How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar

11th September

Learning electric guitar – how long does it take?

How long does it take to learn guitar?Answering this frequently asked question is almost like answering “how long is a piece of string?”

There are so many variables involved that it is close to impossible to say how long it will take for any individual to get up to a certain level.

And also, what will it say to having learned something after all? Is this a level where you have the minimum of basics down – like knowing a few chords and being able to strum along to a simple song? Or, is it more like having mastered the task at hand?

If you are more thinking along the lines of having mastered the art of playing guitar then a likely answer to “how long does it take to learn guitar?” will be something along the lines of “all your life … and then some”.

Keep it real – keep it simple!

Some of the best things you can do to yourself is to keep things in perspective – I call this to keep it real. Such perspectives will include the realizations that A. Learning guitar takes an investment of time and effort, and that B. There are no short-cuts.

You will inevitably also be aware of the fact that it is easier to become good at anything when you start at a young age. Does this mean that you can not become proficient or learn guitar at all if you start at a later stage? Not at all! The only thing to remember is that it likely will take more efforts on your parts – again: remember to keep it real :-)

It should also be fairly obvious that the more concentrated effort you put into it (noodling around and just browsin for something to learn i not a concentrated effort), the better off you’ll be.

When you want to learn electric guitar (or any type of guitar for that matter), keeping it simple involves doing the steps which will ensure you get the most out of your time and efforts. This again revolves around the points discussed below.

Doing it all by yourself?

One of the most persistent myths is how “easy” it is to teach yourself guitar.  Is it possible? For some folks, absolutely. However, let us look at the flip side of the coin.

Is this really the best investment of your time and efforts to try and piece together this highly complex task on you own? I dare say no, not at all. Also, browsing through all the free stuff available online and picking up bits and pieces of information from friends here and there is no way to guarantee that you’ll avoid picking up bad habits and counter productive information along the way.

Furthermore, this “jumping about” and “take it as it comes” way of learning is lacking the all important structure which is needed if you want to make sure that you will succeed with the best possible result in the shortest amount of time.

Getting help – the easy and cost effective way

Make no mistake about it. The best and most efficient way, bar none, to help you reach your goals is to take lessons from a qualified and dedicated guitar teacher. However, this is also the most expensive route to take. You will also have to find someone who is somewhat on the same wavelength as yourself, someone you will trust, respect and like.

A good compromise is to take one of the better online courses available, such as Guitar Superstars, Next Level Guitar or Guitar Success. You will be amazed by the content these course have and how inexpensive they tend to be. This is a far, far better investment of time and energy than going through all the hoops to try and find some golden nuggets for free.

Setting your guitar playing goals

Another way of making sure you learn guitar with easy and efficiency is to set goals for yourself. From the perspective of learning how to play guitar, setting goals has two sides as I see it. One is how often and how you practice guitar. The other is what you intend to learn in a given period of time.

It is without a doubt far easier to achieve something when you have a clear goal of when you will have achieved it! Just ask any athlete. If you say to yourself that “by Christmas I shall have learned all the open style chords and the basic barre chords”, then chances are much better you will do just that. Just to remind you – please keep it real :-)

As far as practice schedule goes, you will again be best of by keeping it real as well as simple. Set a time which you know you can have as yours – 20 minutes, half an hour, one hour – close the door and make that a no interruption time! Work on the things you want to learn and keep at it. This is in essence the only way to become good at anything.

The tools of the trade

Having a properly adjusted guitar which is a breeze to play will ensure that you “stick to your guns” and don’t give up on your dream of learning the guitar. Far too many people give up simply because they forget the importance of having a good beginner electric guitar which has been set up properly. You can read more about the importance of a proper guitar set-up here.

The “final piece of the puzzle” (if you learn on an electric guitar) is to have some sort of of practice amp or practice tool to plug into and maybe even jam along to. What is the best tools for your need? Hard to say for sure, but you can search more here for the best practice amp. Just be aware that you can also practice your guitar plugged into a smart phone, with software on your computer, through headphones and a multi-effects units, as well as with a practice amp.

