If you are planning to learn a music instrument, then the guitar is one of the most popular ones out there. Now, learning to play the guitar is not the most difficult thing in the world, and it’s certainly not as hard as learning some other instruments either.
That said, it does take a great deal of time and effort to learn the guitar. There are many terms, concepts, techniques, and more that you need to learn, not to mention that building up finger strength and stamina is crucial too. The bottom line is that when people are learning guitar, there is one thing that everybody wants to know, how long does it take to learn guitar?
This is the main question that we are here to answer today, and we are going to do our best to provide you with a very detailed answer. What it really comes down to, besides talent, is how much time you invest into practicing the guitar on a daily basis.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar?
The best way to quantify or determine how long it takes to learn the guitar is how many hours you invest on a daily basis. You should never try to think about how good you will be at the guitar in one year from now.
Instead, you should think about how good your guitar skills will be after practicing for 1,000 hours. The reason we say this is because it is possible that somebody gets more practice hours in just three months than someone else could accumulate in a full year.
It’s not about how much time has passed, but about how much time has been invested into actually practicing. If you practice for four hours per day for a whole month, that comes to over 120 hours in that single month, and so on and so forth.
The above point is important to take note of because there is what is known as the 10,000 hour rule. This so-called rule was created by Malcolm Gladwell. The main takeaway here is that professionals who are masters of their crafts, whether guitar playing or otherwise, have usually invested at least 10,000 hour of practice that is structured and deliberate.
Of course, this rule is not set in stone. Some people could spend 10,000 hours practicing, but still not achieve a high level of proficiency. That said, we can also assume that it is much more likely that someone who has invested such a great deal of time into playing guitar is more likely to achieve that high level of proficiency than someone who hasn’t.
The Stages of Learning Guitar
Now, we want to take a look at the different skill levels that you can achieve when learning the guitar, how long it takes to get there, and how many hours are needed to get there. There are many different skill levels for you to work your way through, so let’s take a look at all of them right now.
If you are at the introductory level, it means that you can play very simple and easy musical songs, accompaniments, and parts, and maybe even a single real piece of music, albeit with some flaws, mistakes, and irregularity. Getting to the introductory skill level should take just over 156 hours.
If you practice for 30 minutes per day, it will take 10 months to get here, but if you practice for 4 hours per day, it should take under 40 days to get here.
At the basic skill level, you can do everything that you could do in the introductory level, and you will also have a better grasp of music fundamentals. At this point, although there will be some flaws and irregularities, you should be able to play several pieces of real music.
To get to the basic skill level, it should take you around 312 hours. This means that if you practice for 30 minutes per day, it will take 1.8 years to get here, and if you practice for 4 hours per day, it will take around 78 days to get here.
At the beginner stage, you should have basic competence of most guitar concepts. You should also have basic rhythm guitar skills at this point. At this point, you should also be able to play quite a few pieces of easy music without too many flaws or irregularities.
To get to the beginner stage, it should take you around 625 hours of practice. If you practice for 30 minutes per day, then this should take you around 3.5 years to achieve, but if you practice for 4 hours per day, it should take around 156 days.
At the intermediate skill level, you should be able to play several pieces of easy and somewhat difficult music, mostly without any flaws or irregularities. At this point, you should also be able to write some music, improvise music, and start learning some more difficult pieces of music as well.
To get to the intermediate level, it will take around 1,250 hours of practice. If you practice for 30 minutes per day, it will take roughly 6.9 years to get to this level. If you practice for 4 hours per day, it will take roughly 10 months to get to this point.
Once you reach the advanced skill level, you should be in command of your music performances. You should be able to have a deep understanding of tone and dynamics. At this point, you should known most or all of the guitar playing techniques and types out there, you should be able to improvise music and write it too, and you should be able to play more or less any piece of music without flay.
To get to the advanced skill level, it should take you around 2,500 hours of practice. If you play for 30 minutes per day, it will take you around 13.9 years to get to this point. If you play for 4 hours per day, it should take you around 1.8 years to get to this point.
When you reach the expert level, you should be able to play all pieces of music with relative ease. At this point, you should also be able to teach others how to play in various styles. It should take around 5,000 hours of practice to get to this point. If you play for 30 minutes per day, it will take 27.8 years to get to this point, or 3.5 years if you play for 4 hours per day.
If you are a pro guitarist, it means that you can perform very comfortably in most playing styles, and you should be a great guitar teacher as well. It will take around 10,000 hours to get to this point. This means it will take over 55 years if you play for 30 minutes per day, or 6.9 years if you play for 4 hours per day.
If you are a master, quite simply, you can do it all. It will take roughly 20,000 hours of play to get to this point. If you practice for 4 hours per day, it will take nearly 14 years to get to this point.
As you can see, there are many skill levels for you to work your way through. Just don’t feel bad if it takes longer for you, because everyone does learn at a different pace.