How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

You are here because you want to know how long does it take to learn guitar? Unfortunately I can’t give you an exact answer. But I can give you some guidelines on how long it takes and how you can learn quicker.

To give you an answer; it will take you anywhere from 6-18 months to learn the guitar reasonably well. But it’s up to you how quickly you learn.

A few things will affect how long it takes to learn the guitar. Like how you decide to learn and more importantly how much time you put into learning.

You must also consider what level of guitar skill do you want? This can also change how long learning guitar takes.

For example do you only want to play some songs in your bedroom or do you want to be an advanced level player or professional musician? Well these are two very different level players.

Quick Summary:

It will take you anywhere from 6-18 months to learn the guitar reasonably well. How quickly you learn is up to you. Several factors can affect how long it takes you personally, the main two factors being your method of learning, and the amount of time you dedicate to learning.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

I was going to do a big long drawn out post of about the different stages of learning guitar; but I thought it would be easier to show you.

I have created a little infographic below that shows you what to expect learning guitar and how long it might take.

It will also show you the estimated amount of time you must dedicate to reach a certain guitar skill level. Please bare in mind that this is a guideline and not gospel.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar?

How Long On Average Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

Again this is hard to answer. It relies so much on your method of learning, skill level and more importantly how much time you allocate to learning.

Let’s look at two examples with John & Jane. They are both just starting out from scratch with no previous experience. Let us compare the two after one year of learning.

Example 1: John

John decided to get one to one lessons once a week for 1 hour. John already has a busy schedule so he can only allocate an extra 2 hours a week to learning on his own.

So in total John can dedicate 3 hours of his time in total a week to learning guitar.

3 (Hours a week) x 52 (Total Weeks in the Year) = 156 Hours

So if you look back at our infographic above, John would be at roughly the Basic Skill Level.

Example 2: Jane

Jane decides to take a different approach. She has a little more free time and decides to use online guitar lessons.

Jane feels she can allocate 2 hours a day on average for the week to play guitar. In total Jane can dedicate 14 hours a week to learning guitar.

The online lessons allow her to learn at any pace she likes and really focuses on learning quickly.

14 (Hours a week) x 52 (Total Weeks in the Year) = 728 Hours

Again referring back to our Infographic above, Jane would be in between Beginner and Intermediate Level within her very first year of learning.

From the examples above; I’m sure you can understand that its difficult to tell you exactly how long on average it take to learn guitar. But it does gives you an idea of how you can control it and learn quickly if you want to.

Method of Learning

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar

There’s two main factors that affect how long it would take to play guitar. These two factors are:

  • How You Plan On Learning
  • The Amount of Time You Dedicate to Learning

How you plan on learning will affect how quickly you can learn guitar. In fact how you decide to start learning will be the most important factor in how quickly you can learn guitar.

You have two main options, well 3 options in a way to learn, but I wouldn’t recommend the last one.

  • One To One Guitar Lessons
  • Teach Yourself Using Online Guitar Lessons
  • Teach Yourself

Each of these will be a major factor in how quickly you can learn to play guitar.

Option 1: One To One Lessons

How Long Will it Take to Learn Guitar

If you get one to one lessons, you will learn the guitar very well. Working one to one with an instructor will get you through the basics very well an prevent you from getting any bad habits.

However, there are some drawbacks. Although one to one guitar lessons are a great means of learning to play, but it will take you a long time to learn guitar this way (well longer in my opinion)

With one to one lessons, you will likely get guitar lessons weekly or every fortnight maybe. This means you will only be learning in 1-hour segments.

Did you ever hear the old saying, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.

1 hour Lessons x 52 (Weekly) = 52 Hours Of Learning.

Now I’m not saying it will take 10,000 hours to learn guitar; but with one to one lessons, I think it will take you roughly 12 months to learn guitar with one to one lessons and allocating extra time on your own.

John from our example could potentially give you an idea on the level you might be at after 1 year with one to one lessons.

Option 2: Online Guitar Lessons

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar

Online guitar lessons in my opinion is the fastest way to learn guitar and also the best I think.

We are living in the digital age now where everything is online. Learning guitar is no different.

There are 3 main reasons why I think online lessons are the best way to start playing.

  • It’s convenient
  • It’s the quickest way to learn
  • Cheap

A transition from one to one lessons to online lessons is also an option to look at.

For example if you were to take 3-5 one to lessons to get an over the shoulder lesson with someone to make sure you are doing the basics right like holding the guitar and avoiding any bad habits.

From there maybe move into online lessons. I explain why below and it can be compared to our example about with Jane.


Since you are learning online you don’t need to commute to the lessons and you’re not restricted to a certain time. With online guitar lessons, you learn guitar anywhere, anytime.

With Guitar Tricks for example, you can use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to learn guitar, which is pretty cool.

