How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

How many years does it take to learn guitar?
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A question that pops up from all beginners, is how many years does it take to learn guitar? Well, that depends on your own aspirations, but there is a general consensus. Today we look at just how much effort it takes to get good at guitar.

How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Guitar? A Pro’s Advice:

Many of my students have asked me about just how many years does it take to learn guitar. The thing is, I rarely have a solid answer for them. Every student is different. There are so many factors that go into playing guitar, that it can be almost impossible to gauge just how long it will take.

And what do you mean by “learn”? This can mean so many things when you think about it! Do you mean how long will it take to be proficient? How long until you are playing on a stage or inside a studio room? Just what do you mean by “learn”? This can be a tough question to answer, for just about any instructor.

How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

Statistics State: If you have a daily practice routine, and a good instructor, many players become “intermediate” within one or two years. The term “intermediate” can be defined as a guitarist that knows how to read music/tablature, basic chords, and basic scales. Intermediate players also know how to use this knowledge, and can perform fluidly. In most cases, by the second year, most guitarists hit the “intermediate” point with regular practice.

So the science says that most people hit the intermediate point after one or two years. I think as an instructor, I can agree with that statement. I can agree with one caveat, and that is regular practice. Most of my students are at the “intermediate level” so I am very familiar. In fact, that’s exactly why students contact me in the first place, they want to move beyond the intermediate level.

Saying that a guitarist is “intermediate” is a pretty broad term, so what does that mean? I think we can break it down, and make it a little bit easier to understand. Many players wonder “where they are” when it comes to learning guitar. In fact, I think that most beginners worry TOO much about their level of playing. I think a player that is intermediate has a few distinctive qualities:

  • They can play/change chords fluidly.
  • Understanding where the notes are on the fretboard.
  • Knowledge of basic major and minor keys.
  • Understanding scale patterns, and how they work.
  • Solid picking technique.

Of course, this can be different depending on the individual. How many years does it take to learn guitar? Well, that is really going to be up to you as a player. Having a set practice routine is really the key to success. You should have a routine, where you have at least 30 minutes a day to practice guitar. This is hard to establish at first, but you start to enjoy it more as you go along.

But with a solid routine, most students end up being highly proficient after just their first year! Usually by the second year, many guitarists have moved on to things like music theory, and other advanced concepts. If you haven’t reached that level yet, that’s completely ok! Everyone learns at a different pace.

How many years does it take to learn guitar?

The Ten Thousand Hour Rule: How True Is This?

“It takes 10,000 to master a talent, instrument, or skill”

If you are researching how many years does it take to learn guitar, then you have probably came across this theory. The 10,000 Hour Rule has been quoted by many instructors, and the saying originates primarily from classical music training. But classical music training, and learning guitar at home are two very different things.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” used Mozart as an example of The 10,000 Hour Rule. In the book, he cites that Mozart started playing when he was 4 years old! But Mozart cultivated his talent over the years, probably building thousands of hours of practice. So is this theory true when it comes to “how many years does it take to learn guitar”?

I think The 10,000 Hour Rule is a pretty good guideline. Do I have 10,000 hours over the last almost 30 years? I am absolutely sure that I have more than 10,000 hours! In fact, if you practice 30 minutes a day, every single day, you will be over 5,000 hours in just one year!

But this is the reality; you will never learn everything about music or guitar. Guitar is ever-evolving, and even if you spent 10 hours a day playing you would need lifetimes to master everything.

How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Guitar? It Is Up To You!

That is the best answer I can give you to “How many years does it take to learn guitar?”. When it comes to learning guitar you will get what you give. You will get as much out of guitar, as you put INTO guitar. I try to play every day, and it can be hard to do this when you have a busy life. But even 15 minutes a day will be better than nothing!

With a good practice routine, most guitarists are ready to start some advanced learning after about two years. You can definitely speed this up with things like ear training, playing to a metronome, and daily practice. Everyone is different, and you may learn faster or slower than the average. But either way, guitar is a life long journey that can provide years of fun and satisfaction!

Additional Resources:

How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

The answer is not so simple. With a good practice regimen, and dedication? Usually one or two years will get you to a proficient level. This is the Intermediate level.

What Makes An Intermediate Guitarist?

When people wonder how many years does it take to learn guitar, they usually mean this level. Intermediate guitarists know note, chords, and scales. They can usually also read music or tablature.


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