How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar? (2022)

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How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar? (1)

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“How long will this take?”

(Video) How long does it take to learn guitar?

Everybody who picks up the guitar wants to know. What can be accomplished in a month? In a year? The answers vary. But there’s one factor you can count on to measure your progress: total lifetime hours spent practicing.

Hours Accumulated: The Only Meaningful Measurement

Never, ever, ever attempt to quantify your total guitar progress in any other way than the total number of hours invested in your lifetime.

Instead of thinking “how good will I be in one more year?” try thinking “how much better will I be after 1000 more hours of practice?” Some learners can put in more time in 6 months than other students manage to invest in 4 years. Always think in terms of total hours invested. 4 hours per day for 6 months is almost 720 hours. Surely enough for most learners to make shocking progress. At 30 minutes per day, it would take four years to see those results.

The Infamous “10,000” Hour Rule

Here is what you need to know about the 10,000 hour rule:

  1. It’s a totally arbitrary, and entirely debatable number.
  2. It’s very useful to use in your planning.

The “10,000 hour” idea was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. The take-away is that top performers in any field have typically invested 10,000 hours or more of practice into their skill, and typically in a deliberate and structured way that achieves results.

Of course there’s no rule that says we graduate to mastery after accumulating this many hours. But guidelines are helpful. A motorist who never stops for red lights is fairly likely to get into a wreck, eventually. Someone who spends 55 hours per week in the office is somewhat more likely to get a promotion than someone who’s late every day. We accept these probabilities. Let’s also accept the notion that someone who has invested 10,000 hours in practicing their instrument is fairly likely to achieve a very high level of proficiency.

(Video) How Long Will It Take To Get Good At Guitar

Successful guitar learners know that any target is better than none. That’s because people without targets never hit anything.

More Arbitrary Ratings of Proficiency

Although no chart of practice hours can ever describe your own learning process, let’s try to use some numbers to visualize your future outcomes.

LevelHours NeededDaily Practice InvestmentSummary
30m1h2h4h
Introductory156.2510 months156 days78 days39 daysCan play simple musical parts, songs and accompaniments, and at least one real piece of music, although likely with a somewhat irregular rhythm and flawed technique.
Basic312.51.8 years10 months156 days78 daysAn expanded grasp of fundamentals, and can play several pieces, albeit imperfectly.
Beginning6253.5 years1.8 years10 months156 daysBasic competence as a rhythm guitar player, and can continue learning and growing independently.
Intermediate12506.9 years3.5 years1.8 years10 monthsSkill suitable for more advanced pursuits such as improvisation, home recording, writing music, and beginning to tackle advanced repertoire and technique.
Advanced250013.9 years6.9 years3.5 years1.8 yearsStarts to take command of the musical performance, beyond merely playing right notes and right rhythms, and into deeper awareness of feel, tone, and dynamics. Most never reach this point.
Expert500027.8 years13.9 years6.9 years3.5 yearsCan start to teach others; guitar skills are quite serviceable.
Professional1000055.6 years27.8 years13.9 years6.9 yearsCan teach almost any player, and can perform comfortably in at least one style. Most would describe this as mastery.
Master20000111.1 years55.6 years27.8 years13.9 yearsWorld-class musician, guitar deity, or frightening demon.

Using the chart above as a guide, we can estimate that achieving an introductory level of guitar proficiency (to perform simple parts and songs) requires a little more than 150 hours of practice. A devoted college student can achieve this much practice over the course of the summer break. But a busy professional who practices only 30m per day will need 10 months to reach the same goal.

One Caveat: Tending Crops vs. Planting Seeds

If your goal is to expand your garden, the more crops you plant, the more crops you need to tend each day. In the beginning you are free to use all of your time planting new crops, but eventually the crops you have planted will require all of your attention. In your guitar practice, this occurs when your daily practice time is enough to maintain your established skills but not enough to push towards new ones. When you reach this plateau, the only way forward is increasing your daily practice time.

There is a limit to how much a slow and steady tortoise can achieve. Although it would appear that an average person can become a professional-level musician by simply investing 30 minutes per day for 55 years, it is more likely that such a person would eventually reach a point of balance, limiting further growth. That’s because much of this small investment will be wasted reviewing fundamentals and the amount of time available to push the boundaries is limited. And every practice session has at least several minutes of “cold” time.

