How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar

May 8, 2024
min read

Anybody who picks up the guitar wants to know how long does it take to learn guitar or how much guitar can be learned in a few months or a year. 

Let us walk you through the journey of guitar learning, where we will not only specify the span it will take you on average to become proficient but also address other concerns you might have.



First and foremost, we will begin by clarifying that there is no defined answer to how long it takes to learn guitar. This is because several different factors contribute to one’s learning time.
For example, when you ask “How long does it take to learn guitar” do mean to strum songs like Taylor Swift Or shred like Eddie Van Halen? Do you mean to play other people’s songs or also understand music? How much time will you practice? Will you practice consistently? Also, the quality of what and how you practice greatly affects your outcome and how long it takes to learn.

This all being said, I will try to break this down for someone just beginning, who wants to play songs and who is practicing 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week.
In my system, people can learn to strum simple songs on the guitar within a few weeks of learning. While it’s quite common for average learners to take months or in some cases years to reach a similar level.
Please understand there are RULES for how the brain learns and how the body develops coordination. If you learn things out of order, practice incorrectly, etc etc. It will take you longer than it otherwise could.
Guitar learning is not only about acquiring technical skills like adjusting chords and strings to produce sounds or play songs, but this learning experience is much more. It’s about doing something you love, overcoming the odds & learning how to express yourself through music. So even if it takes you a bit longer – remember to just have fun!

It goes without saying, but learners who are more dedicated and who practice more get better faster than those who make excuses or are inconsistent with their practice. Keep in mind that building neural connections, speed, coordination, and rhythm skills don’t happen overnight. Still, if you are practicing correctly, you should be seeing noticeable improvements on a monthly basis.


Guitar Playing And Progress Tracking

This is an average breakdown of my experience with in-person students and members of the Guitar GPS Method.


Player Status Time Required Skills Acquired
Newbie 1-2 months Play simple guitar songs (changing between playing open chords, strumming patterns, tapping foot, simple riffs, and basic music theory)
Beginner 3-6 months Playing more difficult guitar songs with more complicated rhythms & strumming, learning more technical riffs, learning simple arpeggios, and building speed to fluently play guitar at 120bpm
Early intermediate 1 year Continuing to learn more difficult songs. Ability to learn simple solos, riffs, and/or strum patterns by ear. Around this time, you will get a hang of barre chords
Intermediate (mid) 2 years Learning more difficult songs and solos, starting to understand the fretboard as well as properly executing lead guitar techniques such as bends, vibratos, hammer ons, pull offs, and slides
Intermediate (Late) 2-3 years Developing a firm grasp of music theory, fretboard knowledge, how chords and scales relate. Improving improvisation skills and ability to learn more difficult music by ear
Advanced level 5-6 years You can play anything you want. You can play in any key all over the fretboard in and out of the box position. You’ll be able to shred around 600+ notes per minute in a variety of contexts. You will also be developing your own personal style at this point
Highly Advanced 10 years This is where you’re getting pretty damn good. You’ve got your own style, your understanding of guitar, theory, composition is still developing but it’s all coming together
Virtuoso 20+ years This is where you may be able to play over 1,000 notes per minute (if shredding is your thing), have a vast knowledge of theory, and have developed and integrated all your musical skills


Factors Determining Learning To Play Guitar


man taking notes while playing the guitar

Frequency of Practice Sessions

The first important factor that will impact your guitar learning journey is practice. Practice is crucial for learning any new skill, whether playing guitar or something else. To speed up your learning journey, you must practice daily and take this learning seriously, not as a hobby, where you can continue learning whenever you are in the mood.
This is like going to the gym. Those who get in shape make fitness a part of their life. They don’t exercise when they feel like it. It’s what you do. It’s part of who you are.
Practicing your acoustic or electric guitar daily is much better and more effective for learning the instrument quickly than practicing once or twice a week for hours. The compound effect of daily practice is tremendous.

To see noticeable results you need to be practicing a minimum of 3 days per week for 30min.

