill using my dominant hand. Bottom line if rightys strum with their right hand then I believe that leftys should strum with their left.
My question is:
Do you think that I am at a disadvantage by trying to learn lefty?
No matter which handed you are, I always recommend learning the right handed way, because:
– all of the material you come across is meant for right handed “view”
– most of the guitarists you meet, will be playing the right handed way
– most of the guitars you can buy are right handed
Actually, it’s not really “right handed” as in writing for example, because you’re learning totally new movements with both hands, so it doesn’t really matter which hand learns what. If you think about the fine motor skills involved, strumming is much easier than fretting, no? So that means your dominant hand should have the harder job, right? But that’s not the way things are, which just shows you that handedness isn’t really relevant to the guitar.
But anyhow, if you feel more comfortable with the lefty, than by all means, go for it! As long as you practice at least an hour a day, you will progress regardless of which handed way you are learning.
Are you ever to old to learn the guitar?
As long as you can move your fingers well, you’re good. It’s not about age.
The amazing thing is, after 10 years I will be able to know how much I don’t know. 😀 . This is why they say, “Little knowledge will make you arrogant, in depth knowledge will make you humble”. 🙂
For the beginners a proper guideline is like a key. Thanks for the awesome article and video. I have learned a lot here. This an exclusive that I have followed to learn in my beginning and get awesome help: https://www.theguitarlesson.com/beginners-guide-learning-to-play-guitar/
Hi, I am learning to play classical guitar. I have had a month off because I couldn’t afford lessons for that period. So I am now picking up on things, and moving back to where I was before. I am learning basic harmonics, hammer-ons/pull-offs and barres. It has especially taken the best of a week to get back into the barres. Another technique I am learning is trills.
I am also about to start learning the top line of a duet version of “Cavatina”.
Brilliant article. I’ve been playing for nearly 4 months now and practicing every day really does work, even if just for half an hour. What worked for me in terms of extra motivation was some advice from a friend who’s a semi-pro player, learn songs as soon as possible, do the basic practice first, then just have some fun and experiment. I do finger exercises to warm up, do a different one of the pentatonic scale postions each evening, a set of chords, some chord progressions to build speed, then pick a guitar tab at random and give it a go, finally followed by blasting the first tune I learned (Teenage Kicks). That’s my own personal practice schedule and works for me, everyone is different. I do each bit of it for 10-15mins each and I’m loving it when I can play new songs. I have a million miles to go but as ability increases so does confidence. Roll on 2016 when I’ve had 2 years experience and can play the way I want to 🙂
How did you get on Murdock? I’m at the stage you were two years ago. Just curious to see if you kept it up and when/ if you started to feel like a musician?!
I love this article, and it’s a bit cheeky actually, which is even better. You do start to build a collection, but I can honestly say that it’s not as bad as the author makes it sound. I’ve been playing for almost 17 years now (yikes! I’m getting old.), professionally for 6 of those years. I have a grand total of…6 guitars, if you include my bass. I discovered quickly that all I really needed was a good classical, a decent rhythm guitar and a good lead guitar, and you’re pretty much set (bass is optional). The endgame is right, out of all my guitars, I primarily play ONE of them unless I have a gig calling for one of the others.
The simple fact of the matter is that you NEVER master the guitar, and you never will. Practice isn’t fun, but it’s necessary to get good. Once you do that, and then bring it to the stage, the fun really starts. Nothing is more fun that that thrill of doing something that has so many chances to go completely wrong, and pulling it off in front of hundreds/thousands of people. Don’t just practice! Play! As funny as that sounds, doing shows gives you a goal, and a benchmark which gives you a good reason for all that woodshedding.