In addition, on the other end of the spectrum, practicing a great deal every day for a month can get your skills in “top shape”, and may even help you reach a new level. But soon after you cut back down on practice time, you’ll start to notice your fingers aren’t quite as limber.

(Video) How long does it take to get 'good' at guitar?

The Takeaway

Everybody can learn to play—eventually

Even if your daily practice commitment of 20 minutes doesn’t put you anywhere near the path to being a world master, why should it? Be realistic in your expectations. The flip side is that you can be good at guitar someday. It takes years, but that’s what makes it so worth it. And reaching the intermediate level practically guarantees a lifetime of enjoyment, and almost anybody can do it.

Grit matters most

If this model has any predictive power, then you can see that if you ever want to reach the higher levels of guitar playing in your life, it will have to be a consistent effort that takes place over the course of many years. That means that, come what may with work, school, or family, your commitment to practice daily or almost daily must endure. Decide how much time you can invest each day for your life, not just for this period in it. If changes to your life affect your practice time, revise your goal. But never give up.

Even at the fastest pace, the highest levels take awhile to reach

If you want to do this, you’re in it for the long run. It’s great to try to kick ass in the short term, but there are many reasons why you may not be able to sustain a four-hour-per-day practice routine for 5-10 years. If you can, good for you!

And even practicing 8 hours per day (which some people believe is not possible to sustain in the long term, and is not productive even in the short term), one cannot achieve the highest level defined here in less than 13.5 years. So remember that no matter what, learning guitar takes awhile.

Talent really is overrated

When you look at it from the perspective of the massive amount of time that good musicians have invested in themselves, it can make you feel that spending too much time worried about “talent” is a bit shallow, unimaginitive, lazy. Let’s talk talent after you’ve put in the 10,000 hours.

More Reading on Musical Practice & Mastery

Next articles lesson: Avoid Practice Distractions

(Video) I practiced guitar for 4 hours a day for 30 days

FAQs

How quickly can you learn guitar? ›

For someone who practices around 30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week, with medium intensity, it'll take roughly 1-2 months to play beginner guitar songs, and approximately 3-6 months to confidently play intermediate and slightly more advanced songs with technical elements.

Is it hard to learn the guitar? ›

Guitar is hard to learn in the beginning, but gets easier the longer you stick with it. The more you practice, the easier guitar will feel to play. This is why most people who quit guitar do so in the very beginning. Learning guitar feels hard at first.

Can I learn guitar in 3 months? ›

In 3 months time, you can pick up many of the fundamentals of the guitar but you are unlikely to master them for many more months, even years. You will be able to strum several songs you recognize and be able to pluck out some scales, as well as learning the fundamental chord shapes, and other basic guitar skills.

Can I learn guitar at 40? ›

You are never too old to learn guitar. You can start learning guitar at any age. While younger people tend to learn faster, you are still capable of learning guitar as a beginner whether you are 30, 40, 60, or even 70.

Is guitar harder than piano? ›

Overall, the guitar is easier to learn than the piano. If you consider the layout, learning songs, the ability to self-teach and a few other things, it is an easier instrument. However, it's the easiest on average for everyone. This means for people of all ages.

Does guitar hurt your fingers? ›

Sore and exposed fingertip tissue is only one type of injury guitar playing can expose you to. The repetitive movements you make to play the guitar are called isotonic movements. Performing these isotonic movements a lot for a long time can put strain on the tendons in your fingers.

Can I self learn guitar? ›

It is definitely possible to learn guitar by yourself and if you follow the right advice, it isn't hard. It's important to remember that everybody finds it hard to learn guitar in the beginning whether you have a guitar teacher helping you or you're learning by yourself.

What is the easiest instrument to learn? ›

The piano is arguably the easiest musical instrument for kids to learn and there's a ton of easy songs to learn. It's a great way to introduce children to music, mostly thanks to the simple, logical layout of the keys.

