Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 118

Thread: How long does it take to learn guitar?

  1. #1
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    458

    Lightbulb How long does it take to learn guitar?

    Hey Everyone,

    I've been thinking about posting something like this for awhile, I think that on the internet there is a misconception about playing guitar that I've never seen addressed. That is, I see people ask "How long will it take until I'm good [don't suck..etc.]?"

    Well as funny as it sounds I spoke with a couple of guys in town that I know who are very good players and I kind of feel like I'm approaching it -- I feel like I've got all the pieces together now and if I can just put them together I'll be rocking. By the way, when I say "play well" I mean with good time/feel, correct notes, able to execute relatively difficult passages well, able to pick up music by ear -- the whole package.

    So how long did it take? The consensus among us was that it's about 3.5 or 4 years. I see these responses like "You can learn to play in 6 months but it will take a lifetime to master" that is A) Using a very generous definition of playing and B) An utterly useless generality ("a lifetime"). Your experience may be different and I encourage other good players to chime in but I want this to be a shot of confidence for you guys starting out etc. It gets better but you have to have faith and realize that it takes a long time.

    I'll finish with one of my favorite old sayings: "A long perilous road tests the horse, a long perilous journey tests the man."

    Good luck guys!

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  2. #2
    Till I came here
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    25
    As I have been attempting to teach myself for almost 20 years and have not gotten above beginner I thank you for this thread. I should say that I have only taken guitar seriously in the last 2 years. I think it depends on the drive you have to learn the guitar. If you want it you can get it much quicker. Of course if you have a teacher it accelerates the process. Also playing with others that are better than you. I have not had the luxury of either. I have tried to find a teacher recently and was turned down. I live in a rural area and teachers are hard to come by. So the jist of this is that If you want it bad enough you can get it. The time it takes is up to you. IMHO

  3. #3
    Till I came here
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    25
    Did my last post sound as though I was looking for sympathy? If so it was not my intention. As I read it I began to wonder. My situation is a result of many things. It is not to be taken as normal. I am working harder than ever to become a better guitarist. And I know it will come. Sorry if anyone misunderstood. I love this place!

  4. #4
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Britney's basement
    Posts
    1,072
    The length of time to "get good" is relative to the amount of time glued to the instrument as well as the level of natural physical and mental talent. I know guys that were excellent after a couple of years. They could play any Satch or Metallica tune note-for-note and could improvise like crazy. This is when they were teenagers back in high school, too! It took me a little longer, even though I spent the same hours after school practicing my *** off and playing in bands all over the place. I think a lot of guitar players think too far ahead when they play a passage. They tend to ready themeselves for the next set of licks before concentrating on making the notes "in the now" count. You've got to play in the moment and that is one of the most important things I've learned. It's good to be aware of what's coming up, but you should be very aware of every note under your fingers as well.

  5. #5
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    1,762
    This sounds like a good question for Voodoo Child!

    The reason you see the types of answers like "it takes a lifre time to ......" is that the closer we get, the farther we want to go. When you first pick up a guitar you think short term goals. If I could just learn Purple Haze i would be happy Obviously when you get there, there is always a new obstacle or should I say challenge. Some times our progress is better gaged by the people around us. The real answer to this question lies in your heart. How badly do you want it. Some people just kinda pick up the guitar not really wanting it that badly but the more they learn, the more addicting it gets. Always raising the bar. If you really want it bad, then practicing should be pretty fun in itself. The bottom line is that we should try and set our oun personal goals and before setting new goals, ask yourself, did I get to this goal yet. If you did, (and you probably did) Then you are getting pretty good
    Hidden Content
    Hidden Content
    *Check our Live Videos Page!

  6. #6
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    1,846
    There are many factors. I separate it into two completely different topics.
    1. How long does it take to play proficiently?
    This depends. I was a rocker starting out, and I was able to gain chops in about 6 months to a year. After that I could tackle most Metallica, Van Halen, Ozzy, etc, with reasonable results. Not perfect, but not bad either. Learning classical, fingerstyle, and jazz chord work took a lot longer!
    2. How long does it take to become a musician?
    Depends, I was always musically inclined as a kid, from the time I was a baby if you believe my mom! I was good at some aspects and horrible at others. Ear training takes a great deal of time to develop.