I saw this article for the first time on April 2014, I got very much inspired. I began my guitar learning process. Now after about 4 months, i can play every possible barre chords, hammer ons , pull offs. And with few days of practice i can learn a new song very well. All thanks to this post which helped me to be positively motivated. I just used an hour of daily practice. Though unable to shift to barre chord quickly enough and a bit of off beat tabs, i will definitely learn them too in a coming few months
You’re doing great, thanks for sharing your story, and I hope it will provide inspiration to others as well!
Hey there! always puts a smile on my face seeing blogs like this 🙂 useful info, diverse commenting community and food for thought. I always share things like this with the visitors of my website
Keep on bringing us cool blogs like this
hey, I totally agree with your approach as to how long it will take to learn guitar. I’ve been playing for about 7-8 years now and as it says in your article, “can pretty much play what I want”. ha. I found this blog heaps helpful to realize achievable goals in guitar playing and will absolutely share this with my friends and followers on facebook.
Btw im a beginner n am plannin to take guitar lessons
U just gave me the motivation I needed.. was wondering which model of guitar to purchase. Could u suggest me 1?
Wow.Its a mammoth question.Basically you never stop learning,but i always set myself the goal of 2 years or 1000 hours to get to where i wanted to be,whichever came first.Everyone is different and people pick up things at their own speed.Its a very subjective question but the above was always my first goal.You certainly do not need a teacher for electric guitar,in fact some of the best and most famous guitar players on the planet have never had a professional lesson in their lives and are completely self taught.Another advantage of this is you develop your own style.All this theory about which finger goes where and what does what can send you mad when you start off.The secret if you genuinely want to learn is stick at .The first few months are tedious and very monotonous but gradually things improve if you keep going.I have heard from so many people who have given up after the first month because they cannot play their favourite guitar riff yet.Put quite simply it takes hundreds and hundreds of hours,but believe me when you can go to your bedroom or other learning area and pick up your guitar and play the solo to Hotel California by the Eagles for example my God you will be glad you stuck at it.
This is a good life lesson in general. I’m a physician, and the same was true in medical school. Those who studied every day, and not just near test time, are the ones who always did best regardless of natural ability. I imagine this is true in any endeavor.
Thanks for the time frame about when we could expect to play what types of songs. That’s helpful. I used to be a decent violinist, but lost interest decades ago. Now, my teenage son joined a rock band and spends 2 hours a day practicing guitar and an hour a day practicing drum. He’s done this for 2 years and can play virtually any song, writes songs, changes songs, and has just excelled. I am amazed at what he’s accomplished. He has stirred the inner musician in me to take up the guitar late in life. Let’s hope I have half his ability.
Oh yeah, practice with your son, and you’ll be forming a father-son band in no time. As you already know, it really comes down to how much time and effort you put into it.
Thanks for sharing your sons accomplishments and time frame as well, I’m sure lots of people will find it useful.
sir i liked yr article but i dont have much time to spend on guitar learning i m a 10th std passed student searching something to do in my vaccations.so i wanted to know if i could get basic knowledge in 1 month?
Hi Smruti, no 1 month is not enough for much. You’ll just start getting a feel for the basics, but won’t be able to do much yet.
Thanks for the amazing article, I was curious about this question from the first day I started my music lesson. But my teacher told me to have some patience, and first strengthen your base. Because having a firm base will surely help in long run.
Hi i am a beginner and just got my guitar how long will it take to learn the basics.and i am also planning to go to guitar classes and stop it once i study the basics is this a good idea?
Hi, as you can see above, if you practice regularly, you will make steady progress. Exactly how long depends on your abilities as well, but mostly on how much you practice. A personal teacher is always a good idea, but you can learn the basics online as well. Just make sure you follow a single course, not jump all over the place in between websites.
Sir , along with guitar I i want to develop my vocal skills also …sir give me some tips so that I can develop my vocal skills along with guitar …..
