The future of music

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

August 29, 2023
How long does it take to learn guitar

Before starting with their guitar lessons, most people ask the burning question: how long does it take to learn guitar? 

Or, can I learn guitar in a month? 

And of course, the answer depends on many things.

But if you want to know what to expect from your guitar-learning journey, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll quickly take you through everything you need to know as a guitar beginner, and then you’ll be much closer to finding your answer.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

The time it takes to learn guitar varies widely depending on your goals, practice quality, and prior musical experience. Beginners can often learn basic chords and simple songs in a few months with consistent practice. Intermediate skills like barre chords or simple solos might take 6-12 months. Advanced techniques and styles can require years of dedicated practice to master.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar? – Table

LevelTime Required30m per day1hr per day2hr per day4hr per daySkill Overview
Starter160 hours11 months160 days80 days40 daysCapable of playing basic songs and melodies, though with some inconsistencies in rhythm and technique.
Elementary320 hours2 years11 months160 days80 daysEnhanced understanding of basics, can play multiple songs, although not flawlessly.
Novice640 hours4 years2 years11 months160 daysAdequate skills in rhythm guitar, can continue self-learning and skill refinement.
Mid-Level1280 hours7 years4 years2 years11 monthsEquipped for more complex tasks like improvising, basic home studio recording, and delving into advanced musical pieces.
Seasoned2560 hours14 years7 years4 years2 yearsBegins to control the musical atmosphere, focusing not just on correct notes but also on tone, dynamics, and feel. A level few attain.
Expertise5120 hours28 years14 years7 years4 yearsSkillful enough to start educating others; highly competent guitarist.
Pro Level10240 hours56 years28 years14 years7 yearsCan teach most skill levels, confident performance in at least one genre. Often considered a master.
Maestro20480 hours112 years56 years28 years14 yearsA virtuoso, globally recognized talent, or guitar phenomenon.
Note: The time estimates are approximations and can vary based on individual dedication, quality of practice, and innate talent.


The question “How much time will it take to learn the guitar” seems to be popular among people who want to learn how to play guitar.

And that’s completely understandable – every guitar student wants to know when they will start to play their favorite songs smoothly and comfortably. Because that’s the moment when you will start to truly enjoy your guitar practice. 

That’s also a moment when everything will start to make more sense. And that’s why learning how to play an instrument is so rewarding.

person playing guitar

But how much time it will take you to learn guitar depends. And it depends primarily on what you mean by “learn the guitar.” 

If you want to learn how to play simple songs on guitar, you don’t have to wait years to achieve your goal. In fact, you can learn the basics relatively quickly. But if you want to reach advanced levels, you’ll have to be patient and persistent.

Either way, you probably want to learn how to play the guitar well. And to accomplish that, you’ll have to keep a couple of things in mind. We’ll come back to that in a minute.

Is Guitar Hard to Learn?

Truth be told, every instrument is challenging to learn. But some instruments are simply easier to pick up if you’re an absolute beginner.

For example, the ukulele is smaller in size and has fewer strings. Moreover, uke strings are softer than guitar strings. That being said, the ukulele is generally easier to learn and play than the guitar.

On the other hand, a stringed instrument like the violin is more complex than a guitar, so it takes more effort to master it.

So, is guitar hard to learn? It depends on what you compare it to.

Generally, guitar students say it’s a bit difficult in the beginning. The guitar looks a bit confusing if you’ve never played it before, and takes time for learners to learn all its parts. 

For example, you need to become familiar with guitar frets, strings, and notes. 

guitar chords

However, there are ways to memorize things more easily. 

For instance, you can use mnemonics to memorize guitar string names. Some of the popular guitar string mnemonic phrases are Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually and Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie.

Another challenge you will come across during your first guitar lessons is chords. You’ll probably start with easy guitar chords such as E minor, A Major, and G Major. These chords are easy to master, but it will take you some time to learn how to play them smoothly.

And if you want to play the chords effortlessly, you’ll have to strum your guitar properly. Strumming means brushing your fingers over the strings.

Many players use a pick to strum a guitar. Using a pick will give you a more consistent tone, and it’s also easier. As you progress, you can also practice guitar with your fingers.

Another thing you’ll have to master to be able to play songs is chord changes. Chord transitions are challenging for beginners because they require thinking ahead. But with enough practice, they will come to you automatically.

And that’s sort of the goal – to do certain things automatically. Developing hand and finger muscle memory takes time, but you’ll get that eventually. 

And trust us – the more you practice, the easier it gets!

man playing guitar outside

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar (On Average) 

Yes, how much you’ll have to spend practicing guitar before getting the results you want depends on many things. And every person progresses at a different rate.

Nevertheless, many guitarists claim that it takes months to learn the basics, and years to become a good guitar player.

So on average, it takes around 2 to 6 months, or somewhere between 100 to 500 practice hours, to learn to play guitar at a beginner level.

In other words, if you practice for two hours a day (every day), it will take 5 months to master the basics.

And we’re talking about basics here – essential chords, strumming patterns, and easy beginner songs. 