What's the fastest way to learn guitar? ›

You will learn faster and more efficiently for it – allowing you to spend more time enjoying playing, jamming and performing with the guitar even more.
  1. 1) Practice in the ideal learning environment. ...
  2. 2) Workout and train regularly. ...
  3. 3) Know your chronotype and practice accordingly. ...
  4. 4) Meditate. ...
  5. 5) Chew Gum. ...
  6. 6) Sleep.

How many hours a day should a beginner practice guitar? ›

So, exactly how often should a beginner practice guitar? A beginner should practice a minimum of 15 minutes up to an hour a day. Practicing the guitar every day will help build muscle memory, develop the habit and reduce frustration from slow progress.

What is the #1 hardest instrument to play? ›

1. FRENCH HORN. French Horn is a brass instrument, and you'll need to have a proper amount of air so you can play it properly. Aside from proper air, what you'll need is to practice breathing control.

Why is learning guitar so hard? ›

Guitar is considered by many to be one of the most difficult instruments to learn because of its polyphonic capabilities, its abstract representation of the notes, the physical dexterity required to play, and the potential pain and discomfort associated with finger pain and hand cramps.

How many hours a day should a music major practice? ›

Due to the physical and psychological nature inherent in the study of music, one can expect to practice between two and six hours per day. This holds true for both instrumental and vocal majors, regardless of the choice of music education or performance tracks.

Can I learn guitar one year? ›

The short answer: It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to learn guitar. How long it takes you depends on what you want to be able to play on guitar, how often you practice and the quality of your practice sessions.

What is the cost of guitar? ›

How much does a guitar cost? You can find acoustic guitars usually around Rs 5,000. Popular electric guitars usually cost around Rs 15,000 depending on the brand and the accessories that are available along with the guitar.

Is 35 too old to learn guitar? ›

You Can Learn Guitar No Matter Your Age!

In fact, as an older guitar student, you'll have some definite advantages that you wouldn't have enjoyed as a kid. Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond, it is never too late to learn to play a new instrument.

How many chords are there in guitar? ›

There are separate chord-forms for chords having their root note on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth strings. For a six-string guitar in standard tuning, it may be necessary to drop or omit one or more tones from the chord; this is typically the root or fifth.
...
Key signatureMajor keyMinor key
F♯G majorE minor
2 more rows

How many notes are on a guitar? ›

There are 12 notes, multiplied by 3 octaves, plus the first note. (12 x 3) + 1 = 37. This means that a 12-fret guitar has 3 octaves of the E chromatic scale across all of its frets - no more, no less. Since the guitar is a two-dimensional instrument, there are a significant number of notes that repeat more than once.

Is guitar the hardest instrument? ›

Guitar is not considered hard to learn compared to many other instruments, with musicians considering the violin to be the hardest string instrument to learn and play. Many orchestral instruments are considered harder than guitar to learn, however truly mastering guitar is no easier than any other instrument.

How long should you practice guitar a day? ›

Aim to practice guitar for at least 15 minutes per day. Try to avoid long and unbroken practice sessions of longer than one hour at a time. If you want to practice for longer than 20 minutes, set short breaks to split up your practice sessions for the best results possible.

Why are my fingers black after playing guitar? ›

The gray / black tinge you get on your fingers comes from oxidation from the moisture in your fingers or the humidity in the air reacting with the tin, nickel and chromium. The green tinge you might get on your fingers comes from oxidation due to the copper / copper alloy.

How many calories do you burn playing guitar? ›

Playing guitar burns around 140 calories an hour if you're sitting down, but 200 calories an hour if you play standing up. Everyday activities and hobbies can help shed the pounds, so if you're looking for a way to lose a bit of weight but can't stand the gym read on for inspiration.

What should I learn first on guitar? ›

Playing open chords

Open chords are one of the first skills a beginner guitarist will learn. Master just three, and you can play a whole host of popular songs. Aside from attending guitar lessons, following a chord chart is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the basics.

What order should I learn guitar? ›

But this is a great basic order to master them in.
  1. Reading Standard Music Notation and Tablature. ...
  2. Open Position Notes. ...
  3. Essential Music Theory. ...
  4. Basic Open Position Chords. ...
  5. Strumming Patterns. ...
  6. Tuning By Ear. ...
  7. Barre Chords. ...
  8. Pentatonic Scales.

