Can You Learn Guitar in a Year? [Explained]

learn guitar in a year

So you are thinking of learning guitar but you are unsure how long it will take to actually be able to play a song. Can you actually learn guitar in a year?

Learning a guitar is not easy at all and that is why many players feel frustrated and quit before they are even able to play a few songs. You might already be familiar with some of the issues that make learning guitar so difficult

It might be difficult to learn how to play guitar well in just a year, but if you are able to overcome the initial frustration and keep practicing you can do it.

You have to remember that when you first pick up the guitar and start learning the first chords, and songs it is the most difficult phase of the whole process. If you survive the first 6 months, you will definitely achieve your goals.

Is One Year Enough To Learn Guitar?

Yes, you can learn guitar in one year but it requires a lot of effort, and you need to practice constantly. If you are passionate and dedicate time to the instrument, you can surely become a better guitarist than many experienced guitar players.

There are a few factors that may influence how fast you will be able to learn guitar, like:

  • Hearing ability
  • Knowledge of musical theory
  • Experience playing other instruments
  • Hand Coordination

Some of us are clearly more inclined to play musical instruments, and some of the factors mentioned above can influence how fast you will learn to play the guitar.

Hearing is crucial for musicians, and you may have a good ear for music even if you have not played any musical instrument in the past.

Perhaps you have played in your school band and you are already familiar with musical notation, sheet music, and music theory. This puts you at a clear advantage.

Experience with playing other musical instruments is also an important advantage because you will already know how much you need to practice to master your instrument.

Lastly, not all of us have the same hand coordination. Some of us are more coordinated, and this can also impact how fast we are able to learn. Believe it or not, some of you that play video games might have a slight advantage. Since the ability to hit buttons with precision is somewhat similar to playing guitar.

The most difficult thing in this entire process is to make your hands and fingers get used to the movements on the strings. Then, you will have to sync your fingers movements to your brain. 

Once you achieve this level, you can consider yourself a good guitarist. Continuous practice will polish your skills and make them better and better. 

How Much Can You Learn In A Year?

You can learn plenty of things about guitar in a year. For example, your hands and fingers will get used to harder strings and won’t hurt anymore. Similarly, they will also sync to the mind so that you can play guitar at a much higher speed.

After 1 year, you will become an intermediate-level guitarist. Therefore, playing intermediate-level songs won’t be a big deal for you. Plus, you will be familiar with many technical elements that are crucial for advanced learning. 

You will most possibly start getting a definitive feel for barre chords at that time. In simple words, an intermediate-level guitarist can proficiently play guitar songs, blues, riffs, and more.

How Long Does It Realistically Take To Learn Guitar?

Building good skills in guitar takes on average at least one year. It all depends on how much you practice, and how you strictly follow a practice routine. If

It is all a matter of practice, so the more you practice the better you become. Practicing regularly allows you to develop your finger strength and improve your muscle memory. This is especially important when learning your first songs, and the first chords. 

We can divide guitar players into a few categories depending on their skill level, and what they are able to play. Here are some of the main guitar player levels:


Newbies can learn basic skills between 1 to 2 months. They can play easy guitar songs like single-string plucking songs with little string jumping and strumming of basic chords.

However, you will notice a lack of developed technique and a few mistakes here and there.


Beginners will be able to play more difficult songs that need higher technical elements within 3 to 6 months. These songs may involve different chords for the intro, and chorus. They will also be able to play very rudimentary solos, using some common guitar techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bending.

However, their technique is still a little mechanical and they lack the necessary coordination to make their playing sound natural.


Most guitar players can become average after 1 year of constant practice, and they are able to play intermediate-level songs. They also have a more natural sound and can start exploring their own songs and sounds. You are able to master some popular riffs, and solos while starting to dabble in improvisation.


After 2 to 3 years, you can play most songs because you become a master of most technical elements of the instrument. During this journey, if you learn guitar theory, it will make you capable to improvise on the instrument.

Professional Level

To reach a professional level it all depends on how frequently, and how much you practice. To achieve the most beginners levels the time it takes does not vary a lot. But when it comes to the professional level, it can be achieved in just 4 years to 6 years, if you really dedicate yourself and practice constantly.

You start being able to pick songs by ear and play very complex arrangements. Professional guitar players also start to have their own unique tone, and style of playing. This is when you start to differentiate yourself from the rest of the guitar players around you.

You can start to play live shows, and be invited to play on records. This is when you can also start to use your skills to make money. Writing your own songs and compositions, and arrangements is also easy to do.

Expert Level

Similar to the professional level, it may take less than 5 years to become an expert guitar player. Once again it depends a lot on how much you practice every day, and how what exactly you are practicing. 

You start to notice that you can easily play any song you want. You can also start to improvise with different chord shapes and voicings, and it will be very easy to learn a new song or a new solo or lick.

Expert guitar players truly dominate their craft. They are able to play the instrument in a very unique way, and they sound just like themselves.

