How Long Does it Take To Learn Guitar in 2022?

Like anything in life that is worth something, normally an investment in time is required. Learning to play the guitar is one of those things. Many people who set out to learn usually give up too soon. This is normally a result of not having a plan or goals set in order to improve.

So, how long does it take to learn guitar?

With a dedicated schedule of hard work, you can expect to be playing songs for beginners in 2-3 months. Between months 3-6 you should be playing more slightly more technical guitar parts and somewhat more advanced songs.

5000 hours is where most are considered “expert” players. But the truth is, you never really stop learning, as the instrument is very broad. And so when a person decides to begin playing the guitar, it’s very important to have a plan with goals. Without the proper milestones set in place, learning guitar can become confusing.

In this article, we are going to look at how to set yourself up for success!

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar?

On average, it will take you 6-8 months or 100 hours to get to a point that you can confidently play easier 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.

This chart reflects the stages of learning guitar and what you will experience as you progress. Starting out usually requires a few hours to figure out how to get started, 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!

LevelDaily RehearsalDays Per WeekRealistic Commitment
Research Phase2 Hrs52 – 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.

Guitar 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 and successes as you work through a rough timeline.

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

Guitar Progress Timeline
  • 1-3 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.
  • 3-6 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.
  • 6-8 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.
  • 8-12 Months: After 8 months 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.
  • 1-2 Years : With one year of play time, an intermediate player will have good rhythm capabilities and will know enough theory to have memorized some scales. Early soloing skills will begin to form around this time. Difficult songs are becoming easier to play. You are becoming an intermediate player and should have more advanced learning plans.
  • Advanced Intermediate: After 2 plus years, you have become a very good player with some great skill. But you still marvel at how some people are so smooth and are so quick, almost without thinking. You are not there yet, but you are on your way!

Obviously, your plan should look similar to ours with the difference of play time and scheduling. If you noticed, we broke it up into segments.

This is because we believe in setting goals and reaching milestones, and you should too. But this is a skill that also needs to be learned.

Once it is, however, it will greatly help you with almost anything when it comes to learning guitar. In order to truly become a master, you will need nearly 10,000 hours of play time.

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. 

Think about it. This is different for everyone and is something you really should consider.

  • Maybe you are simply 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, which 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.

Let’s look at an example beginner.

Meet 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.

Set Your First Short Term Goals

Now with Scott, his goals will be quite similar to most people because these are what most people set. 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:

  • Play at least one hour daily for 6 weeks.
  • Research and select a favorite song that has easy parts to learn
  • Select and work on your first chords.
  • See considerable progress with chords in 4 weeks.

So while these are some basic goals, you can see that this can determine how long it will take a person to learn to play the guitar. 

How?

Well, let’s break it down and create a schedule.

Guitarist

Make a Schedule

Scott has recognized that he can afford 2 hours per day, but knows that sometimes maybe only one hour is 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 just pick up the guitar here and there, maybe 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 Practice Material

A bit of research will be required 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 and better at the song parts.

But this will take some research because 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, you just need to figure out what they are.

Thanks to the internet, this is very easy as there are many players who have documented this somewhere online.

Person Playing Guitar

How To Get Started

Once you have found the material or song you want to start with, it’s time to learn them. There are some great chord charts available all over the internet as well, which can be helpful.

This can help you to learn which fingers are used and on which strings for the chords. Then it’s just a matter of practicing them to get your mind, fingers and strumming on the same page.

For the first few months, you are going to just work on the chords for a simple song and slowly put them together.  Eventually you will begin to get it and the song you selected will come together. This is where your motivation will kick in and keep pushing you forward.

But stick to your goals, if you try and add more to this you will become overwhelmed. Just keep working on the one goal until you get it. Then once you feel pretty comfortable with the chords. Reassess your goals.

Don’t compare yourself to others either, you will get there if you work at it!

How Long To Learn Guitar

The First 4 Months

Investing 4 hours per week will have earned you 64 hours at the end of 4 months.

The first 4 months will consist of many learning curves. Not only do you want to begin practicing your chords and sticking to your goals, you 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, your biggest hurdle will be getting comfortable with the instrument. Some bad habits can be formed at this point that you want to be aware of, depending on your guitar and the hand you strum with.

Learn To Hold The Guitar

With your guitar in your lap, make sure to stabilize your instrument with your strumming arm without putting all your weight onto the instrument. You don’t want to hunch over it. The size needs to be right for you.

If it’s an acoustic guitar, you should have your arm on top of it. However, if it’s an electric, 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.

The idea here is to keep the instrument vertical while allowing your strumming arm to feel comfortable and free to strum while still supporting the guitar.

If at any point your fretting hand becomes in charge of supporting the guitar, you need to readjust.

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 normally be on your fretting hand, the strumming arm will struggle to get the feel for the strings.

This is a normal progression with 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 just keep practicing this.

Improvements After 4 Months

Your outcome at the end of four 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 4-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 added to original list
  • Chords are memorized
  • Can play song parts with fewer pauses between chords
Girl Learning Guitar

The First 8 Months

So by the 4-month mark, things will look a lot different! Now, you have reached some goals, made new ones and reached them as well.

The guitar feels more comfortable and is becoming fun and exciting as you can now play songs. The fret board doesn’t feel quite as intimidating and is starting to make sense.

One thing to make sure you keep is your schedule. From here on, picking up the guitar to play is very important.

You are at a place where the next big leap in progress will make a big, substantial impact in your abilities. Your plan for the next few months should be to keep working on chords while considering scales.

Learning Scales

Somewhere between the 6 and 8 month mark, it should be time to look into scales. While chords can put together some of your favorite songs, there will be lead parts that you will want to play.

If one day you decide to write your own music, then scales and lead guitar parts will be necessary.

Not only will learning scales be important to the music you play, but it will also improve your fretting accuracy and speed.

Chords will be a piece of cake once you begin learning scales and working your way up and down the fret board.

Improvements After 8 Months

Now things are getting fun!

At this point, chords are becoming much easier and the harder ones seem obtainable!

You’re slowly learning scales and getting faster on the fret board. You might even have started to write your own song or parts of a song!

A few things to keep in mind however:

  • Continue to keep up with your regular schedule
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with new things to learn, keep your goals and focus
  • Continue to set new goals and reach them

It’s very easy to get ahead of yourself when things are starting to come together. Make sure to set goals and stick to them! You don’t want to take on too much at one time!

Guitar and Amplifier

The First Year Learning The Guitar

Before you know it, a year will have passed and, if you kept to your schedule, your playing skills will have come a long way.

One year of practicing the guitar to a consistent schedule will net some great rewards!

And if you have been practicing with an online course, you will have learned some great scales and solos.

Keep Learning

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.

Throughout year two and into year 3, you will watch your skill level go from an intermediate guitar player to more advanced. Your goal setting skills are now honed in and your new lifelong skill 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 great hobby. If you ask anyone who has learned the guitar, they will all tell you of their first few months, as they are unforgettable.

The struggle is real, but watch them play, and 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

If you still have questions, you may find more great answers below to help you along.

Is it Hard to Learn Guitar?

While 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 with creating goals and working hard at it, you will go very far.

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

How quickly can you learn the guitar?

After 4 months, you should be able to play some basic songs and chords. It will be at this point that you should feel comfortable enough to perform around other people. But remember, this all depends on your play schedule.

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 obtain.

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.

Can you learn guitar in a year?

Yes, after one year of learning guitar, you should be able to confidently play songs and have a good understanding of chords and notes. It’s at this point that you will reach a plateau, as you have learned most of the basics.

From this point on, you will need to choose to continue to build skill in each of the things you have learned. Just remember to set goals as you work on advanced techniques.

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

This is a tough question, as there is a long 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 real basic solos!

When learning how to solo, there are a lot of things to understand first. Scales, tabs and technique 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!