What famous guitarists are self-taught? ›

Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Prince – three of the all-time greats – all claim to be self-taught guitarists. Even John Lennon and Paul McCartney were largely self-taught musicians.

Can I learn guitar in a month? ›

You can't learn guitar in a month. You can learn a lot of basics on guitar in one month but learning an instrument is a lifelong journey and even when you feel you have mastered the guitar; there is always something new to learn or a better way to do it.

Can I learn guitar one year? ›

The short answer: It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to learn guitar. How long it takes you depends on what you want to be able to play on guitar, how often you practice and the quality of your practice sessions.

Can you get good at guitar in a year? ›

True experts on the guitar have practiced for well beyond 10,000 hours, in most cases. Don't let this discourage you! If you work hard, you will be playing tunes and accompanying songs with chords after your first year. The good news is that you can progress so much further than that - it's a long term journey.

Is it possible to learn guitar in a week? ›

It is unreasonable to expect that you will be playing very advanced music after one week, but it is entirely possible that you will be able to write and improvise music (and start learning songs by ear) in a way that will fulfill you.

What's the fastest way to learn guitar? ›

You will learn faster and more efficiently for it – allowing you to spend more time enjoying playing, jamming and performing with the guitar even more.
  1. 1) Practice in the ideal learning environment. ...
  2. 2) Workout and train regularly. ...
  3. 3) Know your chronotype and practice accordingly. ...
  4. 4) Meditate. ...
  5. 5) Chew Gum. ...
  6. 6) Sleep.

How many hours A day should A beginner practice guitar? ›

So, exactly how often should a beginner practice guitar? A beginner should practice a minimum of 15 minutes up to an hour a day. Practicing the guitar every day will help build muscle memory, develop the habit and reduce frustration from slow progress.

How many chords are on A guitar? ›

Notes and Conclusion

We also haven't included every possible combination of notes on the fretboard, or anything with a root above the 24th fret. However, all of the guitar chords used in an academic and/or practical sense are accounted for, bringing our number of guitar chords to the 2210 total.

Is 35 too old to learn guitar? ›

You Can Learn Guitar No Matter Your Age!

In fact, as an older guitar student, you'll have some definite advantages that you wouldn't have enjoyed as a kid. Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond, it is never too late to learn to play a new instrument.

Is 14 too old to learn guitar? ›

Some older adult students have asked me, “Am I too old to start learning to play the guitar (or banjo)?” My answer to that is, “You're never too old to learn to play an instrument!” Playing the guitar (or other musical instrument) brings joy to people of all ages.

What is the easiest instrument to learn? ›

The piano is arguably the easiest musical instrument for kids to learn and there's a ton of easy songs to learn. It's a great way to introduce children to music, mostly thanks to the simple, logical layout of the keys.

How many hours should you practice guitar? ›

Aim to practice guitar for at least 15 minutes per day. Try to avoid long and unbroken practice sessions of longer than one hour at a time. If you want to practice for longer than 20 minutes, set short breaks to split up your practice sessions for the best results possible.

Should you practice guitar every day? ›

Quality of time spent can be a lot more important that quantity of time spent. It is important to practice the guitar regularly in order to improve your skills. One of the most common guitar practice tips is that you should practice every single day for a year to become a better guitar player.

Can you teach yourself guitar? ›

The good news is, you can absolutely teach yourself guitar! It may have been hard to learn on your own time 20 years ago, but now great information is everywhere. The power of the internet has created an awesome database of resources for those who really want to learn.

Is the guitar harder than piano? ›

Guitar is easier for adults to learn because it is less challenging to learn songs at the beginner level. Piano, however, is easier for younger students (age 5-10) to learn because they won't have to grip guitar fret boards, and coordinate right hand strumming patterns.

Is it easier to play electric or acoustic guitar? ›

Electric guitars are easier to play. The strings are lighter and far more comfortable than acoustic guitars. One key aspect which makes electric guitars so appealing is that they are a lot smaller than acoustic guitars, so it does make learning more comfortable.

Can someone with no musical talent learn to play guitar? ›

Don't worry, you don't need to be a musical genius to learn guitar. In fact, even if you've never played an instrument before, you can still be successful with some basic instruction and a lot of practice. However, the sooner you start learning the basics of guitar, the easier it will be down the road.

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