If you can’t commit to consistent practice, guitar is either not for you (because if it was you’d suck it up and make time), or maybe you need to get strategic so you can find a way to fit practicing guitar into your schedule.

Being consistent in your practice of the instrument is the key here to improving and refining your skills. The only way you will be able to learn how to strum basic chords, master guitar scales, play songs, or solo like you dream is with consistent practice.


How much weekly Practice?

1-2 days of practice per week (guitar isn’t for you)
3-5 days of practice 20-30min – you’ll make steady progress
5-7 days of practice 20-30min – you’ll progress quickly
5-7 days of practice at 60min – People will think you are a prodigy (if you are practicing the right things in the right way)

Note: Don’t wait until you “have time to practice” because something will always come up. You need to make time. This all being said, there will always be ups and downs.

Sometimes, you’ll be able to practice a lot, some a little, and sometimes hardly. The biggest secret to those who actually learn is – they just stick with it.
Having a thought-out practice schedule that you can follow makes learning the guitar hassle-free and less chaotic. Also, the chances for you to get confused, lost with what to practice next, and frustrated due to slow practice are lower with a great practice routine.


instructor showing his student how to plan the correct chord on a guitar


Next, the sort of instruction or the learning method you choose to progress with will also determine the span it will take you to learn guitar. For example, you can self-teach yourself the guitar by watching online videos or instead choose to learn the guitar from an expert and experienced instructor. Learning online for free may seem great at first, but just know there is always a cost and in this case, the cost is your time to sift through all the B.S. and trial and error.
Deciding how you want to learn the guitar is a personal preference and will vary from person to person. A good in-person guitar teacher who knows how to teach beginner guitar learners and can provide personalized feedback while problem-solving any issue that is faced during learning can help you progress faster.
On the other hand, if you learn guitar with the assistance of organized and orderly online guitar lessons, that too can contribute to you developing the skill efficiently with the advantage of learning at your own pace and availability.
Keep in mind that the mode of instruction, in-person or online video lessons, does not matter much, but the way the instructor guides you matters more. You can pay hundreds of bucks to an in-person instructor who does not know how to teach while learning the same skill online from an experienced instructor.

Natural Talent

When it comes to learning how to play guitar, there is always the discussion of natural talent. Natural talent means you have an inherent skill you did nothing to obtain. In the 11,000+ hrs of in-person teaching experience, I have NEVER witnessed such a thing.

I have found that those who progress and progress quickly do certain things while those who struggle to learn do other things, and thus, they reap what they sow. Yes, some people seem to learn guitar more easily than others (I wasn’t one of these), but there is ALWAYS a reason for this, and those reasons can be discovered and exploited to your benefit.

guitar gps method online guitar lessons for all levels

The Ultimate Gamified Solution For Learning Guitar

The Guitar GPS Method is an online guitar academy that has transformed how the guitar is learned with its holistic method & gamified system. Learning progresses through a leveled system of courses that build their skills, knowledge, and musical creativity all while keeping the learning focused on what to practice next.
As you progress, you get points for developing your various skills, and thus, you always know how everything is coming together on your dashboards. This keeps guitar practice fun and fresh as your tasks change as you get better, and you, of course, can ask questions or get feedback should you ever get stuck.

So, what’re you waiting for? Join the waitlist now.


courses available at guitar gps method

The training method is based on building the students, skills, knowledge, and creativity. But that’s not all. They have a unique way of teaching songs that makes learning full songs easy; you get to learn how to improvise all over the neck, shred, solo, build a foundation, fix the holes and gaps, learn by ear, understand the theory you name it and, most importantly, not get bored or lack motivation but have fun every step of the way.

The guitar GPS method recognizes every student’s unique abilities. Some may have the skills to move their fingers but lack aural skills and rhythm. Others may have skills but not understand how to use them, or may be totally clueless and want a simple method that can take them from zero to playing how they’ve always dreamed.