During your first 3 months, you will also be getting a feel for rhythm. Rhythm is a crucial part of guitar playing, but it takes time to develop a sense of it. 

electric guitar on top of amplifier

The 3 to 6-month period is when students usually have the ability to move beyond the basic chords. But this is also a time when many people give up. But that probably doesn’t have anything to do with the guitar itself.

On the other hand, this is the period when you will really start to enjoy your practice. Your fingers will get used to the strings, and you’ll have many beginner songs in your repertoire. 

That being said, this is the moment to grow – keep going, and you’ll see amazing results by the end of the year.

So the answer to the popular question “can I learn guitar in one year” is actually simple. The short answer is: yes, you can learn how to play guitar in a year – but with consistent, focused practice.

If you practice guitar on a daily basis for a year, you will surely get visible results. You’ll be able to tackle new songs (that are suitable for your level) with ease, and you’ll be able to learn more complex techniques and elements (like barre chords.) 

And after a couple of years of regular practice, you’ll be able to expand your repertoire with more demanding songs. At this point, the practice will also be easier. After all, practicing guitar will become a habit – and for many people, a craving. 

The thing is, if you’ve been practicing guitar for years, your motivation and passion for music are undeniable. And let us tell you a little secret – it’s all about strong motivation and dedication.

man playing electric guitar

Motivation and Goals 

Everyone starts with their guitar lessons for a reason. But as you progress, it’s easy to get discouraged, especially when things get hard. 

And when you come across a challenging chord or a song, that only means you’re making progress. And remember – everyone feels unmotivated and even frustrated at times. But it’s important to keep reminding yourself why you started with guitar lessons in the first place.

If your motivation and reasons for wanting to gain guitar skills are pure and intrinsic, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.

In other words, if you’re in this for the right reasons, you’ll probably get where you want to be – sooner or later.

Another way to keep your motivation high is to set realistic, short-term goals. That way, you’ll feel more accomplished, and you’ll be able to track your progress more easily.

At the end of the day, you should view your guitar learning as something fun and enjoyable. You shouldn’t rush, and you shouldn’t do something because it’s expected of you. 

And the best way to make your guitar learning process fun and enjoyable is to find a learning program that fits your needs. 

The Best (and Fastest) Way to Learn Guitar 

Luckily, there are so many ways to learn guitar these days. Finding a guitar coach or going to a music school is no longer your only option.

Over the past few years, online learning programs have truly flourished. You can choose from online guitar lessons, guitar learning apps, online 1-on-1 lessons… 

Some platforms even offer lessons taught by famous guitarists! 

Plus, online learning allows you to learn from the comfort of your home and at your own pace. In most cases, you can even choose your own learning material – for instance, you can focus on a genre you like.

playing guitar and piano in bed

Online guitar lessons really have the advantage of being flexible. And that freedom to control your own learning process will ultimately make you feel more motivated to learn.

Consequently, you will be more productive… And then you’ll be able to learn more in a shorter period of time… And there you have it. If you want to learn guitar in a quick and easy way, you need to opt for a suitable learning path. 

You need to find something that works for you.

After all, why not take advantage of all the possibilities for learning? 

Another reason why many people opt for online programs is the price. Hiring a coach can be pricey, and online programs and apps tend to offer reasonable memberships.

Effective Guitar Practice 

It’s pretty clear by now – how long it will take you to learn guitar depends on how much effort you put into it.

But how much should you practice guitar to become good at playing the guitar?

Before getting to the answer, we want to point out that the most important thing here is consistency. 

To practice consistently, you need to establish a practice routine.

Establishing a Practice Routine 

Every learner has their own unique learning habits. So you should set a schedule that fits your learning habits as well as your daily routine.

Ideally, you should practice at least 30 minutes each day. As you progress, you can prolong your sessions and practice for an hour or longer. 

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, split up your practice sessions by having short breaks. 

And how often should you practice guitar?

In short – as often as you can. In any case, it’s better to practice 20 minutes a day than for 3 hours once a week.

girl sitting playing guitar

But it’s not just how much you practice that matters. How you exercise is also important.

That said, make sure your sessions are well-structured. 

For example, start every session with a warm-up. There are many warm-up exercises for you to explore, so find the one that suits you best and incorporate it into your daily practice. 

You can then continue with the new musical concepts or scales. In this part of the practice, you should focus on your technique. You can start by repeating the things you know and moving on to new stuff. 

The next part is probably the most fun – playing the songs. You can start by playing the sections you know and moving on to new parts of the song. 

And that’s how you’ll get to where you want to be – step by step. 

How to Avoid Common Mistakes 

Another thing that will help you achieve your goals in a faster and easier way is to avoid common mistakes.

Of course, every guitar student makes mistakes. Even professional guitar players make mistakes. 

But if you become aware of the most common beginner mistakes beforehand, there’s a high chance you’ll be able to avoid them.

If you manage to avoid these mistakes, your road to success will be less bumpy.