    Chops come and go. Right now they're not so great for speed metal, but my chord work and bluesy styles (SRV) are solid. The musician part of me continues to grow even if my chops are rusty, which is probably true for everyone.
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend Hidden Content

  7. #7
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    976
    It's so incredibly subjective and personal and thats why most people are vague in their answers.

    If after 6 months I could have heard myself now 4 years on I would have thought I was pretty good, but in real life I know that I'm not. Thats partly because my perception changed about what is good and partly because if I start to think I'm any good I'm going to stop getting better. With a few gaps filled in and a lot of tidying up I might stretch to a "proficient" after those 4.5 years - but I think that would be generous (very much depends on what style you are striving to play). I think it would have gone a lot quicker if I was half my age. I have little trouble with the mental/theory/organisation aspects but the physical side is possibly tougher to train in old hands.

    As already said by others talent and time invested are the main components in any activity (guitar, sports, work you name). Time invested however is useless if used incorrectly through lack of organised and correct practice, lack of discipline or with incorrect technique. The latter, as I have learn't can, by itself, burn time in a major way, and this is the significant peril for the autodidact.

    I'm in the process of finding a teacher, at 36 I don't have time to waste anymore!

    All in all. Everyones mileage will vary.

  8. #8
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,045
    Playiing good is entirely subjective. Some people are happy just being able to play power-chords so they can learn the next punk song that comes out on the radio while other practice every day in order to play classical, neoclassical, shred, and jazz fusion music correctly. This is speaking in terms of technique of course. As far as learning music theory...it all depends on where you want to go. If you just want to play punk music then there'd be no sense in learning dodecaphonics, chromatics passing tones, chords (outside of the powerchords), or scales/modes. Maybe learn a little bit about chord progression off of a friend or the internet and leave it at that. Then you just practice on picking hard and heavy with very little attention on speed. For those aspiring to create music like jazz, neoclassical, and classical they could be studying their instruments for years and years to come perfecting various techniques and learning countless amounts of music theory.
    v2sw3CUhw6ln3pr6OFck3ma9u6Lw3Xm6l6Ui2Ne5t5TSFDAb8T DOen7g6RZATHCMHPa21s6MSr53Dp3hackerkey

  9. #9
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Funky Munky World
    Posts
    3,904
    I'm not into time, man.

    But if you had to press me I'd make two comments.

    1) I always had more time to play guitar and so I could be much better now than I am, but I have a life to lead and a career in another area and a family and all those things take a considerable amount of my waking moments too.

    2) I will always be a guitar player and I will always love music and as I gert older I love more variety in the music I wnat to listen to and therefore I will always be a student of music and so I will always be learning.

    If that takes a lifetime then so be it. Perhaps I will run out of time befoer I get where I wanted to be, but I still had a shedload of fun getting there.

    I hope Voodoo Child is off practicing, we haven't seen him for a while...

  10. #10
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    976
    Russ - yep, good points, must be in the Surrey water Well it was for beck, Clapton and Page anyways...

    There are lots of things to do in life apart from this addictive piece of wood and wire. And it's all about enjoying it; "to journey not to arrive" as they say. If I "arrive" on guitar then that'll probably be me finished with it

  11. #11
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Following the changes
    Posts
    2,809
    I hope Voodoo Child is off practicing, we haven't seen him for a while...
    yeah and i haven't seen joey dahlia for a while as well. wonder what he is doing... maybe he got caught.
    ..sorry
    Last edited by phantom; 12-08-2004 at 04:04 PM.

  12. #12
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Malta
    Posts
    896
    relax guys ... VoodooChild was ill but he was around some time ago ... practicing (pm'd him) ...

    joey dahlia i think he's after favored nations again! UNREAL ...
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

  13. #13
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,542
    I started in '97. And I'd like to think of myself as a work in progress (I'd hate to think this is how I would end up ) I have heard some of the stuff I played 6 months ago and I have improved a great deal, and I just can't listen to the tapes I recorded 2 years ago which at the time thought were my greatest recordings ever so it's kind of true the "lifetime statement thingy", I also agree with Bizarro's conclussions, SPECIALLY "chops come and go" that's totally true hence the importance of putting enphasis on musicianship more than raw technique.

