The guitar is definitely one of the more preferred musical instruments. Its seeming simplicity and versatility are some of its biggest attractiveness. People who are curious about learning how to play the guitar will definitely have the question ‘how long will it take to learn to play the guitar’ on their minds.
The length of time it would take to learn to play this musical instrument varies according to depends not just on how much raw talent you possess. Of course, having a good ear for music and a natural draw to guitar strings will help you achieve your goals quicker, but eventually, effort and diligence will be the ultimate determinant on how fast you will pick up the skill.
Here are some of the things you can do during the beginning phase of your guitar learning
- Re-orient yourself
Learning the guitar and playing it well will mean a total re-orientation on the use of your hands and fingers. You will need to grasp new finger movements and be attuned to the positioning of your hands.
- Learn the Basics
The first things you will need to learn are the basics; how to properly hold the guitar, where to place your fingers for maximum reach. You will also need to remind yourself not to press the string too hard as that can affect the sound produced.
- Play While Sitting and Standing
Practice your posture; play while sitting and play your guitar while standing up, this will allow you be able to play equally as well in both positions.
- Learn to Hold the Pick
You have to understand first that how good your guitar playing will sound is highly dependent on how you hold a pick. Your strings, when tuned right, should not be broken too often and changed about every 6 weeks.
- Practice your Timing and Rhythm
Practice listening to your music and the sounds you make, open your ears to the sounds. You can try keeping time with your music by tapping your feet and allowing your body participate.
- Start with an Acoustic
Acoustic guitars are more portable and produce clearer tones. Also, it is more like learning to drive a car with a manual gear, when you switch to an electric; you never really lose the knowledge of acoustic playing. Learning with an electric guitar, you might never really get comfortable with the acoustic.
- What Will Determine My Speed?
Ultimately, your grasping speed will come down to your diligence and hunger for the skill, your talent, how much practice you put in, and your instructor.
Your doggedness towards learning your new skill will go a long way in determining how fast you will learn to play guitar. You will need to persevere against all odds, no matter how often you fail to pick up a tune, or how many times you get disapproving looks. Your diligence and perseverance will make you stand out from other guitar learners. Your biggest motivator should be the knowledge that everyone starts somewhere, even Eric Clapton and other big names. There will be more times than you wish to count where you will just want to throw in the towel. Never forget that progress does not just come, it comes in short bursts and one day, you will literally realize you have become a much better guitar player.
There are those born with a natural skill, a natural ear towards hearing and repeating sounds on the guitar. This in-built talent does give them an upper hand, but it is not the only determinant in learning to play guitar. Eventually, a hardworking person with zero prior knowledge of playing guitars will progress faster and farther than a skilled but lazy guitarist. Skill does come in as an advantage though.
It’s no big surprise that the more practice you put in, the better and bigger the results will be. If you fail to practice, you will fail to achieve your ultimate goal. Practice, consistent practice, takes time and it takes discipline. It is important to learn the textbook aspects of guitar playing, but no matter how much you learn from books and videos, your chances of becoming much better will be increased with how much you practice. Of course, learning will come with its share of frustrations and may seem like progress is agonizingly slow, but it will be much like learning any other thing in life, a new language even. In the beginning, everything would seem unfamiliar and you might not see yourself as ever reaching the level others are on, but with consistent practice, you will smoothly glide through the entire complicated finger and hand movements and your muscles will be more familiar with the guitar.
Passion is the nudge you will need to get up at 3 am to practice on your guitar. Passion will push you past what you thought were your limits and determines where exactly you wish to get and what heights you plan to reach.
Your guitar instructor could be anyone from a professional guitarist to a guitar learning app on your mobile device. Your guitar instructor can be the biggest push forward or push backward in your guitar learning journey. If your instructor constantly demands for what is good for you and motivates you to go farther than you wish to go, most likely you will develop stronger mental discipline and bigger goals. Your instructor will also influence how well you will play. An experienced guitar instructor might be able to give you insights into the internal elements of guitar playing and can teach you simpler ways to go about the more difficult techniques. Your guitar instructor can also act as your mentor, especially if he/she is an experienced guitarist with notable accomplishments.
- How Long Will I Need to Practice?
If you practice for 30 minutes a day every day for a span of 6 months, you should be skilled enough to consider yourself ready to teach others. If you look at it carefully, within 1-2 months of regular practice, you should be able to play simple and familiar songs, with good knowledge of how simple strumming and plucking.
By months 3-6, you should have moved on to more difficult songs that may require trickier finger movements and technical elements. By your second year of consistent guitar playing, you should be so well-versed, almost all songs are within your abilities and you will be familiar with most technical parts. You should also be able to make some improvisations while you play by now.
Basically, learning a guitar is just like every other thing in life, the more you find out about it, the deeper your thirst for more knowledge and your learning never ends. However, within 6 months of consistency and determination, you should have attained enough skills that you can play recognizable and melodious tunes on the guitar.
- Can I Learn The Guitar in Less Time?
Some of the two factors that affect the quickness of your guitar learning are; practicing the wrong things and not getting enough practice. And then there are people who really want to but do not have the equipment to practice in theory. Solving the second problem should be easy enough with the right amounts of determination and passion, and if you find that you lack these two things, then maybe guitar playing is not for you.
The first problem is even more common than most people would imagine. Guitar learning newbies are more susceptible to veering off the right path, with misleading videos from random guitar ‘instructors’ on YouTube and the rest. A lot of valuable time can be wasted trying to learn guitar this way. Eventually, you will have little direction and the information gathered will ultimately be haphazard.
- Some Misconceptions about Playing the Guitar
There are common myths and deterrents going around concerning the proper time to learn guitar and some factors that affect quick learning. Many of these reasons have dissuaded interested people from trying to hone in on their skills, and thereby let their talents die without proper exploration. Some of the more common beliefs about guitar learning include:
- Without full, daily dedication, you can’t learn the guitar
- There is an age restriction for learning to play the guitar
- Handicapped persons will have a harder time playing the guitar
- Left handedness is an impossibility for playing the guitar
The truth about learning the guitar is that there is no age limit, physical restrictions hardly matter, and left-handedness is barely an issue. In fact, some guitar companies specialize in creating guitars for left handed guitarists, making it easier for them to play.
Play your guitar for the joy and pleasure it gives you and others and it will become a lifelong source of happiness for you. Of course, there are added external and monetary benefits if you decide to become a professional guitarist. Also, never forget that the learning never ends and you will keep learning to play the guitar for as long as you keep your mind open.