Quickest Way To Learn

Rather than learn with 1-hour intervals once or twice a fortnight; with online guitar lessons like Guitar Tricks, you can spend 20 minutes a day or a few hours in a single session.

How long will it take to learn with online lessons? With online lessons, I think it will take roughly 4-6 months to learn the guitar.

By learn to play in this instance; I mean you will know the basic chords and be able to play some basic songs.

30 minutes a day is all you need to learn quickly. After a few weeks, you will notice your skills grow.

One thing I like with online guitar lessons is that if you have a quiet weekend, you can spend a few hours learning to play guitar.

Let’s say for example, you have 4 hours to spare of a Saturday afternoon. That’s the equivalent of 4 weeks one to one lessons.

Much Cheaper

Along with being the quickest way to learn guitar, it’s also the cheapest. The cost of learning guitar online is far cheaper than getting lessons in person.

I have an article here about whether guitar lessons are worth it, I would check that out.

Guitar Tricks for example only cost $19.99 a month. With over 11,000 hours of video lessons, online one to one studio lessons with actual instructors, step by step song tutorials, and an online community.

Option 3: Teach Yourself

You can teach yourself guitar by using some YouTube channels, eBooks and textbooks. However I think it will take you a lot longer to learn to play this way.

You could find a decent YouTube channel to help you learn. But you might find it hard to find a decent coach with good content that will help you to learn in the right way.

Most Youtube guitarists nowadays will have some decent content for a few videos, but will eventually ask you to buy their course or eBook for more advanced kind of playing or a proper learning process.

I’m not saying you can’t teach yourself guitar with YouTube, I am just saying it will take you a lot longer than it would with one to one lessons or online lessons.

How long will it take to learn guitar by teaching myself? Without any online lessons, I will warn you, it will take you at least 18-24 months to learn this way.

How Quickly Will I Be Able To Play Songs?

I discussed this briefly above already but I will talk about it in a little more detail here.

Again how quickly you can learn to play a song on the guitar can vary om how much time you dedicate to playing.

But, if you were able to dedicate 1 hour a day; it should take you roughly 4-6 months to play some basic songs.

If you want to speed up this process; I would find one of the easiest songs to play on the guitar and make learning that particular song your goal.

At least that way you are focussed and determined on one goal. You can focus solely on learning the chords for that particular song and work on your finger placement for the chords and build your muscle memory.

By doing this you should be able to speed up the process of how long it takes to learn a song a guitar.

However, if you are serious about learning; I would focus on learning the right way and not for one particular song. Be patient and trust the process and the songs will come.

Here’s an example from Guitar Tricks and how they break down and teach a song to learn.

Is it Easier to Learn Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

I would say NO! Choosing between acoustic or electric should not impact how long it takes to learn guitar.

However, I do think which one you are more passionate about does affect how fast you can learn guitar.

If you are more interested in rock music; you are more drawn to a beginner electric guitar rather than an acoustic one. This should mean that you are more likely to put in the time and learn.

The same goes if you are more into certain artists. For example; if you like Ed Sheeran. We all know he is famous for his acoustic style playing and impressive skill using looper pedals performing live.

I would choose whichever type of guitar appeals to you most and go with it. Choosing one over the other does not affect how long it takes to play guitar, but does affect your level of interest in playing.

What To Expect When You Start Learning Guitar

Here are a couple of things you should know when you are just starting out learning guitar. These are things that everyone goes through.

Sore Fingers

I will tell you right now; when you first start your fingers will get pretty sore. The soft tissue on the tips of your fingers will not be used to the constant contact with the guitar strings.

You will not be used to this. Its a form of soft tissue trauma. But don’t worry this will pass. It’s done by building up a form of calluses and you will be able to play for long periods of time pain-free.

If you look at the hands of any professional musician; calluses will be on their fingertips for sure. If you want to know more about this check out this post here on how to relieve finger pain from playing guitar.


Learning guitar can be pretty frustrating at the beginning. You will sound terrible at first. But don’t worry; everyone does. Even the biggest stars in the business struggled at the beginning.

Trying to learn the chords, finger placement, etc can be difficult to get used to. You will feel that you are not making progress; but with every day you are progressing.

Keep at it and you will notice that after a few weeks that you are progressing in every way. Tuning the guitar becomes easier, your finger placement is improving naturally and your muscle memory is improving.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar?

It will take you anywhere from 6-18 months to learn the guitar reasonably well. How quickly you learn is up to you.

I hope this post was of help to you and provided you with the answers you need. If you have any more questions; be sure to comment below and I will be sure to answer them.

If you want to learn guitar in the quickest way possible, then I would say you should try and learn with an online course like Guitar Tricks.

I have a full post discussing the best online guitar lessons you should check out if you are interested in learning guitar on your own.

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