Why do so many people play guitar?
Crash Course: How Long It Takes Before You Can Play Guitar
You realize that you have to invest time to achieve a goal. You ask yourself if you are ready for it and do not want to experience that you suddenly hang up the newly started musical journey again. The question that remains is how much time you need before you can play the guitar.
Actually, you really want to play the guitar. Maybe just accompany a few songs, maybe add your own vocals or cover the songs of your heroes. Perhaps you are attracted to playing with others in a band and you are living the dream of being on the big stage. Dreaming cannot be forbidden and you have to start somewhere. Well then go:
Check it: How long it will take you to play the guitar
- Learning to grip - first calluses form on the fingertips
- Train mobility - spreading and stretching exercises for the gripping hand
- Coordination of the hitting hand - interaction of gripping and hitting hand
- Special topic: playing the pick - the extended hand
- Memorize chords - promote musical memory
- First sense of achievement - musical motivation through quick learning success
When learning to play the guitar, only believe the statistics that you have faked yourself
Logo, like on almost every other topic, there are scientific studies and statistics. Especially since people - and musicians are people too - are completely individual and different, it is quite questionable how one can capture uniqueness in statistics. By the way: Most of the statistics come from times when the instruments were nowhere near as perfect as they are today.
In the meantime, even entry-level guitars are of such high quality that you no longer have to "fight" with the instrument. So instead of taking the statistical approach, we prefer to take the pragmatic path together and shed light on your question about the time needed to play the guitar:
Do not let yourself be impressed by useless, dusty sayings
You can no longer hear the typical sayings that are inflated on your ears: “Without hard work, no price”, “In the long term, the hardworking always overtakes talent” or “Learning to play the guitar is not a pony farm”. Just listen away, such statements are as useful as a sandstorm in the North Sea and do not help us in these considerations. Let's stay with the facts.
A bit of self-conquest is part of playing the guitar
At first, your fingers will not be very sensitive. The stylus of the gripping hand must first develop a feeling for handling the strings and the fingerboard. You need to learn to feel with your fingertips while playing the guitar. In the first few weeks, your fingertips will hurt because you are pressing the string onto the fingerboard and this is painfully felt in the nerves of your still tender fingers.
The reason: You have not yet built up a callus on the tips that would protect you from this pain when you play the guitar. You have to go through there, there is no sensible alternative. After all, you can't learn to play the guitar with work gloves on. So you will have to grab again and again.
The good news is: not long, then it won't hurt anymore. This process, until the cornea has developed, takes a few weeks to months, depending on the amount of practice, with which we would have worked out the first concrete clue for the time factor.
Flexibility is more important than strength
At the same time, it is important to develop the mobility of the hand without cramping or building blockages. It would be an absolute fallacy to believe that you have to train your muscles. Too much force is rather a hindrance when playing the guitar fluently. Or have you ever seen a muscle-packed weightlifter, sumo wrestler or bodybuilder win the Iron Man?
Incidentally, the necessary pressure is created exclusively by the clamp between the thumb and the grasping fingers. How long does it take until the fingers are loose? 10 minutes a day, consciously move your fingers individually (!) And in a controlled manner. After a few days you are a good house number further.
And already the second hand speaks up
At about the same time, the attack hand joins it and wants to start work. You learn to play the first strings, ideally you hit the string on which you picked a note - first with your fingers. It may be that this is getting a bit monotonous. But even to this requirement, if you want to learn to play the guitar, there is no more fun answer.
You pluck the fingered string over and over and listen carefully. How often and how long? Until the tone sounds reasonable and clean; that means clear, pure and without purring or other background noises. Did you do it? Then you've climbed the next step on the guitarist ladder.
You are now able to shape a tone. Time factor? In all honesty, even professional musicians keep working on clean - or deliberately "dirty" - tones. So, on the one hand, it's a lifelong process. But also a question of the bar that is set too high. You can certainly achieve good results after a few days, maybe in a week or two.
Special topic plectrum: becoming one with the foreign body
If you want to play electric guitar instead of acoustic guitar, the next step is to keep the pick sensible. This plastic thing with which the strings on the electric guitar are struck is initially a foreign body to you. In a sense, it should become your “extended hand”.
You will have to make friends with this plastic part. So it is time to play simple notes again and hear them sound. The problem is accuracy. You don't want to hit all of the strings at once, you just want to hit a very specific one. And the "wires" are damn close to each other.
You have better orientation when playing the guitar with an opening pick if, for example, you spread the little finger of the striking hand and use it to support yourself on the guitar body (on the pickguard). Another option is to put the heel of your hand lightly on the guitar.
It becomes musical - the first chords combine to form a song
Once the fingertips and the hitting hand have passed the first school-leaving exam, you take a few simple chords - there are plenty of them - and practice three harmonies according to the fingering, with the help of your guitar teacher or using the how-to-play videos. At this point you will encounter the next difficulty that will actually accompany you in the long run when you learn to play the guitar:
Exactly now it is about the coordination of the fingers. After all, they should now grip three, four or all strings - notes - at the same time. The fingers should sit on the strings almost intuitively, in the correct position. And then you go from one chord to the next. Placing your fingers one after the other cannot work in the long run when playing the guitar, so you shouldn't train yourself wrongly in the first place.
Can't remember the fingering of the chords? Yes you can. Trust yourself. This is called “musical memory”. If you practice with some concentration, you can master the first fingerings and changing grip from one chord to the next within a few days to weeks. The next milestone on your way.
The ability increases with the requirements
If you want to play more complex songs on and with your guitar, you will have to learn more difficult fingerings. So chords in which the fingers are not as close together as before. That brings us back to the finger exercises. The ability of your fingers to spread is important for this, because the handles often move beyond two or three frets.
Oh yes, "frets" are the areas on the fingerboard of your guitar between the metal rods (the frets). Through finger exercises, or more precisely "spreading exercises", you develop the ability to grasp notes that are further apart. You will play the guitar much more relaxed in the future. Also because the fingers trust themselves more and you develop an intuitive understanding of the higher positions.
Experience the moment of joy
The guitar is considered to be one of the easiest instruments to learn. Why? Because when you play the guitar, you can quickly have your first successes with simple songs. You grab and play a note, something sounds. Try that on a bassoon. If you blow into it, at best nothing will sound, at worst, some kind of duck-friendly horn.
Guitar teachers experience again and again that kids can play their first songs on the guitar after a few weeks without having practiced 38 hours a day. Once the first coordination of arms and hands (and brain) has been overcome, the fingers no longer hurt, especially since the cornea has formed, and this relaxed smile can be seen on the faces of the music students. This impressive moment in which the journey of discovery on the instrument is a real joy.
The entry is made - everything else comes on top
Once you have started, you will gradually get better and better. And here comes the hopeful news: when you are able to play the first songs or to accompany songs with campfire romance, you have made it. This is the point where you can play the guitar. It's about having fun and enjoying the music and your instrument.
It is true that there are impressive speed fingers and virtuosos. It's mostly their job. But should you let it put you off, bow in awe and give up a great hobby? No definitely not. We hope you are now in the mood for more and continue with the 10 steps for guitar from music2me.
Important for the beginning: Don't set the bar too high! Long story short: Playing the guitar is fun. Just start. If you add up the times from the above thoughts, you come up with something between three and six months.
Keywords: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, getting started with playing guitar, stringed instruments
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