How Long Does it Take To Learn Guitar?

An investment in time is required with anything in life that is worth something. Learning to play the guitar is one of those things. Many people who set out to learn usually give up too soon for certain reasons. But this is normally a result of not having a plan or goals set to improve.

So, how long does it take to learn guitar?

With a dedicated schedule of 30 minutes per day, you can expect to be playing beginner guitar songs in 2 to 3 months. Songs and techniques that are more difficult will need 6 to 8 months. This is to confidently play without many mistakes.

In this article, we are going to look at how to set yourself up for success. And what to realistically expect as you go through the first year!

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar?

On average, it will take 6 to 8 months to comfortably play intermediate guitar songs. This is with a time investment of 3 hours per week, which should be quite easy for most people to commit to.

To give you an example of what you can expect, we have created a rough progress chart below. This chart reflects the stages of learning and what you will experience as you progress. Getting started usually requires a few hours to plan also, so make sure to give yourself time for this.

You will need time to set your goals and do research. Make sure this is included in your plan. It isn’t just about practicing scales. You will need a guitar and materials to work on, and this will take some time to sort out as well!

LevelDaily RehearsalDays Per WeekRealistic Commitment
Research Phase1 Hr22 – 3 Weeks
Beginner30 Mins4 – 66 – 8 Months
Advanced Beginner1 Hr56 – 8 Months
Intermediate2 hrs5 – 61 Year
Advanced Intermediate2 hrs5 – 71 – 2 Years

The chart is broken down into levels and the time investment required to reach the next level. This is what it normally takes to learn guitar for most people. You can do this by yourself or with a guitar teacher, and having instruction will save time on research.

Find out if guitar is easy to learn here!

Guitar Learning Progress Timeline

As you can see from the chart above, learning guitar requires a bit of a time commitment. While it’s one of the easier instruments to learn, it still requires work. Each stage will present new difficulties as you work through a rough timeline.

Each stage will also require you to learn advanced techniques. This is what to expect as you move from beginner to a more advanced level.

Guitar Progress Timeline

What To Expect

There are certain things that you can expect every time you start a new level. Here is a breakdown of the things you can expect as you progress.

  1. 1 to 3 Months: Your biggest challenge at first will be sore fingers. This will determine how many days you can play during the week and how much time each session. As you begin to form calluses, your fingers will begin to strengthen.
  2. 3 to 6 Months: Around this time, you should have a few chords memorized. The biggest challenge is switching between them quickly. More play time may be possible as your fingers are less sore. By the 6th month, chords are becoming easier and more accurate. You should have learned some song parts and are comfortable with the guitar.
  3. 6 to 8 Months: You will be playing a few songs and are getting more accurate with chord progressions. Your fingers are getting stronger and the fretboard notes are becoming more familiar. If you are still playing and haven’t lost interest yet, you will do well moving into the next phase.
  4. 8 to 12 Months: In the last quarter of the first year of learning guitar, things are becoming fun! You are able to perform more complex techniques and play songs. Between 8 and 12 months, however, things will seem to plateau. You have had so many new things to learn that the rewards were more frequent. But between this point, you will notice them slow down.

Once you have completed the first year, this is what you can expect. After this, you can set your goals on more complex techniques and songs.

Find out the benefits of learning to play guitar here!

Why Do You Want To Learn To Play The Guitar?

So take a second and think about what it is that is motivating you to learn the guitar. Most players know exactly why it is they want to play. 

This is different for everyone and is something you really should consider. Then you can set realistic goals.

  • Maybe you are looking for a new hobby?
  • You have an artist that you love and want to play like them?
  • You want to start a band?
  • Perhaps it’s to become a professional musician?

Now let’s explore this reason, this will help you figure out what some of your goals should be. Having them will help measure your level of progress. This in turn will keep you motivated to continue.

It will also set a road map and the amount of time it will take you to reach your main goal. We will explore that shortly.

Example Case Study

Let’s look at an example of a beginner who we will call Scott.