    But back to the question... the best anwer would be a series of questions that would help you indentify the personality of the one who's asking and then you can give him an estimate. "It deppends, Are you a perfectionist? How far do you want to take the guitar?" Are good ones and once you get to hear and understand the student's goals it's pretty easy to define an estimate "If you practice hard you'll get there in about..."

    As a teacher I get asked that a lot and specially with parents that's one of the most crucial questions that will define weather you're getting their business or not. so one's gotta be careful with that one.

    My 2 cents

    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  14. #14
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    458
    Hmm...

    Well, I think you guys have drifted even further off into generality than the initial example. First when I made my comments about "a lifetime is too general" I didn't mean that that's not true -- you can seemingly study guitar forever and always get better (Guys like Segovia and Jim Hall etc.) What I was trying to get across is that I have rarely (again in my town but this time I'm going to include open mic night performers), rarely ever seen a guitar player that sounded any good that had been playing for less than 3 years. So if you are holding yourself up to what, in my experience, are unrealistic expectations rest easy -- it does take a long time.

    I need to go dig it up but interestingly enough natural talent has more to do with skill acquisition than amount of time spent practicing (This is why you don't see many average looking NFL players, it takes lots of practice to become good -- and you can be a very good football player just by training a lot, but at a certain level genetics will be the bar that keeps you at 90% of NFL level etc.) I've seen that in a peer-reviewed medical medical journal but I don't know if I'll be able to find it again.

    So not to stroke anyone's ego but it could be that some of you guys on here that are always talking about how good you are at 2 years, 1.5 years etc could have a better natural gift for music than I do.

    So I guess those are my caveats and as I tried to express early, I'm not writing this to apply some weird timeline to everyone's playing level, rather I am trying to encourage newer players that many people (that end up being great players) take quite some time to get there, so don't get down on yourself.

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    3
    Ok, this is my first ever post on ibreath, so I hope I make some sense here.

    I've got a slightly different take on this. Speaking as someone who's spent a few years trying to learn and isn't even past beginner stage (I can't play even one song all the way through yet!) I don't think it has anything to do with an amount of time. I think an alternative way to ask that question is: "how much effort does it take to get good?"

    I've wasted the last few years on the guitar, expecting my tutor to 'teach' me how to play (thinking, that’s how it works - you spend the time, you get the reward, right?). It's only recently that I've realised it is the effort I spend 'learning', rather than the time I spend 'being taught', that gets results!

    If you are committed to this, it's your responsibility to learn how to play – not your tutors job to teach you (I hope you can see what I mean by this, tutors are great when they're good). Instead, they’re there simply to show you what to learn and in what order (as it turns out, I don't feel mine was very good at this).

    If you could quantify effort into a handy unit of measurement and be able to say something like "learning how all the modes fit together along the fret board so you can play in the key of C at any point on the neck, takes 18 (totally random number) units of effort." Then you know if you can manage 4 units a day/week/month then you can guage how 'long' things will take you.

    Life is FAAAAAR from that simple, of cause

    I guess, in a nut shell, the point I'm trying to make is: It's all about what you have to do to get good that’s important, how long that will take you is entirely dependant on how much effort you can/will put in.

    In order to pull it back to DanF's original point a little, what specifically do I have to do/learn in order to get good? (How long that will take me I guess I'll figure out for myself).

    Again, speaking as someone who is relatively new to the guitar, this is what has been hampering me for so long! I know what my end result is intended to be (a "good" player), and I'm willing to put in what ever effort I can, when I can but I have no idea of what is actually involved in getting there, what are the steps/stages? I guess I need some sort of road map so that I can see where my next stop is. Even if it is just some sort of definitive list of all things you could learn (in some sort of order) that would be cool.

    Anyway, I've waffled on for far to long and all I'm doing now is venting my frustration, and this aint the place for that sort of thing.

    Like I say, this is my first post so I hope it came across ok.

    Daz
    Last edited by Darron; 12-08-2004 at 07:34 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Age
    By Guila in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 08-25-2007, 02:08 PM
  2. How Did the Giants Learn Guitar?
    By Bongo Boy in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-11-2007, 05:42 PM
  3. Where can I learn guitar online for free?
    By bxyc in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-04-2003, 10:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •