The popularity and signature sound of the guitar makes it one of the most favorable instruments for musicians to learn.
Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and even twelve-string guitar can all be picked up by beginners without too much trouble.
But how long does it take to learn how to play guitar? Well, the basics can be learned in as little as 3-6 months.
More advanced songs and techniques can be learned in a few years depending on how often one practice. But like any other instrument, mastering the guitar will take a lifetime of practice and improvement.
When you begin learning guitar, the first thing you’ll want to understand is the instrument’s tuning.
Standard guitars have six strings, tuned from lowest to highest to E, A, D, G, B, E.
Twelve-string guitars are tuned in a similar fashion, with each of the strings doubled, but the “doubled” E, A, D, and G strings are tuned an octave higher.
To tune, use the tuning pegs on the end of the guitar to tighten or loosen the strings. Tightening will raise (sharpen) the pitch, while loosening will lower (flatten) the pitch. To ensure your guitar is exactly in tune, use a tuner to check each of the strings.
Although they have many similarities, electric guitar and acoustic guitar are different instruments.
As you begin your guitar journey, you may choose to learn both or only one or the other.
The main differences between the two are tone and style of playing. With electric guitar, you’ll want to consider accessories such as amps and pedals, whereas with acoustic you’ll focus more on technique to get the sound you want.
Songs traditionally played on acoustic guitar will also sound much different than songs on electric guitar. Because the best way to learn is to play songs you enjoy, you may choose between the two based on your listening preferences.
Before getting into more complex playing techniques, it’s important to master a few basic chords.
A great chord progression to start with is C, G, D.
Using just these chords, you can play simple songs such as Hang On Sloopy or Ring of Fire. Am, Em, and F are also basic chords that will widen your playing options even further.
Once you’re ready to start fingerpicking, Sweet Home Alabama and Wish You Were Here are great songs to practice switching between the two techniques.
After you’ve mastered some simple songs and feel more comfortable playing, you may want to venture into more complex techniques.
Some songs you may consider are Stairway to Heaven, Blackbird, or Crash Into Me.
However, the best way to learn guitar is by playing music that interests you.
If there’s a specific song that you’ve always wanted to learn, commit to spending at least 20-30 minutes each day learning that song.
With consistent practice, you will learn a bit more and get a little better each day until you’ve mastered that song and all the techniques that go along with it.
Like any other skill, consistent practice is the only way to get better.
Continue to learn new songs as well as practice music you’ve already learned to really hone your skill and improve your technique.
Whether you choose to learn with a teacher or on your own, learning guitar is a realistic and attainable goal, and anyone can reach expert status with the right amount of commitment and passion.