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How Long Does it Take to Learn How to Play Guitar?

May 23, 2018

How Long Does it Take to Learn How to Play Guitar?

7489124186_1624b51ca5_k (2)Do you want to start guitar lessons but you’re wondering how long it will take you to see the payoff? Or, have you already started and you’re wondering if you’re really making progress? Guitar teacher Peter M. shares just how long it really takes most students to learn guitar…

This age old question has been asked by nearly all of my students for as long as I’ve been teaching: how long will it take to learn how to play guitar? Will it take a week? A month? A year? Longer?

And the answer is as frustrating as the guitar can seem: it depends. I know that isn’t a very concrete answer, but the reasoning is simple; you get out of the guitar what you put in. You can see direct results from hard work and practice on the guitar (or any instrument for that matter).

The plain and simple truth is that we are all on our own path and that each of us learns the guitar at different paces and levels. Some of my students seem to learn new skills almost instantly, while others take a few days or weeks to really get it down. All of it just boils down to the at-home practice that the student does. Your guitar teacher can spend your 30 minute lesson showing you a new skill or technique on guitar and you can master it in your lesson, but if you don’t practice between lessons all of what you learned is lost. With learning an instrument there is no flat-lining. You don’t just stay at the same ability. You either get better or worse. Sure you can take a few days off and you won’t go back to stage one, but if you aren’t practicing outside of your lesson time you won’t improve.

With all of that being said, most students can expect it to take 6 months up to a year until they can feel really comfortable on the guitar (and by comfortable I mean that they can learn songs on their own and improvise solos). I actually took a few years to finally get to that level.

I started to learn guitar two times. I gave up the first time, and tried again the next year. But I wanted it bad enough and worked through the struggle. I won’t lie to you. Guitar is a tough instrument, with one of the steepest learning curves out there. The first month especially is its own plateau. If you can get past learning that first song, it will only get easier and easier.

Learning guitar is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and can be a skill that you have your entire life. The best students I have had don’t worry about where they are compared to their peers, they have their own goals and reasons for playing guitar. And that is the key; learn how to play guitar for yourself and you won’t ever feel like you are falling behind your peers. Keep a practice log, and set weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals. After that year look back on your goals and see how far you’ve come, you might just be amazed at the results.

peter m

Peter M. teaches guitar, bass guitar, and music theory lessons in Lawrence, KS. He specializes in teaching acoustic guitar and blues techniques. He has been teaching with TakeLessons since April 2011. Learn more about Peter or search for a guitar teacher near you!


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Suzy S.