Scott wants to learn the guitar because he wants to pick up a new hobby and play a few songs from his favorite artists. He has a couple of hours to spend learning to play the guitar each day. Most of the songs he wants to work on are pretty basic and consist of some simple chords. But there is one song with a solo he loves and would like to learn to play over time.

Now for Scott, his goals will be quite similar to most people because these are what beginners focus on. Only you can really determine your goals and what you will need to see as you progress.

But In Scott’s case, some of his goals might be:

  1. Play at least one hour daily for 6 weeks.
  2. Research and select a song that has easy parts to learn
  3. Work on your first chords.
  4. See considerable progress with chords in 4 weeks.

You can see that this will determine how long it will take a person to learn to play the guitar. Let’s break it down and create an example schedule.

Guitarist

How To Get Started

So now that you know what kind of time is needed, you may be wondering how to get started. There are 3 things to consider before even picking up the guitar. They will help you to get started on the right plan.

Make a Schedule

Scott has recognized that he can afford 2 hours per day. But knows that sometimes only half of that will be possible. This will have a huge impact on how long it will take him to learn to play the guitar.

So he has made sure to make this a goal. Making sure to devote the time to playing is probably the biggest goal on the list! If you sporadically pick up the guitar here and there, a couple of times per week, it’s going to take a lot longer to learn. And chances are, you will not reach any of the other goals if you continue to play at all.

Find Learning Materials

A bit of research will be needed to figure out what you want to play. For some people that want to learn on their own, this is more possible than ever!

Finding one of your favorite songs is the best way to start because you will enjoy learning. Every advancement you make will motivate you to keep going as you get better at the song parts. But this will take some research. You will need to start with a song that is a bit easier and consists of some basic chords.

Every artist has a song like this that is easy for beginners, you just need to figure out what they are. Thanks to the internet, this is very easy! There are many players who have documented this somewhere online.

We have a great article about easy chords for beginners, click here!

Consider Guitar Lessons

Another thing most players ask about is guitar lessons. The internet has made most things much easier for sure. But there are still some benefits to guitar lessons. A beginner can put together a plan and learn the guitar on their own. The benefit a teacher brings however is years of experience.

This experience can set a beginner up to learn faster. It also provides the added benefit of asking questions directly. You also have an instructor to assess your skills and offer suggestions.

If you are able, take lessons for a short period just to see if it could work for you. It’s not a bad idea at all, and we encourage it. We have an article that goes into more detail about the value of guitar lessons here!

How Long To Learn Guitar

Tips for The First 3 Months

Investing 4 hours per week will have earned you 48 hours at the end of 3 months.

The first 3 months will consist of many learning curves. You want to begin practicing your chords and sticking to your goals. But you also need to figure out the guitar itself! Learning how to hold it and tune it are also things you will need to know and will come with time.

In the first month, the biggest hurdle is getting comfortable with the instrument. Some bad habits can be formed at this point that you want to be aware of. Here are a few suggestions on things to work on and pay close attention to.

Learn To Hold The Guitar

With your guitar in your lap, make sure to stabilize your instrument with your strumming arm. But don’t put all your weight onto the instrument. You don’t want to hunch over it. Also, make sure the size is right for you.

If it’s an acoustic guitar, you should have your arm on top of it. However, if it’s an electric guitar, your arm should rest on the front of the instrument tucked into your body. Sit upright and keep the instrument from leaning back towards you.

Keep the instrument vertical while allowing your strumming arm to remain comfortable. It must also be free to strum and not hindered. If at any point your fretting hand is in charge of supporting the guitar, you need to re-adjust.

Strumming

As you work on chords, there are a number of things that will begin to develop. Strumming will be a struggle as you get used to the rhythm of plucking the right strings. Because your eyes will be on your fretting hand, the strumming arm will struggle to get the feel for the strings.

This is a normal progression for anyone who begins playing the guitar. Just keep at it. While it will feel frustrating at times that you are not hitting the right strings, you will get it! Don’t let it get to you.

This arm will have to learn by feel and not sight. Guitar players normally do not look at their strumming hand, so keep practicing this.