Sorry I can’t help you there, I’m not a singer. There is a site called JamPlay which has singing lessons for guitar players, here is a free signup page, check it out. Once you’re inside, do a search for singing, and you’ll see the lessons.
hiii sir i reallly liked ur article & ur page i also want to learn guitar,not just for professionaly but just for peace of my soul i m so passionate for it hw much time it takes to me to just playing almost every song with regular practice of guitar & the song
thankyou very much sir
Sir ,many people say that it is impossible to learn playing guitar without going to classes …
Sir is it true …??
Nope 🙂 Online lessons are great nowadays. Later on, when you get better, playing with outers will become important, but you can definitely learn online, without a live teacher or having to go to classes.
Sir , I an engineering student (2nd sem) . My dream is to learn and play guitar …I want to go for guitar classes but I dont want to leave studies …sir please suggest , can I learn guitar along with my studies …??
Hi there, well, I always say that you can make time for things that are important to you. If you can free up 1 hour of your day for the guitar, than yes, you can learn alongside your studies. If you’re really pressed for time though, I would suggest learning online rather than from a teacher, since you’ll save the time you would spend traveling, and also be able to practice whenever you can fit it in, not based on the teacher’s schedule.
hi. want toknow.how long does it take to learn theory and sit for the theoryexams? for every grade, is there a time limit
Sorry but I’m not sure what your question is exactly…
Waant to learn the classical method of guitar but having trouble finding a suitable teacher so am looking at you all. I’ll need a course that encomposes DVD as well as a book. Also a site ? What can you suggest ? Ron
My son is studying Performing Arts Level 2 but his sudden interest the last few weeks is playing base guitar…he has never played any instrument before…but he is very keen about music. He is 17 and half and he seems very keen to want to learn. What direction do you think he should take in his studies or not necessarily…?
I’ve been taking guitar lessons for about a year and a quarter now, once a week with 50 minute classes. I can play Stairway to Heaven now.
I have been playing for 8 months now,practise everyday anything from 2 to 4 hours each day.There are no short cuts as far as I can see other than the dedication and discipline needed to put time aside each day to learn.Loads and loads of repetition.Iam reaping the rewards now as I am building up a catalogue of nice varied tunes from hard rock to gentle ballads.When you first start,apart from the pain to your hands,you feel you will never memerise the notes needed in each song,and it can take weeks to remember even basic stuff.After a few months things start to gel,your playing improves almost overnight and your brain starts to learn things much quicker and you begin playing almost on auto pilot.Just stick with it and remember to practise as much as you can and you will be rewarded.
Richard, thanks for you comment and story, I hope it helps everyone see that practicing diligently is the way forward in guitar.
This is not always true. I have been trying to play for 30 years. Have had some exceptional teachers, practiced for hours and still don’t understand it and really can’t play. You have really oversimplified playing the guitar and the learning process.
Hmm, try Rocksmith out? It could have been your teachers or yourself holding you back. I’ve seen guys on youtube who have one year or less of exp. and are actually fairly decent. I’ve seen guys with 5 years of exp. on youtube who are amazing.
Great article! Well-written, well-explained, easy to follow. Keep up the good work!
Hey! Right now, I’m in 10th class! I really wanna learn to play guitar…. But the only problem is I’m scared it’ll affect my studies…. How many hours do u suggest me to practice a day? ( Keeping in mind that I’m in 10th! ) O:-)
Hi Anisha, the more the better, but if you want steady progress, you’ll need to practice at least an hour a day. It’s much funner than studying though, so you can do it when you’re tired before going to bed for example, when all your studying is already taken care of. And of course there are weekends, when you can practice a lot more 🙂
Thanks!!! When you play Electric guitars, Electric guitars use steel strings that are a bit harder on a beginner’s fingers than nylon sting acoustic guitars.
Thanks for that, I do have a comparison of whether it’s better for beginners to learn on the acoustic or the electric guitar.
In the article, I speak about steel string acoustic guitars though, not nylon string classical guitars.
