How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar

How Hard Is It To Learn To Play The Guitar?


Playing an instrument is a skill that many people wish they had. Guitar is a great starting place, but when just starting out, it can seem impossible. It is not uncommon for people to feel that they can not possibly learn how to play the guitar well. However, this could not be further from the truth!

While learning the guitar seems very difficult at first, it gets easier very quickly. Many people have success learning a very basic song within a week of serious practice; you do not need to train for years to be able to string together a few chords. To become a master guitarist, like mastering any other skill, takes years of dedication, but it does not take long to get the basics down.

When learning guitar, most beginners will run into the same few problems, each of which feels like the end of their short guitar career. While these challenges feel incredibly difficult at first, sticking with it with daily practice will make playing the guitar a manageable task in no time. Here are a few common beginner hangups:

The first truly difficult task in learning the guitar is learning a chord. A chord is three or more notes played together, usually involving all six guitar strings. To play a chord, multiple strings need to be held down concurrently, while also not muting any other strings. The kind of hand position and finger strength involved is unlike anything most people will have ever used their hands for, and so at first it seems extremely difficult to even hold the position. However, as hand strength builds up over just a few days, holding chords becomes markedly easier.

The second big challenge follows from the first: changing between chords. To play a guitar song smoothly, it is necessary to be able to switch from one chord to the next nearly instantly. Since simply holding the chord down seemed impossible at first, being able to assume the position so quickly can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. However, this is largely a question of muscle memory. Drilling chord changes for even 15 minutes every day will teach your fingers how to leap into chord positions quickly, and before you know it you will be swapping chords like it’s nothing.

Barred chords are another big obstacle representing a big leap in difficulty from more basic techniques. A bar chord is a chord that involves the index finger stretching out over all six strings and holding them down, allowing the other three fingers to create a chord that can be moved up and down the neck to create a variety of chords. For example, a barred A chord can be moved up and down to go all the way from a low B flat chord to a high B flat chord, and sometimes even higher up the neck depending on the shape of your guitar.

While barred chords are extremely useful and widely utilized, they also are a lot harder to form than ordinary chords. Bar chords are again a question of finger strength; it takes a lot of pressure and coordination to keep the index finger firmly down while moving the other three fingers and applying adequate pressure. Bar chords without the proper pressure tend to make buzzing sounds dreaded by new guitarists, and if the hand position is not just right, it can seem impossible to hold the chord without allowing any strings to buzz. For beginner guitarists, the pressure required can also lead to tired hands pretty quickly. However, hand muscles build up quickly, and so daily practice will soon make bar chords much more manageable.

While nobody can become a master guitarist overnight, learning guitar is a lot easier than most people think. It seems impossible at first, but after even an hour of dedicated practice, it starts to seem a lot more manageable. While there are a number of stumbling blocks on the road to competence, daily practice will help new guitarists master these new skills in no time. Most new guitarists find that they can work their way through a simple song in a week or less, which is a very satisfying feeling. Stick with it, and soon you will be a guitarist too!