How long does it take to learn electric guitar?

The electric guitar is one of the most recognizable instruments, in terms of both look and sound.

But if you’re looking to take up the electric guitar, it’s easy to feel intimidated at first. Luckily, an electric guitar can be learned fairly easily either with a teacher or on your own, and there are a ton of resources to help you along the way.

With consistent practice, beginners are typically able to play basic chords and simple tunes in their first 3-6 months.

Over the course of a few years, guitarists can gradually play more complex chords, songs, and even solos. But if you’re ready to commit to this new skill, remember that truly mastering any instrument will take a lifetime.

Tuning the electric guitar

Before you can start playing, you’ll want to ensure your electric guitar is in tune. Standard electric guitars have six strings, tuned E, A, D, G, B, E from lowest (thickest string) to highest (thinnest string).

The pitch of each string can be raised or lowered by turning the tuning pegs at the end of the guitar.

Plan to tune your guitar before every playing session, as even one slightly sharp or flat pitch could affect your overall sound.

For the most accurate tunings, consider investing in a tuner.

Learning to play chords

If you already have some background with an acoustic guitar or other stringed instruments, playing chords may come more naturally to you.

Chords are typically played by using the left hand to press down the strings in a specific finger position while strumming the strings with the right hand.

The most basic chords are C, G, D, and Am. Practice playing the chords accurately and switching between them with increased speed.

Once you’ve mastered basic chords, you can try more complex chords such as F or B, and integrate those into your playing as well.

Learning to play melodies

One of the most defining characteristics of an electric guitar is how it plays melodies, often in the form of riffs or solos.

Instead of strumming all the strings at once to produce a chord, guitarists can manipulate individual strings to form a melody.

The best way to get good at this type of playing is by learning a song, so choose the one you like, find a quality guitar tab, and begin to learn how to play it.

You may try slowing down guitar solos as you initially learn them, using a metronome and then gradually speeding up as you begin to grasp the fingerings and technique.

Another skill to work on is switching between chords and melodies as you play.

Knobs, amps, and other electric guitar accessories

Although the electric guitar holds many of the same elements as the acoustic guitar, there are several additional features that make an electric guitar unique.

Electric guitars feature options to manipulate the sound and tone of the instrument. This includes things like knobs, pickups, and whammy bars.

Electric guitars are also played plugged into amps, which often have additional settings to further fine-tune the sound.

Specialty pedals can also be used to get a specific tone or functionality.

A loop pedal, for example, can record and repeat a short piece of guitar playing, allowing the guitarist to layer over that looped sound in real-time.

Continue to practice and improve

It may seem daunting now, but learning electric guitar can be both fun and rewarding if you stick with it.

If you want to see noticeable progress in your guitar skills, be sure to practice every day for at least 30 minutes and continue to challenge yourself with new pieces.

But more than anything, make sure you’re practicing songs you love – because learning a new skill is nearly impossible without the right amount of passion.


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