When you can hear a guitar player and know exactly who is playing, then you know this is an expert. They don’t sound like someone else, they sound like themselves.

Remember the learning process never ends, even when you think you have already mastered your instrument. After spending numerous years, you will realize that there are plenty of things you are unfamiliar with.

How many hours a day should I practice guitar?

How much time you should spend on practice depends upon the goals you have. For example, if you want to take it as a hobby, you won’t need to spend much time practicing. In this situation, you can start practicing whenever you have free time.

Even if you do not want to practice for a long time, it is important to do it regularly. That means that instead of playing 3 times a week for 1 hour, it is better to divide that into a few minutes every day.

Playing daily is very important to develop your muscle memory, and to start becoming proficient with the instrument.

How many hours do you need to practice to become good at playing guitar?

Everyone has different goals. Some guitar players just want to learn their favorite songs, while others want to pursue a career as a musician. Depending on how ambitious your goals are, you need to adjust the practice to those goals.

On average you may need around 5,000 hours of practice to become an above-average guitar player. This will take you roughly 3 to 4 years if you practice a few hours every day, but it can be done in less time.

Practice makes perfection

To understand how important practice really is, the best is to look at Charlie Parker and his ambitious practicing routine that is still remembered to this day.

Charlie Parker had a goal, he wanted to be the best sax player in the world. What did he do? He practiced for over 11 to 14 hours every single day for 3 to 4 years, and he did it. He ended up creating his own music style, and this is how bebop was born.

If you skip practicing for a few days or weeks you will also see that your skills slowly diminish. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to constantly practice if you really want to improve.

Can Guitar Be Self-Taught?

Yes, you can teach yourself how to play the guitar. This can be difficult if you do not follow the right plan. When we teach ourselves something it is usually a lot more complicated than just taking classes. 

Today there are thousands or even millions of different resources online to learn guitar. From videos to beginner guitar books, to courses and more. Choosing the right one is important.

It can make a large difference in how much you progress and how fast you are able to learn. Perhaps the best option is to take a few classes at the beginning from an expert guitar player and develop your basic skills with the help of someone. Then you can start improving and learning by yourself.

Why it’s difficult to learn guitar alone?

One of the reasons why learning guitar by yourself is difficult we already mentioned, and it has to do with choosing the right resources to learn from. Since you do not have experience with playing guitar, it can be difficult to choose the right learning materials.

Another problem that occurs is consistency. Not all of us are able to practice consistently, especially if we are teaching ourselves something. When you take classes, you will be given tasks, and exercises you need to complete. To be able to learn guitar alone, you need to act as your own teacher. 

Having the right practice routine, determination, and having a critical sense of your own playing is the only way to learn how to play guitar by yourself.

Here are some tips for learning guitar alone:

  • Choose a guitar that is easy to learn for beginners, and that makes you want to play
  • Choose what style of guitar you want to play (Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock)
  • Find the best available resources to learn the instrument 
  • Always practice with a metronome
  • You should try to do each exercise at a very slow speed, and increase the speed slowly
  • Always aim to learn things you can master, don’t try to learn complex songs that you are not ready for
  • Focus on developing your rhythm 
  • Practice every day even for a few minutes
  • Establish a practice routine and stick to it
  • Adapt your practice routine as your skills improve
  • Be patient, consistent, and dedicated during your learning process
  • Always avoid people trying to sell you a secret formula to become a guitar player faster. It is a matter of practice not a matter of secrets, and formulas.

Can I Learn Guitar In 2 Years?

Yes, you can learn guitar in less than 2 years. As we have already mentioned that there is no fixed duration to mastering guitar. It totally depends on your musical skills, how quickly you learn, and how often you practice.

If you are passionate about learning and practicing regularly, you can become an advanced guitarist in 2 years. Remember learning is a never-ending process, and you need to practice constantly every day. 

Even when you become an expert guitar player and you tour around the world playing for thousands of fans, there are still things you need to practice. There are always things to improve and study.

How Difficult Is Guitar?

There is no doubt that learning how to play guitar is hard, mostly because it requires a lot of effort in the beginning. Not everyone is willing to dedicate a lot of time, and effort to something that is also painful during the first month or two.

For that reason, most beginner guitar players tend to give up, because it is so complicated. It can also be demoralizing and make you feel frustrated, which in turn makes it unlikely that you will keep learning.

You need to keep practicing regularly for the first 6 months or so and do not feel discouraged. Remember that every guitarist had to go through the same process as you. Be patient and focus on your ultimate goal.


You can definitely learn how to play the guitar in less than a year, however, by now you know it takes a lot of effort and deviation, and long hours of practice. 

Learning anything in life is a matter of dedication and consistency, and if you are willing to make the effort, you will be able to achieve it.

Practice regularly for at least one hour every day. Sooner or later you will start getting amazing results. Don’t worry about how fast you are progressing. Whether your progress is slow or fast, don’t be disheartened. Keep practicing, one day, you will be a pro guitarist. 

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