So these are some tips on how to avoid these mistakes and make your guitar practice more efficient:

  • Warm-up first
  • Hold the guitar properly 
  • Practice with a metronome in the beginning
  • Don’t use too much force
  • Don’t skip theory lessons
  • Don’t take big chunks of music at once 
  • Play the songs you love

There you go. Remember these tips and tricks, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great guitarist.

That said, our final tip is to listen to the advice of more experienced guitar players. They’ve already been through all of this, and they certainly learned a thing or two on the way.

Whether it’s your guitar teacher or a friend, ask them about their own experiences. Certainly, what happened to them might not happen to you. Either way, it’s good to hear it. When it comes to guitar playing, some struggles are universal.

guitar sitting in a sofa

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Song on Guitar? 

With regular and effective guitar practice, you will gain the skills necessary for expanding your song repertoire.

As a beginner, you need to stick to easy, beginner guitar songs. But playing songs can also be a way of improving your technique.

So although you need to choose songs suitable for your level, you can also opt for songs that are slightly above your level. This way, you will be able to learn new things and make progress.

How much you challenge yourself also affects the time you’ll need to gain guitar skills.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t make your practice too challenging – if a specific song is too advanced for you, you will end up feeling frustrated and discouraged.

Therefore, it’s important to pick the right songs to play.

But how much time will it take for you to learn a new song?

Well, intermediate and advanced guitarists can learn simple songs within days. But complicated songs can take weeks to master.

But let’s focus on beginners and easy songs. In that case, it can take you anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. 

If the song contains basic chords, a slow tempo, and easy strumming patterns, you’ll probably get a hang of it very quickly. So, it depends on the song as well as your previous experience. 

The Fastest Way to Learn Songs on Guitar 

If you want to be able to learn new songs quickly and efficiently, you need to approach them in the right way. 

First, you need to find an accurate guitar tab, sheet music, or a video tutorial.

Regardless of what your learning source is, you should take a step-by-step approach to learning songs. The best way to do this is to divide songs into chunks.

Furthermore, don’t play the whole song over and over. Focus on the parts that you don’t feel comfortable with and stick to them. 

man playing acoustic guitar

So, let’s summarize – to learn new songs on guitar quickly, follow these steps:

1. Pick the right song

2. Find accurate tabs

3. Take it step by step

4. Work on your weak spots 

The Key to Success 

Guitar learning is a slow and sometimes difficult journey. But it’s also a rewarding one.

Whether you’re going to learn a new song in a week or in a month depends primarily on your dedication. 

Consistency and effective practice are also essential. 

As well as your focus and concentration. 

Finally, you need to find the right learning source. Without an experienced teacher or a well-structured learning program, you might feel lost or overwhelmed. As a beginner, having clear guidance is very important. 

And one of the things that a good teacher or a platform will encourage you to practice is patience. In guitar learning, it’s better to take it slowly and really master the fundamentals first. 

In other words, go slow to go fast. 

But you also need to have fun along the way. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to play the songs you love. So once you master the basics, pick a genre and style you like.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Once you gain some skills, challenge yourself with new playing styles and genres. You might even surprise yourself…

The thing is, as a guitar learner, you will never stop learning. There’s always something new to discover.

Final Thoughts 

All things considered, learning how to play the guitar well is a long process. There are many things for you to learn and understand, and it can get overwhelming at times.

But as long as you’re dedicated, focused, and motivated, you can do anything.

And the more you practice, the easier it gets.

So, write down your goals, establish a practice routine, and most importantly, enjoy the process! 


How long does it take to learn guitar chords?

Learning basic open guitar chords typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months with consistent daily practice. The timeline can vary depending on factors like the quality of practice and prior musical experience. Mastering more complex chords like barre chords may take additional time, often ranging from a few months to a year.

How long does it take to learn the guitar for beginners?

For beginners, learning basic guitar skills like simple chords and strumming patterns can take a few months with consistent, focused practice. Progress to intermediate skills such as barre chords or basic soloing could take around 6-12 months. The timeline can vary based on individual commitment, quality of practice, and previous musical experience.

How long does it take to learn guitar on your own?

Learning guitar on your own can vary widely in duration depending on your goals, dedication, and the quality of your self-guided practice. Basic skills like open chords and simple songs could be acquired in a few months, while intermediate to advanced techniques may take years to master. Utilizing online resources, tutorials, and consistent, focused practice can expedite the learning process.

How long does it take to learn acoustic guitar?

Learning acoustic guitar can take a few months for mastering basic skills like open chords and strumming patterns, with consistent daily practice. Intermediate skills, including barre chords and fingerpicking, may require an additional 6-12 months. The timeline can vary depending on individual commitment, the quality of practice, and any prior musical experience.

How long does it take to learn guitar theory?

The time required to learn guitar theory can vary significantly based on your goals and the depth of knowledge you seek. Basic theory concepts like scales, chord construction, and key signatures can generally be grasped in a few months with consistent study. For a more comprehensive understanding, including advanced topics like modal theory or chord substitutions, expect to invest a year or more.

You may also like: Best online guitar lessons

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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