One of the most unique aspects of the academy is the onboarding process, in which the student tests in a few key areas. This way, they can get on the right track for what they need to do to see quick results. Not only that, often intermediate players have a lot of bad habits they aren’t even aware of, and by simply going through the foundational courses all these bad habits and holes are uncovered and fixed.


Why Guitar GPS Method Is More Helpful Than Other Online Platforms

Guitar GPS method is more helpful than other online platforms that you may come across because it is the result of 15 years of testing and 11,000 hrs of in-person teaching experience.
It was originally designed to help students practice correctly at home through videos, play-along tracks, and proceed through micro-steps, called “MISSIONS.” The goal was to guide the students every practice session so they knew what to practice, what the target was, and how well they should know it before moving on.

Provides Clear Instructions For How To Play Guitar

The Guitar GPS Method will teach you the guitar by providing clear instructions for exactly what and how to practice every step of the way. Often, the learning progress is slow and frustrating because the student learns concepts out of order, gets confused, or learns only a particular skill while ignoring other critical skills.
However, through their videos and by continuously guiding students with guidelines, the academy makes sure that their learners remain on the right path and avoid missing out on steps that could cause them to lag and delay the time taken to learn guitar.

No Overwhelming Practice For Teaching Guitar

When learners feel overwhelmed with learning guitar they simply lack direction. This is more and more common these days with the amount of information on the internet.

Hence why the Guitar GPS Method is so effective as it is designed to build all the critical skills you need while providing that direction. You may even find that you can progress faster with less practice time simply because it’s the RIGHT information for where you’re at right now, and when you practice, you practice with a purpose every time you play.

While everyone has their own goals and aspirations, there are even leaderboards to help motivate those who like being “Top Dawg” and the monthly winner gets a free 1 on 1 session with Preston Howard (the founder.)

a woman holding a guitar on stage

Engaging Videos To Learn Guitar Scales

No one wants to learn to play guitar through dull, long videos that lack structure and a strategy. Though you may sign up for such courses but because the content will be monotonous and not engaging, you will end up losing all your motivation to learn.
However, with the Guitar GPS Method, the videos are detail-oriented and engaging, which aim at genuinely enhance an individual’s learning abilities.

guitar gps method progress report for users

Simple Progress Tracking

Since the academy has a gamified progress tracking technique, it becomes much simpler and easier to know where you stand with your development and what goals you must achieve next.
Most of the time, there is no record keeping for guitar learning, which makes you unsure of your progress, making you doubt whether you are even learning.

However, the Guitar GPS Academy system is designed to track the user’s progress. You click a button to get points that ensure you know where you are in your development process and what awaits you next.
On the reports dashboard, you can see your progress coming together, adding to your points, making the entire learning experience fun, and prompting you to be more steady with practice.

a guy tuning his guitar on his laptop

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

How quickly can I learn how to play the guitar?

You can learn the guitar at an intermediate level in two to three years, but the learning is also highly dependent on how much you practice and how proficient and vigilant your instruction is.

Can I learn guitar in 3 months?

Yes, you can, but this will only include the basics, such as learning to play easy chords, not popular songs.

How difficult is it to learn guitar?

Learning any new skill is difficult; however, if you are consistent and dedicated to playing guitar, you can learn within a few months and a year.

Can I learn guitar online from a good teacher?

Yes, you can learn guitar online as several good teachers skilled at teaching the instrument are available, and academies like Guitar GPS Method make the experience more fun and fulfilling.


We have no exact answer specifying the time frame in which you are guaranteed to learn the guitar because your learning time depends on several factors. However, what we can attest to is that if you want to progress quickly- practice and practice under the supervision of the right kind of instruction because these are those two important fundamentals that can help make your guitar journey smooth for you.


About the Author

Preston has been a professional guitar instructor since 2010 and is the founder of SLC Guitar and the Guitar GPS Method. His holistic method helps players learn quickly and understand what they are doing musically, while his gamified learning platform make practice fun and effective. 

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