Girl Learning Guitar

Learn to Tune the Guitar

Another very important thing to practice is tuning the guitar. If your strings are not in tune, the quality of sound will be poor. This in itself will have a direct impact on how you feel about practicing. Invest in a good tuner and learn how to use it. Make sure to tune the guitar every time you play it.

What to Expect After 3 Months

Your outcome at the end of three months will depend on the amount of time played. If you were able to stick to your plan, then that’s a success on its own! Look for your milestones here and reassess your goals.

If you stuck to your plan then your goals should be very close if not totally obtained. The fact that you made it to the 3-month mark and didn’t quit is the goal you should have been hoping to obtain! Many people will not make it to this point and will have sold off their guitars by now.

If you were able to play at least 3-4 hours per week, you should see:

  • Fingertips no longer hurt
  • Holding the guitar is easier and more natural
  • Improved strumming
  • Chosen chords have becoming easier
  • Chords are memorized
  • Can play song parts with fewer pauses between chords

Is It Possible To Learn faster?

Learning to play the guitar is a marathon and not a sprint. There are going to be things that your body needs to adjust to in order to get better. But it’s also possible to learn how to play much faster than the average person.

If you are able to devote a lot of time to practice and have some money to take lessons. Then you can do better than the DIY approach, for sure. I suggest that you invest in a good quality guitar. Find a teacher with a good reputation, and commit to an hour per day to practice.

If possible, put in even more than one hour every day. And find the right teacher. Then you can learn to play the guitar much faster. But you must stay committed to the process and not lose your focus. You must be intense about learning and push through the finger pain for a few weeks.

As you start to see improvements, talk to your instructor about your progress. Find out if adding more lessons each week would help you get farther faster. Not everyone has this kind of discipline, so consider if this is realistic for you. If not, then stick to a plan that you can handle without burning out.

Guitar and Amplifier

Conclusion

Your time investment at this point is well worth it. You know exactly how to progress as a guitar player as you go into the next year.

Between years two and 3, you will watch your skill level increase. It will go from an intermediate guitar player to a more advanced one. Your goal-setting skills are now honed. This new talent will entertain not only you, but many people.

We don’t know what your goals are for wanting to learn guitar, but it’s an amazing skill and a great hobby. If you ask anyone who has learned the guitar, they will all tell you of their first few months. This is because they are unforgettable.

The struggle is real, but watch them play the guitar. You will see the heart and soul expressed through their passion. Playing the guitar really can be life-changing, and who knows where it might take you!

FAQs

Is it Hard to Learn Guitar?

While the guitar is normally called an easier instrument to learn, it does require some time and work. It’s hard, by no means is it easy like some instruments. But there are harder ones, for sure.

The length of time it requires to learn the guitar all depends on how much you work at it. If you have a solid plan, you will progress faster. But if you start off by creating goals and working hard at them, you will go very far.

So if you are going to learn this instrument, you will want to take it seriously. This way, you will end up reaching your goals while becoming the player you always wanted to be!

Can I learn guitar in 2 months?

It’s possible to learn how to play in 2 months. Devoting time to playing, and access to a good course can really help speed up learning. But keep your expectations low, as you will not be playing solos after 2 months. 

Playing guitar is a journey. It’s something you begin, knowing that it will require time and patience to get.

And so I would recommend giving yourself at least 4 months to see some real results. Any sooner and you will just be frustrating yourself, which will only lead to quitting too soon.

How long does it take to learn to solo on the guitar?

This is a tough question, as there is a lot of technique that is needed even to play the simplest of leads. Learning to solo is high on the list of why a person wants to learn guitar. We all have a favorite guitar hero who can shred!

But getting to this point comes down to how badly you want to learn to do it! While we looked at a timeline that can give you an idea of how long it will take to learn guitar, you can speed it up. If you can do more practice and find a good guitar teacher, you can get there faster.

By yourself, you can learn to play basic solos in 8-12 months on a regular practice routine. If you push harder, you can probably do it in 6-8 months. But these are really basic solos!

When learning how to solo, there are a lot of things to understand first. Scales, tabs, and techniques are needed just to get started. When you get a good grasp on these 3 things, you can begin to learn to play solos.

Photo of author

Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!