Hi, like your site. I will let you know how I do. I’m 61, learned a little guitar when I was younger, can strum basic chords, can’t really move my fingers with real coordination on the fret board (3rd and 4th fingers very uncoordinated). So now I just got a new used guitar and I’ve been practicing every day now for 1 month and can tell my coordination is getting a little better, just doing a lot of scales right now. I am giving myself a good year to really get my finger on the fretboard to be good to acceptable. I practice about 2 hours day, everyday. Being an older student, I will let you know how I do.
One hint that I did was to tell all my friends and family I’m doing this, so now I feel real motivated to getting better.
I played guitar since 2007 then stopped after I was put down by my father. So I put my guitar down for a while. it has been 2 years since then and my ear for music has gotten better so I picked up my guitar recently and begin playing. It was hard to play any song since my hand hasn’t gotten any sort of movement but with practice everything just came back to me. Since I quit my job I might as well practice for 5 hours a day. Plus its such a good medicine for my depression.
Well i truly agreed with above article, but mind it it requires concentration , passion , dedication , i learnt guitar guitar in 6 months as as intermediate level player but i use to give 6 hours and believe me , more you practice more you want to play , i have 6 guitars , but still i can play any song but i belive i only know .1% of this instrument
6 hours per day from the start? Wow, that’s impressive! So there you have it, the more you practice, the quicker the process is. Thanks for your comment!
Great article. thank you for the information. Great information and it is exciting to have found this site,I really enjoyed …
Thank you again
Hi. I just wanted to say that this isn’t all true. Sure, people can feel inspired by this. But your ability to play the guitar is based on how much you practice and your level of commitment. Not if you’ve been playing for 2 years or 6 years. John Petrucci, the guitarist from Dream Theater (he’s incredible) started playing when he was 12. He ended up going to Berklee, which probably happened 5 or 6 years after he started playing. Just sayin 😉
Yes, without practice, you won’t get anywhere, I mention this several times in the article 🙂
thanks for good article, next week i arrange to buy a guitar
Hi my name is stephanie im 14 and i wanna learn guitar pretty quickly,me and my friends wanna start a band but I don’t wanna drag them on because it make take to long. The music I listen to is post-hardcore and screamo, so how long will it take to learn rock music, my friends think it wont take long but i know it will, this helped alot thanks. I once did guitar when was younger but quite because it was to hard, now im starting again bc I just feel the passion to play again but im just scared it might take to long. But thanks for the artical it helped alot.
Hi Stephanie, learning guitar won’t happen overnight, but if you practice for at least an hour every day, you’ll get to a stage where you can play rhythm rock guitar in a few months. So not fancy solos as such, but you’ll sound good with power chords and rhythm.
Just remember, it takes regular practice and devotion, that is the only secret.
I have been playin guitar fo abot 5 years or more,or atlist i’v been touchin that instrument tym to tym sumtyms wit gaps lyk a wik or two bt on average bot 2 tyms a wik…..i know sme clasical pieces bt stil a great amatuer wen it komes to electric and lead guitar……….bt playin witout usin da strummer hav traind my right hand’s finger to pluck n play simultaneously which made me fil a lil cnfident bot goin fo da bass guitar..i dn’t even knw if dat’l be suitable fo me.. your article has put to lyt sme truths n doubts dat i wantd to clear…..tanks……
7 guitars in the first 3 months. Little ahead of schedule. Learned Barre chords before Arpeggios. Progressing nicely. Very persistent with my Practice. Nice article and I am sensing it does take time. Hope to get into theory soon
Great article. I am 59 in July and had not picked up a guitar until about a month ago, just went to a local store with an experienced player and bought a 60′s player strat ( i liked the colour). After 3 lessons and daily practice the fingers have stopped hurting , my fingers now go to places on the fret that was impossible a couple of weeks ago. Really enjoy Tom’s lessons although I am still working on the finger walk. The joy of stumbling through a 12 ar blues shuffle when your teacher joins in with the lead…Priceless
Its never too late and I really do not care how long iit takes
Many Thanks ( Birmingham UK )
Awesome, I am 59 years old as well and I just started playing guitar, I am doing ok, and I want to spend the rest of my life improving, I am not sure where this will take me but for sure I will be happier.
