Beginning guitar players often ask, “How long to learn the guitar”? The answer is the same
whether you wish to learn the electric or acoustic guitar, or for any style of music you wish to
play. From the blues to heavy metal you are working with same instrument, and developing the same
fundamental skills. How long to learn guitar varies between individuals but with regular dedicated
practice, and a good methodology, you should be able to master the basics of the guitar in a few
These first few months are essential to your study and play a large role in how long to learn
guitar. Beginning guitar lessons will teach you how to hold the guitar, its basic parts, and how to
tune it. You’ll also learn the basics of music notation such as guitar tabs and chord diagrams.
Both are simple and intuitive graphical representations of the guitar neck - they show you where to
place your fingers. If you wish to thoroughly master the guitar, you should seriously consider
learning traditional music notation as well. This may take a little bit of concentrated effort and
will lengthen your journey in how long to learn the guitar, but the payoff is worth it.
You will learn how to play some basic single line melodies and riffs. Rock guitarists often
begin to learn different riffs from their favorite songs almost immediately. In classic rock it is
these short, repetitive ideas played by the guitarist that define a song.
Chords are also an important part of your beginning guitar lessons and play a part in how long
to learn guitar. In the first few months of practice, you’ll learn about ten to fifteen open
position chords. Rock players will also learn power chords. Along the way you will study some
standard chord progressions. Pay attention to these chord progressions as they will come up time
and time again as your range of songs expands.
How long to learn guitar basics will depend on you and your practice habits. You don’t need to
spend an inordinate amount of time on these early lessons to learn the fundamentals of the guitar.
What you do need however, is a regular practice schedule.
Shoot for three or four fifteen-minute practice sessions per week in addition to any time you
spend taking guitar lessons. This adds up to about one hour per week of focused practice - not bad
for skills that will last you a lifetime! It’s important to spend that hour of practice each week
fine tuning your technical skills. If you have more time, go for it as it will reduce the time in
how long to learn guitar. Use that extra time to explore the instrument, and really
play with it. Exploring through playing, listening and reading will help you enjoy the learning
process, which is a key component to keeping you playing.
Another factor in how long to learn guitar is the quality of your guitar lessons or method
books. Today students have so many study paths to choose from. Online guitar lessons offer a great
option for self-motivated guitar enthusiasts. To help you find a good guitar course online for
yourself, sign up for a couple of the free introductory guitar lessons offered by the major online
guitar programs. This will give you an opportunity to get a feel for the instructors and their
teaching styles and help you find a program that matches your guitar playing goals.