Is it Hard to Learn Guitar?

It is often said that a guitar is an easy instrument to learn but a hard instrument to master. As it is with all instruments, the more you practice the better you will get. In the beginning, it can be challenging, but you can become quickly competent with dedicated practice.

Guitar students can start with simple ‘open chords’ that involve learning shapes to place their fingers on the guitar’s fretboard (neck).

Simultaneously, students use the other hand to play the basic strumming patterns using an up and down motion. These are the most basic aspects of guitar playing.

Most students will pick this, up to a decent level, within a few weeks.

In the world of guitar playing, this is just the tip of the iceberg but even ten rudimentary open chords can equip you with enough material to sing/perform many of your favorite songs. As students, it can be a heartening experience to perform for family or friends and feel rewarded for your efforts.

As you get past the first few chords, you will realize that a LOT of popular songs use the same simple chord progression.

A chord progression is a pattern of chords played in succession like C-G-Am-F – this is one of the most common chord progressions in music. Just look at this fantastic video by the Axis of Awesome below, it demonstrates how a simple four-chord progression can be used to play countless music hits!

The video alternates between using piano and guitar, but they are still playing the same chords!

How quickly can you learn guitar?

Most students will find sufficient comfort and confidence within 6 months of guitar study.

After a year or two of dedicated practice, you can play a wide range of genres and styles with ease.

True mastery, however, can be a lifelong pursuit fuelled by a hunger to excel and a passion for music.

‘Learning the guitar’ is a phrase that is used loosely and can mean anything from being able to play a few songs to cranking out Steve Vai solos.

The initial learning curve for learning the guitar is neither too hard nor too difficult. Once you get the basics right, it is a matter of learning theory and developing finger strength, agility, and accuracy.

It always helps to have a good teacher/guide, genuine passion, and a good guitar to get you along faster. Even maestros like Pat Methany or Guthrie Govan wouldn’t claim to have “finished” learning the guitar. There is always something new to discover or master, and that is the best part of it.

How much can you learn in 3 months?

You can certainly learn the basic skills of guitar in 3 months. Once you know the basic chords and rhythms then you will be able to play many songs.

However, 3 months of learning the guitar aren’t sufficient to move from a beginner to an intermediate level unless you have passion and drive that will allow you to practice for long hours every day.

If you have a short-term goal and want quick results, you most certainly need a good tutor to show you what’s important to save your time.

An hour or two of practice a day would be considered normal. At that rate, you will be able to play most open chords, some barre chords, and the major/minor scale. You can combine these elements with basic strumming patterns to play an exhaustive list of songs.

However, it is just adequate to play ‘campfire-style’ songs and you will need a lot more time to work on your technique and theory.

Is it hard to teach yourself guitar?

With the advent of Youtube and free online lessons, it has never been easier to learn an instrument.

You have access to thousands of hours of information, and most of it is free. You can also find lessons that suit your pace, temperament, and goals, and all of it from the comfort of your home.

There are times when it can feel frustrating and difficult. At such a time, it will help if you have friends who play the guitar who can guide you. Poor technique is one of the biggest risks of being self-taught.

When the going gets tough, you can join guitar forums to ask questions or find a local teacher to clear your doubts. There are many benefits of having a local teacher who can observe your technique and monitor your growth.

Can anyone learn to play the guitar?

There is no reason why anybody, musically adept or otherwise, cannot learn the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic skills it takes to be a good guitarist.

Some students might achieve this sooner than others might, but guitar-playing is a skill that can be learned and honed with regular practice.

So many people learn the guitar from scratch well into their 50s and 60s and we’ve seen far too many eight-year-old kids play some incredulous songs on YouTube.

Clearly, it’s anyone’s game – anyone who is passionate and willing to make a serious effort. Your dedication, discipline, and drive are the only things that matter.

How many hours a day should you practice guitar?

I would say an hour a day is a good starting point.

If you don’t mind playing the long game, 20 to 30 minutes might be sufficient. However, consistency is key. Dedicate a fixed amount of time every day to practicing an instrument; this doesn’t include learning (lesson time). You could easily spend twice or thrice the time learning your instrument if you can afford to.

However, don’t overdo it to the point of frustration or burnout – music is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Some studies have shown that there is very little to gain from practicing more than 4 hours a day. The fatigue generally starts creeping in after two hours and this is when the accuracy, concentration, and productivity dip.

As a beginner, it might help if you split up your practice sessions or spread them out through the day i.e. 30 minutes in the morning, and 30 minutes in the evening.

What are the easiest songs to play on guitar?

From country to rock to pop to punk, there is no dearth of “four-chord” songs for beginners and novices. It is not possible to list songs for all genres so here are some popular and generic recommendations for easy songs to start with:

  1. Guns ‘n Roses – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  2. Four Non-Blondes – What’s Up
  3. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
  4. Ed Sheeran – Perfect
  5. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
  6. U2 – With or Without You
  7. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
  8. Beatles – Love me do OR Let it be
  9. John Denver – Take Me Home Country Roads
  10. Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

Should I learn piano or guitar first?

Pick the instrument that you are most interested in! What does your gut say?

Technically, the piano is an ideal instrument for building a strong foundation for music theory and sight-reading. Pianos are bulky, but you can also just get a high-quality weighted keyboard in order to learn.

However, maybe you would just prefer to play guitar because of your musical tastes.

Both instruments are good for starting your musical journey and there are affordable entry-level options to buy for both.

Make this a personal choice instead of an objective comparison.

If you eventually want to be a guitarist or are inspired by rock, metal, punk – you probably don’t need to contemplate the piano.

The piano involves learning rhythm, bass, and melody – all three aspects of music. It is also a better choice if you aspire to play Western Classical, Jazz, and Christian music.


Learning the guitar should be fun. You also need to make sure you have the right attitude and equipment for this adventure. If you do not enjoy playing, then there is no point in spending time learning the instrument.

The best way to learn guitar is to find an experienced teacher (or mentor). Many people think that teaching yourself guitar can be easy and quick. This does not have to be true. If you are interested in an instrument, then commit yourself to learn or at least exploring your options thoroughly.

Do not worry about what other people think of your development. You might not be able to play like Steve Vai or David Gilmour, and that’s okay. Your priority should be enjoying yourself as you learn the guitar.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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