This is something I get asked so much and I have found my response is never a quick one! It is so much in relation to the students desire, their dedication and ability to deal with the frustration of hitting the ruts. Lessons inspire and guide you but it is all about those 6 days in between!
I feel really sheepish and silly even commenting here but also that I have the right. The reason is because I have ADD and it wasn’t diagnosed until my 20’s. Before that I didn’t even have the patience to learn ‘twinkle twinkle’ on a recorder!(or any other instrument) …I always had this crazed emotional feeling of familiarity with a lot of music.
I had a great 4th gr. teacher who always had classical music on during school hours and who taught us a great deal of the various composers.
Music is something you can’t touch. It is like vapor that soothes and excites all at the same time.
Needless to say…I NEVER was able to learn much from music teachers. I think this may be because there are fundamentally different ways of understanding music. Just because one person has a soul soothing relationship (and it is a life long relationship) with music that allows a sense of freedom from pain and boredom…and is also a huge catalyst for the imagination…doesn’t make them worse or better than one who appreciates and devours theory like a toddler would an unlimited candy supply.
After failing to learn two instruments as a kid — violin & piano, I decided ‘hey I might not be any kind of musical genius BUT I FEEL IT and I actually learned to read it well enough to …GUESS WHAT!? Teach myself guitar. My playing is all emotion …it took SEVEN long years (and YES it was on and off as I had a life and not all the time in the world to devote to guitar) but in the end …I can play tons of stuff with just the letter chord over a lyric. Why should I feel like I’m SHIT because the ONLY way I was EVER going to learn to play ANY instrument was if I DID IT MYSELF? More power to you if the circle of fifths is something that causes uncontrollable salivary excretion and fits of pleasure…that’s cool BUT I HATE IT…I HATE MATH…I HATE STUPID BORING DRY AND BRITTLE DEAD CRAP and yet I always scored very well on aptitude tests for arithmetic etc. Oh well…just ‘cos you may be supposedly able to do something doesn’t mean it will make you HAPPY. My singing and self accompanied guitar makes me really happy…and for the only time ever in my life as though I was allowed in what always felt a snooty piece-of-spoiled-dog-feces country club for little (mostly) boy monster brats.
How unjust that those with NO depth of feeling, empathy, yearning for the highest level of emotional beauty are the ones who seem to be self anointed kings of what makes a person a ‘good’ guitarist. To them I decree…there is a Shiny Yearning Love that blesses some souls, who, though often banished, are self taught and learned and can see through the likes of you…
Great Answer….I resigned my job to learn guitar seriously.I’ve learned all the open chords and the first position notes by myself nd now i started barre chords which took away all my confidence dat wondering dat I could never learn dese barre chords in my life.d comments are also good.thnks 4 the article and all the commentors. Im starting my practice of barre chords right now nd i dnt bother even if it takes my life time to learn ’em.
I Love Guitar 😀
Everything…and I do mean everything I learned in 55 years of playing 9 musical instruments at the same time… still makes me think I know nothing and have a burning passion to improve on all of them.
Moral of the story, you can practice, but you can’t teach passion.
“Passion” in this context is simply the utter and burning desire to learn for learning’s sake. Thanks for the enjoyable article and comments everyone.
I’ve been playing for almost 5 years and i have master some techniques but i also noticed that playing guitar involves much more. At first I was excited because i was noticing that i was learning and was able to play chords with no problem…as i was progressing i started to listen to a few great guitar players like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteem, and more and then i felt like I hit a wall. I got very discouraged because I asked myself “how can I ever play like them?” just looking at the videos made me realized that I was a long way far from getting to that level but one day I said to myself “if Ive gotten this far, I have to keep going. I can’t just stop playing guitar! its something i’ve always loved doing so I picked up the guitar and started playing at least two hours a day!