Sounding off

Rather than asking “How long does it take to learn guitar?”, it may probably be a far better idea to ask yourself “How do I make sure I’ll stick to my guitar playing for the time it takes to learn it?”

Hopefully, you will have picked up some tips above. Still, in the end, I tend to believe the best answer to that is found within yourself. Just be certain about this simple fact: If you want it bad enough and you give it enough time and effort, you will achieve it!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guitar Questions and Answers 2

18th December

More Guitar Questions And Answers

guitar question and answersYes ladies and gentlemen – boys and girls … it’s time for another round of the guitar playing stuff that may help you on your quest to learn electric guitar sooner rather than later. So, since you’re probably in a hurry to be rockin’ and rollin’, let’s dive right into it!

If you have any guitar or learning guitar question, please feel free to leave your question in the comment field below or contact me; don’t be shy!

Changing guitar strings – how often?

Q: How often do you recommend I’d change to a new set of strings? When they break? What’s this thing about new strings anyway?


A: In general, you would commonly want to change your strings as often as you can afford … unless you like a duller, more lifeless sound (which some players actually do).

Before discussing this issue further, I’d like to point out that classical (nylon) guitar strings differ slightly from nickel or bronze strings (electric or acoustic). The three treble, unwound nylon strings on a classical guitar is usually changed less frequently than the wound ones.

As for electric or steel string guitars you normally change the whole set at a time. The exception is when you break a string prematurely. If you play hard and/or the guitar is not properly set up, you may find  the high E and B strings snaps at frequent intervals.

Why would you want new strings? Well first and foremost they simply play better and sound far better.

They also tend to be better in tune (the intonation is more correct), as there’s inevitably some build up of sweat, dirt and grime on older strings – even if you clean them on regular intervals. This makes the older strings vibrate more unevenly, leaving the intonation slightly off.

As for keeping your strings last longer, you should clean the strings with a dry, clean piece of cloth after each session – don’t forget the fingerboard also!

A dirty fretboard will kill the sound of your new strings fast. The grime will simply stick on those new strings you just put on … bad idea.

Proper guitar care and maintenance is so important!

You may also use coated strings since they stay bright for a longer period of time than non-coated ones. The downside is that these guitar strings are quite a bit more expensive.

So how long can you keep the strings on? Apart from the sound, tuning and the dirt issue, it is no direct sin to keep them on for months at a time! But let me put it this way – there’s a reason why some pro guitar players change their strings as often as every other day…

…And no, that is not to impress the musos :-)

Any advice on staying motivated?

Q: These days I get easily distracted or bored with the guitar playing. Any tips on how to stay motivated?


A: First of all I would sincerely urge you to hang in there. Don’t give up! You will most likely beat yourself at a later stage if you quit.

Eventually, everyone goes through one or more of these phases – it’s  inevitable in my experience. If you keep at it, the “flow” and inspiration will kick back in sooner or later.

One piece of advice is to sit back and listen to some of your favorite artists and players. Me, I like to try and figure out the guitar parts … keeps things fresh and interesting. How do they do this or that? How do they get that sound?

Challenging yourself and going outside of the box is another way to stay on your toes. Why not try out a new, open tuning or slap on a capo? Try to approach the way you pick or play – swap your pick for your fingers or vice versa. Personally, just for the fun of it, try to teach myself a totally new way of playing guitar … something I’m not comfortable with at that point

You know, even as simple and “boring” as putting on a fresh set of strings can bring back that old love affair – breathing new life in old trusty (that’s your guitar in case you wondered :)

Some day, further down the line, you may be thrilled you kept at it – learning how to play. Or, you may be very unhappy with the fact that you quit. It’s totally up to you.

Do take a rest and lower your ambitions for a shorter period of time. Just don’t give up!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,