How Fast Can I Learn To Play Guitar?

how fast can i learn to play guitar - man with classic guitar

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Whenever we start learning something new, whether it’s driving a car, fly-fishing, or learning to play an instrument, this new activity that appears in our lives will demand effort, attention, and dedication. But above all, it will require time. Modern life pulls our extremities towards the four cardinal points in its constant demand of our time for the most varied activities. In this way, time is transformed into a very precious commodity, if not the most precious one. And if you were reading this article and arrived at this site, the inevitable question you will surely be asking yourself is this: How fast can I learn to play guitar?

The truth is that no one who knows a bit about teaching or learning an instrument will be able to tell you how fast you can learn to play the guitar. This depends on many factors, some are determined from birth, others we can improve with practice and time. Of course, there are well designed and tested courses that can help you achieve results in six, three, or even two months, as it is the case in this online course. You will likely be able to play some chords in a few days. But from the point of playing a bunch of chords poorly to playing them skillfully, there is a path you must travel with constant practice. 

Do all people learn to play guitar at the same speed?

Gandhi knew what he was talking about when he said that “Although we are born equal, which means that we all have the right to equal opportunities, we do not all have the same abilities”. This is a great truth that we collide with every day in our lives, whether we want it or not.

There are a few gifted people like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, who seem to have been born with a Stratocaster or an Ibanez stuck to their fingers. But for the rest of us, simple mortals, all our hope will be put in having some condition to endure the annoying first moments of learning and thus manage to execute some chords and hopefully some complete song on our guitar.

In my experience and I must confess that my beginnings with this instrument were of very slow and painful learning. When I started at the age of fourteen, I plunged directly into an electric guitar, and it took me about three months to get the first three chords out. A sequence of the D, C, G chords, enough to play the opening part of a simple but beautiful song like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.

Then it took about three more months to play it correctly and maybe a year in total to play the whole song with the tapping of Slash’s intro. But still, even though I could play it, my quality as a guitar player was poor. And it wasn’t good enough to be able to play it without shame in front of my friends for maybe a year and a half or two years since I started practicing it.

What is the best method to learn to play guitar?

As we have mentioned in other articles on this site, there is an ideal style and model of guitar for every guitarist. The same goes for the learning method. We need to find a method that gives us the best results. We can choose to be self-taught and look for material online to build our own method.

But if you ask my opinion, I advise you to look for a good course for beginners with a well-tested method and follow the instructions of an expert. I think it’s best to learn to play with instructors with real experience in bands and the music world. This way, you will be feeding yourself directly from the source. You will have access to a proven player, someone with thousands and thousands of hours of experience, someone who will know what he is talking about.

An instructor of this type can take you on a learning journey from the first notions of the instrument, to unlocking the hidden secrets and tricks that a beautiful instrument like the guitar has in store for you. Don’t give up on the first problems, because you’ll see that it’s a lot of fun and something you’ll enjoy a lot.

Does it take 10,000 hours to learn to play guitar?

Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the well-known 10,000-hour rule. The idea behind this rule is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master an activity in any field. While this idea has many proponents and detractors, it is still an interesting concept. Malcolm Gladwell initially wrote about this 10,000-hour rule in “Outliers”, his 2008 bestseller. The rule is simple and says this: “Mastery comes after someone practices a skill for 10,000 hours”. What he says on this subject in his book is really that the key to mastering a skill is practice. And beyond the number mentioned, I agree with him that a practice sustained over time will surely give better results than no practice at all. If the magic number is 10,000, I don’t think that’s the important thing.

The right thing about this idea is not the number itself. But it marks a very high goal, it makes us understand that nothing is achieved without sufficient effort. You can learn to play the guitar to the level that pleases you in perhaps two months, more or less. But the more hours a day you dedicate to this activity, the more will result in benefits and will accelerate the speed with which you reach your goal.

Answering the question of whether it takes 10,000 hours to learn to play guitar? I would say no, you can learn in much less time, but if you don’t stop and keep counting, I think that by the time you reach 10,000 hours, you will surely be an expert guitarist or at least one with a lot of experience.

Finally, to answer the question of how fast can I learn to play guitar? I simply say that all depends on you, but with a good online course, goodwill, perseverance, and practicing every day, you’ll see that in a few weeks, you’ll see the results of your work.

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Damián is an author of All Stringed. He started playing with an electric guitar when he was 14 as a self-taught boy at home. He has almost 30 years of experience playing electric and acoustic guitar. You can find more about him here.