The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. You like anybody else would have had your first inspiration to start guitar classes by watching somebody else play or by listening to a song. But ‘how long does it take to learn the guitar’ is one question you may have asked yourself already
Before you start your guitar lessons or go shopping for a good guitar, keep in mind that learning how to play the guitar is the same as trying to learn any new skill. Some skills are easy to learn while others are more difficult.
Be forewarned that many people give up after the initial part of their basic guitar classes. That’s mainly because the initial learning curve is high in comparison to some other instruments.
There are some things which you need to keep in mind which will help you learn the guitar quickly and proficiently.
3 Golden Rules To Follow When You Learn The Guitar
The answer to your question of how long does it take to learn the guitar, boils down to the three P’s:
Needless to say, while learning any skill, practice is the key. However, when it comes to learning the guitar, it is more important to practice regularly.
The duration of practice may be a bit compromised upon but the frequency of guitar practice is crucial. That is because irregular practice causes guitar learners to forget what they learned in the previous lesson or two and that is like taking a step backward.
Apart from your guitar classes, set aside a minimum of 30 minutes in a day and make it a part of your routine. 30 minutes may sound a little bit too much for everyday but remember that we also spend more time than that for watching a TV program.
The time invested will help you achieve fast your goal and learning the guitar well will not take very long. Also, read about 12 ways to go about practicing the guitar here.
Playing the guitar is difficult in the beginning. You have to take it forward step by step and keep focussing what has been taught in the guitar lessons. Everybody likes to quickly start playing all the chords for which they had taken up guitar practice in the first place.
The initial difficulties encountered while playing the guitar may discourage you into thinking that you will never be able to play. This is not true at all. Everybody goes through this phase while learning the guitar. You must have the patience to give it time and start afresh in your next lesson in a positive frame of mind.
It is very important to decide and be aware of what your goals are and how much further you want to go in the field of guitar playing. Some may have a simple goal as to be able to play some popular songs. Others may want to play for a rock band someday. The obvious difference between the two is that the latter require more hard work than the former.
Whatever your goals are, perseverance is the key. Like everybody else, the feeling of ‘I will not be able to do it’ or ‘This is too tough, I’m getting nowhere with this’ will creep up in your mind. The greatest guitarists in the world have been persistent enough and have put in the hard work to get there.
It is their passion which drove them and it will be your passion that will help you get there.
5 Biggest Mistakes Most Beginners Make
There are several common mistakes which beginners make. Most of them are technique related. Assuming that you are about to start your guitar classes or you are in the initial phases, there is no point getting into them at the moment.
However, it is super important that you pay close attention to some mistakes which may become bad habits in future. Correcting them at a later stage will be difficult and counterproductive.
- Incorrect posture
- Irregular practice
- Not tuning your guitar
- Not paying attention to how you sound
- Playing only learnt songs
Many people, even the experienced ones think that posture does not really matter while playing the guitar. This is far from the truth. You have to be in a suitable position to reach your frets comfortably at all times.
Make sure that you choose a firm chair which is at a comfortable height. The soft ones like sofas are also not appropriate. Playing your guitar on the bed or in lying position is definitely not an option and must be avoided completely.
A great guide on the correct posture can be found here.
While practising is the key to becoming a good guitarist, lack of practice has the opposite effect. Most beginners get demoralised during the initial phase of guitar lessons as it is challenging. This, in turn, affects their motivation to practice.
No matter what stage you are in your learning, the shortage of practice and more importantly the irregularity of practice will affect your progression.
Not Tuning Your Guitar
Avoid getting into the habit of playing with a guitar which is not tuned. What happens is that as you progress through your lessons, you get used to certain sounds which the guitar makes as you play. Further on, when you hear someone else play the same song, it will appear to sound better. Why does this happen?
It is because the other guy’s guitar is tuned and yours is not. The bottom line is – always play with a tuned guitar.
Not Paying Attention To How You Sound
This is one mistake that most people make. It will be difficult for you to understand this completely right now but do remember to pay special attention to how you sound. One way you can do this is to record yourself and thereafter listening to the recording. If it does not sound right, ask your teacher what is wrong and work on it.
It is important to develop the ear for the music that your guitar produces. Many experienced guitarists regret not having learned this in the initial stages.
Playing Only Learnt Songs
After going through the initial struggle and learning a few songs, there is a tendency to stagnate. Remember to never lose sight of your short-term as well as long-term goals and always look to progress further and improve upon yourself.
This video talks some of the points mentioned here and some other mistakes which you can avoid making so that you can learn guitar fast and play it like a pro.
How Long Does It Take To Learn The Guitar.. Actually?
As long as you are willing to put in the requisite effort while adhering to the golden rules and avoiding the common mistakes while learning the guitar, you will be able to learn how to play it fairly quickly.
Be careful though not to rush things and go at it step by step. How long does it take to learn the guitar will finally depend on how disciplined you are and how effectively you utilise your time while learning the guitar.