Learning the Guitar From Scratch – How Long Does It Take?

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How Long Does It Take on Average to Learn the Guitar – Learning Guitar From Scratch

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to playing the guitar is that on average, how long does it take to learn the guitar? We decided to ask some of our professional guitarists as well as some renowned guitar teachers the same question, and it turns out, the answer isn’t quite simple.

Instead, it depends on where you’re starting from. If you’re looking for how long it takes to learn guitar from scratch, the answer will be anywhere between 1-2 months all the way to 20 years! The main factor at play here is what you mean by ‘learning to play the guitar.’

If you simply want to learn how to fingerpick basic melodies and copy them, you’re looking at a time period of 1-2 months. However, if you want to be able to sing and play any song on cue, you might have to spend around 5-6 years.

How Long Does It Take on Average to Learn the Guitar?

Here is a quick table to help those of you who are in a hurry:

Time Frame Level
1-2 months You’ll be able to fingerpick melodies and strum basic chords. You’ll also start developing calluses at this point. Your fingers will hurt, and if you’re learning the guitar as an adult, your partner might not appreciate those calluses (yes, this happened to quite a few of us).
3-6 months You’ll have a better grip on technical elements such as pull-offs, hammer-ons, and more. The calluses will start blending in with the skin. They’ll still be visible, and your partner might still bug you about them from time to time.
6-12 months You’ll be able to play intermediate songs, riffs, blues and a little bit of rock as well. String jumping will come to you naturally. By this point, the calluses will have blended into your fingers. You’ll also be able to take on lead roles in learners’ clubs.
1-2 years You’ll be able to learn newer songs pretty quickly. A few listens and you’ll be able to replicate songs and perhaps sing along as well. This is the point where people usually make those covers you find online to songs.
2-3 years If you practice regularly, you might be able to play all the songs you listen to, and so will need something new at this point. This is when people quit, knowing they have ‘mastered’ they guitar. If you start improvising, you will find your love for the guitar return.
5-6 years This is when you become an advanced guitarist. You’ll be able to play what you want, when you want, and how you want. At this point your guitar collection will also start to grow. Having 2 or 3 guitars won’t be enough. Furthermore, you will also start experimenting with more strings, multi-neck guitars or even harp guitars, if you’re feeling ambitious.
6-10 years Continuing to play, you’ll be on your way to greatness. However, at this point you will realize that there is much you don’t know yet about the world of guitars. You’ll want to learn more, and your guitar collection will grow even more.
10-20 years You’ll be a renowned guitarist at this point and will be playing to entertain others. You might even have a few albums of your own, or be a guitarist for a famous band.
20+ years By this point, you’ll have more guitars than you’d like to count, but will only use 3 or 4 of your favorites. You’ll have a fan base of your own as you move towards becoming one of the legends.


Learning the Guitar From Scratch – How to Go About It?

When learning the guitar from scratch, people often think that it’s more about how long and frequently they practice. The more they practice, the quicker they’ll learn. However, that isn’t entirely true.

The above timeline is for those of you who practice no more than 2-3 hours a day, with breaks. However, even then you might not be able to learn properly. You should practice the right technique as well, especially if you’re planning to make a profession out of it.

People often think learning from YouTube videos is a good way to start. Yes, while there is a plethora of different YouTube videos out there, each trying to explain the guitar in their own way, these lessons aren’t tailored to you, and can therefore result in you practicing the right chords, the wrong way.

If you’re learning the guitar from scratch, you need to worry about more than just how many hours you put in. Technique is what matters most. Yes, you can mimic other people’s techniques, but you simply can’t beat the power of your own technique. If you’re a lefty, don’t try to play the guitar with the right hand just because someone on YouTube said playing with the left is hard, or because your favorite guitarist plays with their right hand.

Instead, develop your own technique and make the most out of it. One sure-fire way of doing that is by hiring a tutor. Remember, there is nothing wrong with a little help, so long as it gets you where you want to go quickly and properly.

Even the greats, such as Rodrigo y Gabriela used to have teachers. Moving on from the guitar-world, legends such as Beethoven and Mozart also took help from tutors to help them be the proficient masters they are known as today.

Guitar Tricks has a number of tutors, courses and more that can help you learn not only when in class but on the go as well. With its app, you get over 700 courses and get to learn over 1,000 songs, all from your phone!

Furthermore, the interactive lessons are tailored to your needs and your playstyle, meaning they don’t just force a new technique on you, but improve upon your own instead! When asked about how long it takes on average to learn guitar from them, the answer varied depending only on the dedication of students.

So, if you’re dedicated to becoming the next legendary popstar of your time, give them a call and you’ll be well on your way!

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.