Every beginning is a challenging, but essential step in becoming good at something. Sometimes beginners might be restless when it comes to new things that they want to learn. They want to know how to start, how to improve, and how long it takes to master the subject of learning.
Learning a new instrument takes time and effort. Beginner guitar players are often eager to become those rock or blues stars which music they’ve grown up with. They are eager to know how long they’ll be learning electric guitar and they have every right to know.
I do, however, believe that the time spent on learning this craft should be used on learning the appropriate things at the right moment. Therefore, I will be talking about the process of learning the electric guitar and the time it takes.
First things first— you will need a decent electric guitar suitable for beginners. This will surely make the time spent on learning electric guitar shorter. Why is this important? Well, beginners need an electric guitar that is of good-quality, but makes some things a bit easier for the player. In this case players learn the guitar techniques properly in a more relaxed way. On the other hand, a faulty electric guitar might be discouraging and ‘teach’ players things the wrong way.
When buying your beginner electric guitar you should strive for an electric guitar with a reasonable price ($250-$500). You should also make sure to chose an electric guitar with the right pickups, tonewood, and body type. These factors provide the guitar’s quality, and beginners don’t want to go too professional, but not low-quality either. The price range and the guitar elements you pick should be aligned with your goals and abilities.
Furthermore, each beginner player should know that if your goal is to be an expert in playing guitar you will be striving to achieve it for the rest of your life. I am not saying that players will not get good at playing the electric guitar; all I’m saying is that they will be constantly improving and making progress.
Of course, this is true only if you practice regularly and have a good learning plan. However, we’re talking beginner level here, and there are a few steps on players’ way before they become guitar masters. Needless to say, no one is forcing you to become the best at the craft; you can always learn as much as you want to learn and enjoy what you’ve learned.
When they do define your goals, players will need to find themselves a good teacher. They should look for someone who motivates them and doesn’t ask for too much money for the services. But most of all, players should look for a teacher who has experience and a well-defined program for teaching beginner electric guitar players.
In short, it will take you no more than a few months to get the gist of guitar playing. In this time you will be able to learn some songs, know many of the chords and scales, and experiment with a few guitar techniques. You’ll be more comfortable with the guitar and get used to its ways. Many beginners might also start to improvise. This is the point in the guitar learning that I like to call the ‘larvae’ stage.
As I already said, the more you practice, the faster you’ll improve. As a beginner you might be tempted to play on the electric guitar for a longer time. I recommend avoiding this practice, however. The excitement that you might be feeling at this stage could leave you sore, irritated, and unable to continue practicing if you don’t organize yourself better. Instead of trying to play the guitar for hours per day you might consider practicing one hour every day in the week. Remember—this is new to you, and your fingers, your body, and your mind need time to adjust.
On the other hand, skipping a day or two and not dedicating at least an hour a day for playing the guitar will slow down your progress. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take a break when you feel like having one, but be responsible about it. At the end, it’s a ‘you get what you give’ thing. Knowing your goals will pace your path to the level you want to be on as an electric guitar player.
How long it will take you to learn electric guitar will also have to do with having patience when learning the correct way of doing some practices. You can certainly play chords and scales with your fingers twisted in some impossible and wrong ways, but that is most definitely wrong. It is very important to know how to properly put and move your fingers over the guitar fretboard and while strumming the strings. This will take some time to get used to, but when you do, it will be much easier for you to learn some more advanced techniques. This is the equivalent of learning the alphabet so that you can later speak and write properly.
The next thing that will make sure you learn to play guitar faster is the level of joy you feel when playing. I’ve said earlier that beginners should go easy on themselves and properly manage their enthusiasm for learning to play. However, this joy should also be taken seriously. As much as you do need discipline and organization for learning the electric guitar you do need to enjoy playing on the instrument as well. So, go and spend that hour a day experimenting on the guitar and having fun.
If you listen to all of the advices that I’ve offered you, you will end up being good in playing the guitar in a couple of years. I don’t want to sound discouraging here, so I will describe what I mean when I say ‘good.’
Remember when I mentioned getting the gist of the playing in the previous lines? Well, being a good player will make that gist turn into decent understanding. You will learn the chords, scales, picking, strumming, improvise, learn to read music, and be decent in practicing a lot of playing techniques. You will also learn to use and play with the many electric elements on the guitar. Also, you’ll become familiar with many equipments that emphasize what these guitars stand for.
Just so you can understand how much you will accomplish in that time frame—multiply each of the things I told you you’ll learn by 40. Do you now see how much you will improve in playing the electric guitar during the course of a few years? At this stage, you will be what I like to call an ‘electric guitar cocoon player.’
This stage is followed by its extension or what I like calling the ‘electric guitar young butterfly’ stage. This stage happens after 3-5 years of being a guitar player. It is the time when you get most comfortable soloing, jamming, and can play almost every song you want to play. Your fingers are very used to the guitar and you are great when using some basic and intermediate playing techniques. Your progress from the ‘electric guitar young butterfly’ stage on will be smooth and a bit faster.
It might seem too far in the future to even be worth mentioning, but trust me—the ‘electric guitar magnificent butterfly’ stage is definitely worth mentioning. By this time, you’ve already spent 10-20 years of playing the electric guitar. Congratulations—you have now mastered many techniques and a lot of what there is to know about the electric guitar.
But this is not all there is. In this stage you’ve also made the guitar a part of yourself. You are now musically advanced and know what a song is all about when you first hear it. You know which strings to play, which chords to use, and you can probably make a remake of it with your own improvisations. However, no matter how much you know at this stage you still have a lot of space for progress. That is the bliss of the infinite potential when learning to play the electric guitar.
A beginner electric guitar player once asked, ‘How long will it take to learn electric guitar?’ The answer to the question took it through all the different stages of becoming better in playing the electric guitar. It also pointed out the factors that influence the time one needs to improve. As it was already said, the beginner will come to be a decent guitar player in a few months and an even better one in a few years. With enough dedication the player will go through some stages while learning how to play the guitar and add new and advanced techniques to his/her guitar skills portfolio at each stage. I hope that this player is you and I wish you a joyful electric guitar journey.