How Long Does It Take To Learn to Play the Guitar?

How Long Does It Take To Learn to Play the Guitar?

We feel that earning to play the guitar should be fun!

New students, adults in particular, ask “how long does it take to learn to play the guitar?”.  Well, there is no set answer, and the reason may not be as obvious as it seems! While adults learn at different rates of speed, that is not the primary factor in determining how long it takes to learn; the primary factor is defining what exactly ‘play the guitar’ means.

When we teach adults, we focus on: learning chords, strumming, and playing songs. A student could take lessons for years and continue to learn new things; however we feel that the answer to ‘how long does it take to learn to play the guitar?’ lies in an adult’s ability to learn and successfully play new songs, using a chord and lyric sheet, without an instructor’s assistance. In other words, although there is much to learn when taking guitar lessons, being self-sufficient and learning/playing new songs without an instructor’s help best defines ‘playing the guitar’.
With that in mind, below is a general learning timeline for adults based on our years of experience teaching many, many new adult learners. This timeline takes you from beginner to ‘player’ as previously defined. We’ll use an arbitrary start date of any January 1st.
  • Learning three or four chords, and basic strumming: January 1st through January 31th
    • It takes about a month for new students to learn three chords, and be able to change between them quickly enough to play a basic song. This first milestone is definitely the toughest, with frustration and sore fingers, but if a student gets through it, things get a lot easier from here.
  • Playing their first song: February first through February 28th
    • It takes about another month (just 8 lessons so far!) to successfully play your first ‘real’ song with simple strumming. Some of our favorite beginner songs are: “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “I’m A Believer”, and “Brown Eyed Girl”.
  • Expanding your repertoire: March 1st through April 30th
    • Now the fun really begins. Now that you can play through a song, you’ll learn new songs that utilize the same chords you already know, but introduce a new chord or two, so you can play most of the song, but will have some new chord ‘challenge’ sections. You’ll also learn more strumming patterns.
  • Work towards learning a song yourself: May 1st through June 30th 
    • This part of the process involves learning to do these things on your own: learn new chords using chord charts, find and print suitable lyric/chord sheets, and identify strum patterns so you can learn a song (eventually many) on your own.
How Long Does It Take To Learn to Play the Guitar?

Most adults can learn to play in just a couple months!

So there you have it! Our answer to “how long does it take to learn to play the guitar?” was roughly six months. Now, factor in the different learning speeds between adults (which is mostly dictated by how much they practice), and this becomes roughly 4 to 8 months, which is between 16 and 32 weekly lessons – that’s it! Start in January, and be playing songs around the campfire this summer!

Of course, the goal of a lesson is to give students material to work on in between lessons, so much of this is dependent on the student’s practice routine.

With the above in mind, are you interested in getting started on your journey? NHTunes makes it EASY!
Note: we are offering both in-studio and online guitar lessons – select your option when you book your lesson below.
1) Schedule a single lesson below. You’ll be presented with a list of available days and times to choose. Your lesson is confirmed at checkout (our private 30 and 60-minute lessons are competitively priced and very affordable).
2) After your first lesson, if you find the studio and your instructor to be a great fit and would like to continue with your lessons, you can schedule your next lesson on your way out.

(Want to see our studio first? You can schedule a free Studio Tour HERE.)


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