I have had two rounds of rehearsing guitar over the past two years. I first practised first for two weeks(no teacher, just alone)and I did learn regular easy chords (c,D,Em,E,A…) then I didnt play in about a year and a half, and then started again. Then I learnd both barre, and tabs in about four weeks(I am now during the 4th one)
so, I’ve sort of used 3 years on this. But only 6 weeks of good practise. Am I a quick learner?
Learning to play was one of the best skills I ever learned. It helps to be creative and have a lifelong passion for Guitar itself. I entirely agree lessons are the best way to learn, as there are progressions and timetables that will almost always otherwise be left unserved. Personally I pick up things pretty fast, and could play most songs on the radio after 8 months. I got a few DVDs of Guitar lessons and a couple of my favorite guitarists and that is what I use to keep myself in great playing shape DAILY and learning as many techniques as I can come across. I’ll decide in about a year (nearly 2years learning/playing experience) whether to seriously learning Classical Guitar. I probably will, as Guitar is something I’ve always thoroughly liked and now completely love. Best advice I can offer is learn on the best guitar yiu can get your hands on, practice and play more than an hour a day. It flies by when playing to the radio. Also really great to play with friends, as you can help each other get better at it and find goals and progress levels to strive for. And most importantly, play because you really love to. If you enjoy it more than most things you do, then you’re certain to get tons of enjoyment with it for a lifetime.
tomorrow will be my first day to learn guitar . i am a little stressed i don’t know if i can cope with learning process 🙁
i was looking for more information on Internet then i found here , Thank you for great explanation . i like the part you said ( If you ever get discouraged, or stuck at any given point, just remember that even the best guitar players were beginners at one time, everyone went through the learning curve ) this calmed me , i hope this sentences stick to my mind always so i won’t lose my confidence !
HELP. This was a great article, so thank you for that. I’ve been wanting to play since I was a kid but just never took the time. I’m now ready to make guitar play a part of my life. My wife just brought me home a used “Washburn” 12 String Acoustic guitar (D12-12N) and it’s beautiful. I can’t stop looking at it. Unfortunately, I cannot play it yet. I have zero experience which leads me to my 1st question:
Should I learn to play on this guitar or should I get a 6 string?
I have heard that if I can learn on a 12 string, that a 6 string will be easy, but not vise versa. Also, that it’s easier to learn on a 6 string. I am most interested in playing as a lifetime hobby but I do want to learn quickly and I want to go with the best option for variety of songs. If it’s not that much of a difference then I’ll probably just use my 12 string.
Second Question(s): How often should I take lessons? How long should each lesson be? How long should I practice to get optimal results without burning out the passion?
I’m in my late 30’s and I work when I want to, so I have plenty of time to dedicate to this new life hobby. I just want to start off right. Thank you all for any advise you provide.
Great article. There is only one thing I would add that you hinted at. The timeline is based on practicing where learning of new techniques is the goal.
I have seen guitar players that have been playing “John Denver” style consistently for 20 years and although they are solid as a rock … they progress very slowly. This is especially true with guitar players who sing or play liturgical music. I’ve also seen guitar students with 2 years experience and a thirst to always learn new techniques. I would have to say practice hours= competency practice hours+new learning=advancement.
Also, I would add the same as others. Lessons are a necessity both because they push new techniques versus ones already learned, make deadlines for learning those techniques, and provide an independent verification of progressing.
What a great explanation! I love the part where you say “out of your 20 guitars you’ll only play 3” So true! Lol! 🙂
I’ve been playing for about one and a half years now and and so far this is exactly what I have experienced.
Have you continued to play the guitar 10 years later. If you have, how much better have you gotten?
Hi, This is nice and practical…..very good article…Thanks
need to go for guitar classes………….